Sunday, April 29, 2007

Big Fat Procrastinator...sorry but I cant help it!

ok ok ....supposedly, I was going to write a couple of posts in the last 2 weeks but I didn't.
I was bzzzz not to mention, a paper due tomorrow (15 pages...not joking!).
My paper is about the press in sudan. Its titled Press coverage during crises.
Sudan went through horrible things in the past few decades (civil war....conflicts...more conflicts....economic difficulties....sanctions (thank you America) and much more.
Not only that, Osama Bin laden lived in my country for a couple of years, our govt supports terrorism ( really?) and it's the 21st century and slave trade is still booming there (truely?)
Wait a minute....slavery...does it really exist in Sudan? ( google it and you will find pictures/interviews/confessions of traumatized "ex-slaves" n ofcourse many reports published by CSI (chrisitian solidarity international).

Here is a little something about slavery in Sudan


A Case Study in Sensationalism: Allegations of "Slavery" and "SlaveRedemption" in Sudan

One of the most damaging and recurring media themes with regard to Sudanhas been allegations of government-sponsored "slavery" and "slavetrade" in Sudan. As "proof" for this, a great number of newspaperarticles have "reported" instances of "slave redemption" in whichalleged "slaves" were said to have been "bought" back from "slavetraders", stories presented to them by the Swiss-based ChristianSolidarity International (CSI). Articles essentially taking ChristianSolidarity International claims about "slavery" and "slave redemption"at face value have appeared throughout the world, and have beenpublished in several reputable newspapers and journals, including'Newsweek' (27), 'Time' (28), CNN (29), 'Reader's Digest' (30), 'TheWall Street Journal' (31), 'The New York Times' (32), 'The WashingtonPost' (33), 'International Herald Tribune' (34), 'USA Today' (35), 'TheTimes' (36), 'The Observer' (37) and 'The Daily Telegraph' (38).Important regional newspapers as far apart as 'The Los Angeles Times'(39) to 'The Houston Chronicle' (40) have also repeated CSI claims.Reputable news agencies such as Reuters has also repeatedly reported CSIclaims seemingly as fact. (41) So have other news agencies such asAgence France Presse (42), Associated Press (43) and UPI (44). Severalregional news agencies have also run with the claims. (45) The BBC alsoconspicuously accepted CSI claims at face value, publishing numerousarticles citing their claims. (46) Christian Solidarity International'snewspaper propaganda outreach extended all the way down to school groupsin Colorado (47), radio talk show hosts (48) through to rock stars. (49)
The Canadian media has also been remarkably unprofessional in acceptingCSI's controversial claims. 'The Ottawa Citizen' ran a five-day serieson "slavery" in Sudan. (50) In 1997, 'The Calgary Sun' ran an eight-part series uncritically citing CSI claims. (51) In April 2000,'Maclean's', Canada's premier magazine, also ran an extensive, front-cover, CSI feature. (52)
Christian Solidarity International was also able to get its anti-Sudanpropaganda "theatre" onto American network television. The 1999 seasonpremiere of the CBS network show, "Touched By An Angel", featured "slaveredemption" in Sudan. (53) By the show's executive producer ownadmission, this episode was intended to influence the passage of anti-Sudanese legislation through Congress. (54) This CSI propaganda piece,based on claims of a CSI-style "slave redemption" of the sortsubsequently seen to be fraudulent, was viewed by an estimated 20million Americans.
The damage done to Sudan's reputation by Christian SolidarityInternational's claims of "slavery" and "slave redemption" in thatcountry is clear. Yet these claims have now been comprehensively exposedas fraudulent and untrustworthy. A Western diplomat in Khartoum statedthat CSI has "zero credibility" among mainstream aid organisations andthe United Nations. (55)
It should be noted that Sir Robert ffolkes, director of the Save theChildren (UK) programme in Sudan, an organisation at the forefront ofthe abductions issue, has publicly stated: "I have seen no evidence atall of slave trading. And believe me, we have looked". (56) Sir Roberthas also said: "I do not believe the government in involved in slave-taking." (57) Exposes of the claims made by CSI began to emerge asearly as 1999. (58) Also in that year, respected Italian priest FatherRenato Kizito Sesana, long active in southern Sudan, questioned CSI'sclaims. Writing in the Kenyan Sunday Nation, he observed: "When you knowthe reality of Sudan on the ground, you cannot believe that it ispossible to come to Nairobi from Switzerland, the following day hire aplane at Wilson Airport, fly somewhere in Sudan with a pocketful ofmoney and redeem 1,050 slaves. Somebody, somewhere, plays a dirtytrick." (59) One month later, Father Renato added that he was "afraid"that CSI "might have fallen victims of some fraud perpetrated by localpeople, possibly with the connivance of elements living abroad who havesome more or less legitimate interests in the area. Only the Swissbranch of CSI is involved in the redemption of slaves. The German andAustrian branches, that were involved at the beginning, have withdrawn.What were their reasons? Did they smell a rat, too?" (60) In 2000, theCanadian government also clearly questioned the credibility of large-scale "slave redemptions" as claimed by CSI: "[R]eports, especially fromCSI, about very large numbers were questioned, and frankly not accepted.Mention was also made to us of evidence that the SPLA were involved in"recycling" abductees..." (61)
In February 2002, in an unprecedented international focus, and as theresult of some excellent investigative journalism, 'The Irish Times',London's 'Independent on Sunday', 'The Washington Post' and'International Herald Tribune', chose to publish, or republish, articlesexposing the deep fraud and corruption at the heart of CSI's claims of"slave redemption" in Sudan. (62) These articles are the culmination oflong-standing concerns about the activities of several organisationsinvolved in what had become a Western-financed "redemption" industry inparts of Sudan. The claims by organisations and people such as JohnEibner and the Swiss-based Christian Solidarity International (CSI), andBaroness Cox's Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) themselves, to have"redeemed" tens of thousands of Sudanese "slaves" have been sharplycalled into question. 'The Washington Post' reported that in numerousdocumented instances "the slaves weren't slaves at all, but peoplegathered locally and instructed to pretend they were returning frombondage". (63) 'The Independent on Sunday' reported that it was able to"reveal that 'redemption' has often been a carefully orchestratedfraud". (64) Rev. Cal Bombay, whose Crossroads Christian Communicationsorganisation in Canada had been involved in "slave redemptions" revealedthat SPLA leaders such as Dr Samson Kwaje, in candid comments about"slave redemption", "doubted that even 5%" of the "slaves" had ever beenabducted, and that "they were coached in how to act, and stories totell." (65)
'The Irish Times' reported "According to aid workers, missionaries, andeven the rebel movement that facilitates it, slave redemption in Sudanis often an elaborate scam." 'The Irish Times' article also stated thatin many cases "the process is nothing more than a careful deceit, stage-managed by corrupt officials".
In reality, many of the 'slaves' are fakes. Rebel officials round uplocal villagers to pose for the cameras. They recruit fake slavers - alight skinned soldier, or a passing trader, to 'sell' them. The childrenare coached in stories of abduction and abuse for when the redeemer, ora journalist, asks questions. Interpreters may be instructed to twisttheir answers. The money, however, is very real. CSI can spend more than$300,000 during a week of redemptions at various bush locations. Aftertheir plane takes off, the profits are divvied up - a small cut to the"slaves" and the "trader" but the lion's share to local administratorsand SPLA figures.
In an open letter in 2000 senior SPLA commander Aleu Ayieny Aleu statedthat "slave redemption" had become a "racket of mafia dimensions". Healso revealed, as an example, that one of his lighter-skinned relatives,SPLA captain Akec Tong Aleu, had been "forced several times to pretendas an Arab and simulate the sale of free children to CSI on camera".(66) Aleu declared: "It was a hoax. This thing has been going on for noless than six years". (67) This account, 'The Washington Post' stated,"coincides with descriptions of the scam offered by Sudanese officialsand Western aid workers, who said the sheer volume of money flowing intothe south made corruption inevitable." (68) The newspaper also reportedthat "prevalent fraud is acknowledged by senior rebel officials". Thenewspaper stated: "By many accounts, individual rebel commanders aredeeply involved in redemption scams". 'The Irish Times' observed thatone SPLA commander has earned enough from the scam to acquire fortywives. (69) Other SPLA figures were said to have built houses orfinanced businesses with their cuts. (70)

'The Irish Times' further made clear that:
"[T]he warning signs have been there for years. Within the SPLA,whispers of suspicion have swelled into a chorus of criticism in recentyears. Acrimonious rows have broken out and accusations profiteeringlevelled at individuals. Outside the rebel ranks, aid workers have beenpuzzled. It seems almost incredible that tens of thousands of abductedcivilians could cross a dangerous frontline undetected by governmentforces. Moreover, aid workers north of the line saw no evidence of largemovements south, and their colleagues in the south saw no sudden demandfor extra food or medicines by redeemed salves. Put simply, the numbersdidn't add up. And yet no questions were asked. The dollars rolled inand the redemptions continued. "
The issue of "slave redemption" fraud straddles several themes includingthe ability of pressure groups to get their stories into local andnational media. The self-styled American Anti-Slavery Group, based inBoston, has managed to place a number of questionable articles in localmedia.

5 comments:

Dave Lucas said...

Nice blog, Kizzie! Keep at it!

Kizzie said...

Hey there,
Thank you:)
I will check out your blog

btw:- I'm majoring in mass communication (broadcast journalism specialization:))

Daana Lost in Translation said...

kizzie,

I remember this whole propaganda created by this organization. I remember I even watched the video where they were supposedly buying a "slave" and the first thing I noticed was the the alleged slave looked west african not southern sudanese and the alleged arab slave trader looked like the people from the twareg tribes of north west africa (in fact he was dressed just like them not in sudanese traditional clothes) Alhamdulillah that this organization has been uncovered by the international world and that they are now known to have no credibility. I heard that the video they shot was not even filmed in Sudan. I am now more convinced that Sudan is being targeted by both western governments and chrisitian organizations like they say in arabic
لغرض في نفس يعقوب

thx sweets

Kizzie said...

Dear Dana,

The way Sudan is portrayed in the international media sickens me. I wrote a research paper about it for one of my classes.
Not only the slavery issue but apparently in 2002, Osama bin Laden bought child slaves from the ugandese rebels to work for him...guess where? in his personal marijuana farms in Sudan!!!
This is absurd but ofcourse the western media found it very entertaining. It was published in many newspapers. Fortuanetly, the British govt denied it and said it was unfounded bas ba3ad shino?
Sudan's reputation is ruined!
I know that we have alot of internal problems and we have many problems bas dont lie. If you want to publish something, publish the truth.
The international coverage of Sudan is ridiculous.
Many credible respected people said that they didnt find any slave trade in Sudan but the press keeps publishing articles about slavery in Sudan. In fact, go to bbcworld.com and look at pics of sudanese slaves and read their stories.
I think the national media should get up and start talking. They should give evidence to show that many lies are published about Sudan.
I'm studying broadcast journalism Dana and I promise I will work hard for clearing Sudan's name and publishing the truth.

Anonymous said...

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!

Cheers
Christian, iwspo.net