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Sudan: Another Darfur?

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[♪ Pop music playing ♪] With Fareed Zakaria The conflict in Darfur has overshadowed deadly strife in East Sudan. Eastern rebels, like their counterparts in Darfur, complain that successive regimes in Khartoum have marginalized the impoverished region, which is home to 4 million people. Some peace talks promise an end to this decade-old conflict. But if conditions on the ground do not improve, the armed struggle may yet explode. Christopher Milner traveled where few reporters have ventured to show us the situation on the ground in East Sudan. [Sounds of car driving by] "The Next Darfur?" Reported by: Chris Milner, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting [Narrator speaking] This desert region of Sudan is plagued by famine and war. Yet we are far from Darfur, this is the troubled land of East Sudan. [Singing in Ta Bedawie, translated] We are the Beja, we are smart We are the Beja, we are not afraid. We are not afraid of fire and guns The Beja have heavy weapons The Beja have grenades We are the Beja, we are smart We are smart on the battlefield We are the Beja, we are not afraid. We are not afraid of fire and guns Tahir Mohamed, President, Beja Youth Organisation I can surely say that groups in Sudan like the Beja have been impoverished by the policies. of successive governments in Khartoum. [Narrator speaking] For decades, the people of East Sudan have complained that Khartoum exploited their natural resources, without developing their region. In 1994, after 50 years as a non-violent movement, the Beja congress decided to pick up arms, and fight the Sudanese government for better conditions. [In Ta Bedawie, translated] Now, after 10 years of war Professor Feki, Chairman, Liberated Territories, East Sudan the humanitarian situation is getting worse. People need guaranteed safety from harassments, and help setting up homes because most property has been systematically destroyed. [Narrator speaking] Khartoum responded with daily arial bombardments of civilian targets. Some 250,000 people have taken their refuge in the rebel hell territority so far their homes and livestock destroyed. Sayeed Bel'eid, Chariman, People's Committee of Rassai My family escaped to this area from the war and the fire that shows no mercy. Now my children suffer from malnutrition. We returned but our houses are burned, and the government mined our village. So now we are displaced. We came to see the Professor (Feki) Mohamed Isaa, Bel'eid Family Member and he said we could stay here, but there are no services here, none at all. Back home . . . mines are everywhere, even in our house of worship. I don't understand why? They came and slaughtered our animals, and seized our property. The people always pay the price for war. [Man and woman speaking in Ta Bedawie] There is no school for our children The school was destroyed. We need help, help us help us! There is not enough food, we need food, and corn. And drinking water. It's the same for drinking water. [Narrator speaking] Decades of neglect and conflict have left a region rich in natural resources on the verge of collapse. In rural Eastern Sudan, illiteracy reaches 90% Trade has been strangled. The average income for a Sudanese is $300. In the East, it is just $90. [Sounds of car running] Primary Health Care Unit, Balastaf Tahir Mohamed, Medical Assistant, Balastaf We have malnutrition, and anemia, and dysentery, and giardia All our medical equipment is destroyed, we don't have the tools to treat people. We don't even have toilets not in the women's ward, or the men's. No latrines! [Man speaking in Ta Bedawie] [Narrator speaking] Crude mortality rates here double those of Darfur. The Beja are nomadic and depend on animals but the East is prone to drought. Drought has starved all we had left resulting in famine and disease, and malnutrition related diseases are chronic [Narrator speaking] Malnutrition rates are the highest in Sudan, well above world food program emergency levels. >>Donors and national organisations need to cooperate to develop this region as well as Darfur. Assistance has reached, at most, a quarter of those in need. Talks between the Eastern Sudan front and the government are ongoing. It remains to be seen whether Khartoum is actually serious about helping the Beja people. [♪ Soft guitar playing ♪] With Fareed Zakaria PAST IS PRESENT The Beja are found mostly in Sudan, but also in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Egypt Source: Wikipedia.org For 4,000 years the Nomadic Beja have lived mostly as camel herders The Beja speak Ta Bedawie, an Afro-Asiatic language With Fareed Zakaria Reporter / Editor: Chris Milner Videographer: Christian Bitsch, Kassim Ghebru Photography: Thomas Goisque Translation: Mohamed Said, Hassan Kasrawi "Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria" is produced by Azimuth Media Special thanks to: Native Voice Films, London Beja Relief Organization, Eritrea Produced in association with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting www.pulitzercenter.org

Video Details

Duration: 6 minutes and 13 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and Azimuth Media
Views: 218
Posted by: pulitzercenter on Apr 25, 2008

As featured on Foreign Exchange. The conflict in Darfur has overshadowed deadly strife in East Sudan. Eastern rebels, like their counterparts in Darfur, complain that successive regimes in Khartoum have marginalized the impoverished region, which is home to 4 million people. Some peace talks promise an end to this decade-old conflict. But if conditions on the ground do not improve, the arms struggle may yet explode. Christopher Milner traveled where few reporters have ventured to show us the situation on the ground in East Sudan. For more information, visit www.pulitzercenter.org/showproject.cfm?id=23.

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