Saturday, August 4, 2007

Why Such poor Arab journalism when it comes to Darfur?

Question:-"Arab mass media talk about journalists being killed in Iraq. But why don't you send journalists to be killed in Darfur?" a representative from the Darfur Liberation Front.
Answer:- " The nature of the crisis is different from Iraq or Palestine, In Darfur, you can walk a long time in the desert to reach the news, but in Palestine it's easy."
Good question. Bad answer.
The Arab coverage of Darfur is pathetic. Only recently did Al-Arabiya started doing some proper reporting on Darfur. Only recently did they add Darfur to the list of Arab countries we should pray for, donate money to. Only recently did people find out about a conflict which started nearly 4 years ago.udan is a member of the Arab league. It is considered an "Arab" country. If a crises happens in an Arab country, the Arab world rushes to help.They donate money to rebuild Lebanon. They send money to help Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. This is not done to Arab countries only. When the massacres happened in Bosnia, they had donation boxes in every supermarket in Qatar. They had to help the Bosnians, they are not Arabs but they are "Muslim". If this is the case, then Sudan should be helped not because it is Arab but because it is a Muslim country. Many western journalists travelled long distances to report in Darfur but where are the Arabs who are suppose to help the so-called Arab country called Sudan?
Nabil Kassem went to Darfur. Great job. Who else?

Samantha Power went to Darfur. She even convinced Barack Obama to go there . Nicholas Kristof went there many times.Paul Salopek of the Chicago tribune went there. There is more Jewish money going to Darfur than Muslim money.

Palestine,Lebanon and Iraq are the priority. I comprehend that, but just don't preach about how Arab countries should "help" Sudan because it is an Arab country because they simply don't care.Only in such a situation is the real status of Sudan within the Arab world noticed.
The Senegalese president once said " the Sudanese could've been the best Africans but they chose to be the worst Arabs". We didn't choose to be the worst Arabs, we chose to be the trash of the Arab world! We don't exactly look Arab but the fact that we speak the Arabic language fluently makes them compelled to accept us.

Nabil Kassem is one of a kind. An Arab journalist who travelled to Darfur and created an eye-opening documentary about the conflict. Too bad the documentary was killed. If you want to watch the documentary named "Jihad on Horseback" you have to watch it online.

The documentary was killed and the cries of Kassem about what the Arabs should do in Darfur were ignored. The situation in Iraq is constantly deteriorating and sometimes, you have to make a choice about what's more important to the audience. The choice was clearly made.

Iraq matters. What is happening in Iraq breaks my heart, I sympathize equally with Palestine but people are dying in Darfur too. Religion or ethnicity doesn't matter when people are dying.

I'm still looking for a good answer to the question why such poor Arab journalism when it comes to Darfur?
Answer proposed:- " The Arabs see the victims are not Arabs, and we don't care" Khaled Ewais, a political producer from Al-Arabbiya- an important news channel in the Arab world.
Good Answer.
The victims in Darfur are not Arabs, they are Africans. The Arabs are playing another role in Darfur. Definitely not the "victims".The Darfurians are Muslims but they are not "Arabs". Enough said." Sudan is a marginal country when it comes to the Arab region", Khartoum correspondant of Al-Hayat. Well Said.We shall collect the rest of our dignity( If there is any left!)and join the East African world. I don't think Africans will refuse to embrace Sudan. The problem is Sudan will rather be the trash of the Arab world than be considered African. Most of Darfur and the South/North peace talks (if not all) were in African countries(Only Libya hosted some peace talks). Did Arab countries ever hold peace talks in their country? No, we are non of their business.
This post is not anti-arab or anything but I just couldn't suppress my anger any longer. If the Arab world cares about the Sudan, they should do the minimum to ensure the final peace talks go well and support the peace-keeping forces. I'm not asking for alot.
Currently, Al Jazeera is reporting on the Darfur peace talks . Progress is happening:) or so it seems.

17 comments:

Ebony said...

woooooh. I can feel the anger from way over here. ;)

Very nicely said. Well done.

I wouldn't have been able to do it in such an objective manner. Whenever I try to even start to articulate this issue I get too passionate and too angry and then I lose reason. But you've maintained it very well.

I don't think I need to add anymore, you've said it all.

Thank you. :)

Kizzie said...

ebony,
I dont think I was that objective.after i finished writing it, I let my dad read it because i thought it was too angry.
I wasnt intending to be offensive but I was just hurt by how the arab media neglected darfur soo much

AyMoNy said...

Kizzie,

Forget the Arabs. people in khartoum itself don't care about what's happening in Darfur. They don't feel the misery of rafugee camps and khartoum is a party-hole as it always was. You don't come around humanitarian campaigns to support the people of Darfur. Actually, people in Khartoum are a bit annoyed with the masses of refugees coming from Darfur. Instead of talking about their misery, they talk more about how those bad darfurians are seeking refuge in Israel.

Ebony said...

Well you are my definition of what objective is in regards to this issue. I think you are more balanced than I could have ever been.

I didn't see the offense. I see valid and much needed criticism.

"The Senegalese president once said " the Sudanese could've been the best Africans but they chose to be the worst Arabs". We didn't choose to be the worst Arabs, we chose to be the trash of the Arab world! We don't exactly look Arab but the fact that we speak the Arabic language fluently makes them compelled to accept us."

I've heard this said too many times from many parties. And yes it's very harsh, and yes it's rather a humiliating stance and commentary to be made. However, I'm saddened to say that there is too much truth in this. This is how I have always felt.

And yes, I am very biased in my opinion considering that I am from the South. But I've heard it coming from other Arabs and Africans.

You are probably going to hate me for this, Kizzie, and you can choose to not approve this comment. But I feel that there's very obvious racism going on with the Darfur issue. But hey, the less Blacks in Sudan, the better, maybe then Sudan will finally be able to officially be part of the Arab world...without us pesky Black Africans messing it up.

I've already shifted a good weight of my anger from the Arab world though. Fine, Darfur is an African problem (Since we are playing this game, instead of it just being a "Human issue"). However, sadly I've also heard voices pushing them away unto the Arab world because of their religion. Argh.

They are like an unwanted orphan pushed left and right while they continue to be wiped out. Maybe that's the plan. Maybe if we ignore the screams long enough, the problem will just "go away."

Lastly, I can't see the Sudanese Government wanting anything to do the with East Africa, but I hope the South will give it a chance.

Daana said...

A job well done kizzie...truly Sudan is marginal when it comes to Arabs. Unfortunately Arabs and Sudanese people both do not understand Arabism. For whatever reason Arabism is believed to be a race or ethnicity, when actually it is merely a language. Something that prophet Mohammed mentioned over 1400 years. Arabism did not become a nationalistic movement until the late 19th century, and only then did it become an identity. Back to Darfur and Sudan in general. Arabs have constatnly failed Sudan and in many cases were the reason behind miserable situations in sudan (KSA for example used to pay American oil companies in Sudan in the late 70s and early 80s so that they won't dig for oil) can u imagine how far behind this left Sudan and where we would have been today if oil was produced 20 years ago??? the examples are many. Sudan has always stood behind and supported arabs, but not once have they truly helped us. There are some countries that had interest in Sudan such as Kuwait for instance, and of course egypt since anything that happens to sudan can truly affect egypt. However, nobody had a genuine interest in the people of Sudan. I found a few blogs about egyptians in Sudan, and one of them had a post about the Picture of the Southern Sudanese girl that is dying of hunger back in 1994's famine (u know the picture whose photographer killed himself) and one of the people that commented said that he saw that picture 14 years ago but it didn't affect him in anyway until he saw it now because only now can he see humans beyond their color, gender, ethnicity, or religion and feel their pain. I think that was the most honest comment I read. I also think it summarizes how arabs think. When they learn to accept our humanity regardless of our skin color or what we look like, then they will feel our pains.

Black Kush said...

Slow down a bit, gal. You will get yourself a disease of the heart. We need you around still. ;)

I can feel your passion for Darfur coming out "loud and clear" . . . All have been said. Maybe later will add another side.

Kizzie said...

aymony, I'm afraid I have to disagree. I'm sure your point is valid and you are basing your argument on real life experiences but I'm doing the same thing here. The sudanese people I know care alot. I hated one of the articles published in the new york times talking about how sudanese in ktown are going to ozone for icecream while a tragedy is unfolding. There is alot of tragedy in sudan and darfur wasn't the first. People are already depressed even in Khartoum even the people with money. You don't have to be in a war-zone to feel crap.it might not affect them directly but the wars affected all of us indirectly. Yes people in other parts of sudan are moving on with their lives, people are getting married, kids are celebrating their birthdays but people do care.

Kizzie said...

ebony,

"You are probably going to hate me for this, Kizzie, and you can choose to not approve this comment. But I feel that there's very obvious racism going on with the Darfur issue. But hey, the less Blacks in Sudan, the better, maybe then Sudan will finally be able to officially be part of the Arab world...without us pesky Black Africans messing it up."

oh really? so this means I'm going to be annihilated as well because last time I checked I was a black african:)

If we killed the black africans in sudan who is going to be left? al rashaida tribe? FAIR ENOUGH!


" I've already shifted a good weight of my anger from the Arab world though. Fine, Darfur is an African problem (Since we are playing this game, instead of it just being a "Human issue"). However, sadly I've also heard voices pushing them away unto the Arab world because of their religion. Argh. They are like an unwanted orphan pushed left and right while they continue to be wiped out. "

It's funny because the jews helped them although they are "muslim" and the western world is still donating money although they are not "White" or european or anything close to that. did the third world lose their humanity? or did we go through so much we are finding a hard time locating it when others suffer? Kizzie is confused now.
"Lastly, I can't see the Sudanese Government wanting anything to do the with East Africa, but I hope the South will give it a chance. " I'm sure south sudan will join the east african bloc but i wanna be part of it too! in a few years, i wanna walk around with an east african passport:D


Dana
" For whatever reason Arabism is believed to be a race or ethnicity, when actually it is merely a language." Yes there is a hadith or verse saying " an arab is someone who speaks arabic" but now its a completely different idea!

" (KSA for example used to pay American oil companies in Sudan in the late 70s and early 80s so that they won't dig for oil)" I remember reading about the cheque they gave Chevron:) now Chevron is gone..so what? we have China National Petroleum (CNP):)


"can u imagine how far behind this left Sudan and where we would have been today if oil was produced 20 years ago??? " I'm not going to talk about this because its depressing. I mean the gulf started exporting oil in the 1960's sudan was already a proper country in the 1960's! Unfortuantely, without the oil we just kept deteriorating.


Last summer when I went to Sudan, they used to call on the sudanee youth to go to Lebanon and support our arab brothers n sisters there. The govt wanted our children to go there and fight. I laughed hysterically when I heard about it. How did the lebanese ever help us? how did the arabs ever help us in general?


"However, nobody had a genuine interest in the people of Sudan. I found a few blogs about egyptians in Sudan, and one of them had a post about the Picture of the Southern Sudanese girl that is dying of hunger back in 1994's famine (u know the picture whose photographer killed himself) and one of the people that commented said that he saw that picture 14 years ago but it didn't affect him in anyway until he saw it now because only now can he see humans beyond their color, gender, ethnicity, or religion and feel their pain. I think that was the most honest comment I read. I also think it summarizes how arabs think. When they learn to accept our humanity regardless of our skin color or what we look like, then they will feel our pains. "
I'm speechless, I will always remember this story.



Black Kush,
Don't worry about me:)

Black Kush said...

Ebony, if it were left for us, we could have been an independent country (i mean South Sudan) if the British have not cheated us out!) And maybe then, the old Sudan would have its only Arab tribes and mess themselves big alone.

Sudan has almost begged to be allowed to join the Arab league. Lebanon was one country that stands against Sudan saying it is not an Arab country. You have a good reason to laugh, Kizzie.

Hey, ebony, do you have a blog? Activate your profile view so that we can pay a visit.

Kizzie said...

Black Kush,
I always heard about how lebanese dislike the sudanese and blacks in general. I experienced it but i think its not because im black its because am sudanese.
any history behind that except the arab league story, my dad told me about it b4

Ebony said...

"oh really? so this means I'm going to be annihilated as well because last time I checked I was a black african:)

If we killed the black africans in sudan who is going to be left? al rashaida tribe? FAIR ENOUGH!"

Kizzie, there you have it! Though most of the Sudan is black to me (for god's sake it's "the land of the blacks"), you'll find a chunk finding any reasons possible to say they are not...we have like seven ways to describe skin tones... (and yes on my side of the pond, in some parts, you'll find people making a point out of deciding who is a black African, and who is not...)

I brought the darfur point up to my father , a long time ago, and he was like "They are black yes, but they are arab and muslim." He said it as if they were a whole different species all together, therefore of no real concern to him. !@#$%#!!! *sigh*

But he still didn't fret when he was given free flight tickets to fly his hypocrite behind to washington to march for darfur just for show. >:( He bragged about it for daaaaaaaaaaaaays.

I effin' hate the tribalist/racist/regionist...WHATEVER mentality. >:( If my mother talks ill of another tribe...ONE MORE TIME. I'll go and marry into each and every single one of them out of spite.

I'd like to say put the labels aside and focus on advancing this god forsaken country, but that will just be wishful thinking (non optimist here *ducks*). :(

Whenever I think of Sudan, I just think of a tight ball of thread that cannot be undone, tangled beyond reason. I get so confused and frustrated.

I think I stopped trying to understand people a long time ago.

You know I really felt guilty about my comment. But after more thought, I don't think I'd ever really take it back, sorry... :(

Black Kush - I don't know, due to years of it being hammered into my head about the need for a separare south sudan (and I see the points that support it and agree with a chunk of it) I still can't help but be wary about the unity of people within the South (my dad who raised us children on the teachings of the holy order of John Garang, has issues with the current leadership just based on the man's tribe alone...but Garang was the "excepion").

Maybe us South Sudanese in the diaspora (in the U.S., specifically midwest area) just suck. But there's still an alarming tribal/regionist mentality.

Separate churches, "so and so" only meetings, "so and so" only gatherings. *shudders*

About the blog, Nah, I don't have one. hehe. I'm just an annoying leech stuck on Kizzie's blog. :P

I'd create a blog but I'm out of control. :\ My bitter sarcasm and half of my blatant views are not very nice and proper.

Don Cox said...

"Unfortuantely, without the oil we just kept deteriorating."___If you can't develop without oil, you won't develop with it. Japan has done fine with no oil.

Daana said...

ebony...u said it all, we sudanese or a big portion of us do not practice what we preach. Triablism is still very much existent in almost all of our people. I mean who to this day still asks what tribe are you from except Sudanese.

One last thought about Dr. Garang. I have to disagree with you about his separationist claims because he in fact was a firm believer in the Unity of Sudan, and all of africa

Kizzie said...

Don cox,
If you visited sudan in the last 10 years, u were going to notice the difference. With the oil, we did develop a little, if you are looking at it from a sudanese point of view its alot actually!
We have luxuries we never had but we still have many problems.

Ebony said...

"One last thought about Dr. Garang. I have to disagree with you about his separationist claims because he in fact was a firm believer in the Unity of Sudan, and all of africa"

Oh, I'm sorry if I gave the idea that the separatist ideas were coming from Garang. The ideas were "hammered in my head" by my father. Not Garang. I know of him wanting unity, it's some of the hardcore followers (like my father and his legion of doom :P) who have issues....


He was admired by my father and others for being a leader and bringing people (in the south) together, however at the same time there was fierce disagreement, my father being one of the dissenters... when it came to Sudan staying one.

When the peace agreement was signed, it was very merry (though full of doubts and suspiciouns, merry non the less)...but when he was assasinated it was like see, we need to separate. Can't work together, bla bla blah.

So now I just sit here at the edge of my seat being that one annoying cynic who can't see this peace lasting for long.

Hey Kizzie, for a future topic you should talk about what roles women played in the Sudan. I was sitting there yesterday trying to bring up any inspirational sudanese women and I couldn't think of any. Besides Garang's wife. The main one.

Yet I know women did...something. My mom was busy dodging arrests for a reason. :'P

Kizzie said...

Ebony,
Yes, notice how we never say Black, we always say "a'7'9ar, azraq etc..."I find it hilarious:) *grin*
I see where your father is coming from, he is not the only person to say that. People could not care about Darfurians because they are muslim or black or african or even because they are sudanese. There is a group on facebook called "f*** darfur" so yes not everybody cares.

It's funny how most of the people marching were "white". I didnt spot many sudanese/africans/african americans. Is it because they are the majority in America?

"If my mother talks ill of another tribe...ONE MORE TIME. I'll go and marry into each and every single one of them out of spite."
you copy cat, you stole my idea. I just have to marry a 7alabi for a few weeeks . My family has this grudge against them. what did they do to us? nothing but hey they are dirty,white,cheap,annoying.racist,wife-beaters and they have no sudanee identiity whatsoever.
My mum turned down this guy when she was young before she married my father because he was "7alabi" talk about people should care about personality first!

" I just think of a tight ball of thread that cannot be undone, tangled beyond reason. I get so confused and frustrated."
Yes, balad na7s bas what are we suppose to do? we can't give up now. Everytime this though hits me, I think about the north-south war, the southern fought for 50 years, half a freaking century. I just can't get over this war. John Garang fought for 23 years, he never gave up, he went to peace talks, fought for peace. I'm speechless now. I think their constant struggle for peace gives me hope. It's weird but that was kindoff gives me hope that if a bunch of people want something and they fought for it a long time, fought for it wholeheartedly, they might get it. For now, i think the fighting might stop but our parents n grandparents generation ruined our country and we just have to all work hard and together to fix things. Sudan is broken but it could be fixed.

"I think I stopped trying to understand people a long time ago.You know I really felt guilty about my comment. But after more thought, I don't think I'd ever really take it back, sorry... :"
I don't want you to take it back: ) There is democracy here, you are entitled to your own opnion.

"I'm just an annoying leech stuck on Kizzie's blog. :PI'd create a blog but I'm out of control. :\ My bitter sarcasm and half of my blatant views are not very nice and proper. "
so, yes you can stay here and inspire me with your comments.

msdalu said...

Anyway, yea...I sort of started my own blog. Maybe now I can be less of an annoyance. From now on I'll just post my novel long comments over there and link to you. :P

No actually, there were a lot of sudanese at the marching (and other folks of color) from what my father reported back (my mother had also tagged along).

It was one thing that was uplifting for me. That there was a large number of us there. And people were well organized, there were carpools, buses, and some who flew over. :)

Let's just say our media is a "bit"...white washed to promote white man burden/savior like agendas. Let's leave it at that.

*grumbles*

Peace.