This will be the final post in this series this season. Please take the moment to donate something to the TFHT. So far we have raised $610. Your contribution makes a big difference.
The situation in Sudan is a complicated cocktail that I won’t do justice trying to explain here. But I would like to focus on one aspect of the mess for a minute.
You may remember Aaron Cohen, the rocker turned slave redeemer we were honored to have at JTB2. He has been to Sudan many times over the past 10 years in efforts to compile accurate information about the situation there to pass on to the state department.
Whenever he is there, he also tries to redeem slaves.
Sudan experienced a 20 year civil war which ended in 2003. During that same time large populations were uprooted from their homes so as to make room for drilling oil*. These two conditions, war and displacement due to oil companies, created a population particularly vulnerable to being forced into slavery.
Slavery has been a sleeping wartime practice in the Sudan for thousands of years. The practice was reawakened in 1983 when war broke out between the Islamic north and Christian south. When a warring fraction invades a village, the survivors, usually young men and women, are taken as slaves.
Male slaves are forced to work in agriculture, or are taken by the Lord’s Resistance Army to be child soldiers in neighboring Uganda. Girls are often taken as 3rd or 4th wives. Slaves are very often beaten, maimed, raped, malnourished, and brutally killed.
While most modern slavery takes the form of Debt bondage, slavery is Sudan is of the old fashioned Chattel kind, wherein people are bought and sold as goods and treated as property. This is akin to slavery of blacks in America.
Part of what Aaron does, in conjunction with the many other people involved is that when he travels to Sudan on a fact-finding mission, he consults with local Muslim and Christian contacts to find out if there are any slaves in the area to be redeemed. If possible, he negotiates to buy them and reunites them with their tribe.
Buying a human being in Sudan costs about $50
In the photo below, you can see Aaron shaking hands with the slave owner. Notice the pile of money in between them and the slaves in the back to the right waiting to be reunited with their tribes.
If you want to get in touch with the real experience of slavery and redemption in what could still be considered the Pesach seaon, pick up Escape from Slavery by former slave Francis Bok, a Sudanese man who was kidnapped from the Dinka tribe in South Sudan at the age of 7 and forced into a life of slavery and horrible cruelty only to escape ten years later
For a good overview to help you understand the situation in Sudan a little better, try reading this page from iAbolish.
To find ways to do something about it, check out SudanActivism.com
*With an output of 200,000 barrels of oil per day the Government of Sudan reaped an estimated $500 million last year (2000). Production is projected to double or triple this year and in the coming years. Oil extraction in the Sudan has fundamentally changed Sudan’s war. It has shifted the balance of military power in favor of the National Islamic regime and has made it to shun peace negotiations, believing strongly that the solution to the war rests on military victory over the Southern rebels and other opposition groups in the marginalized regions of the country. It has helped to insulate Khartoum from world pressure to end its brutal policies against the people of the South and the Nuba Mountains. Sudan’s military dictator himself has made it public that revenues from the oil will be used to procure military hardware such as modern bombers, helicopter gun ships and other weapons to be used to prosecute the war in the South. Source.