Darfur — The leader of the opposition Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdelwahid faction (SLM-AW), Abdelwahid El Nur, responded today to a statement issued by the 'Troika' of Norway, the United Kingdom and the USA yesterday condemning ongoing clashes between the SLM-AW rebels and Sudan's army and militias in the Jebel Marra region.
As reported by Radio Dabanga yesterday, the 'Troika' released a joint statement saying that "the civilian population in Darfur's Jebel Marra continues to bear the brunt of this unnecessary violence.
"It is unacceptable that the government of Sudan has repeatedly prevented the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (Unamid) and humanitarian actors from accessing the areas of conflict and displaced populations. The Troika strongly urges the government of Sudan to immediately provide unfettered access to both Unamid and humanitarian actors."
In his response, in the form of an open letter to US President Donald Trump, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, and Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Abdelwahid El Nur says: "The leadership of the SLM appreciates the concern voiced by the US, UK, and Norway over the desperate plight of the civilian population of Darfur enduring continued, genocidal violence and state terror by the military and paramilitary forces of the Sudanese dictatorship.
"We further embrace your call for Khartoum to end the embargo on sorely needed humanitarian aid reaching the region, and to cease impeding access to the combined AU and UN peacekeepers in Unamid.
"We have long called for both and not merely urged such measures but begged the international community to intervene decisively to lift the humanitarian blockade long used as a tool of subjugation and to strengthen the Unamid mission, thus reforming its weak and severely constricted operational posture that barely qualifies as peacekeeping, while repeatedly appealing for the adoption of a more appropriate and muscular peace enforcement mandate that better corresponds to reality."
'Divergent understanding of reality in Darfur'
However, El Nur pulls no punches when he says that the SLM-AW and the Troika have a "sharply divergent understanding of what this reality constitutes."
El Nur asserts that "far away from the opulence of the White House, No.10 Downing Street and Inkognitogata 18, as we endure the horrors you are not witness to nor could ever imagine occurring on a daily basis in Washington, London, and Oslo despite your own experience of terror, determines that we equally reject and decry the false equivalency in culpability for the most recent upsurge in bloodletting posited in your joint communique of June 19th."
"In particular we take exception to your assertion that the SLM's refusal to participate in the so called peace process is the key obstruction to the resolution of the crisis in Darfur and that we are antagonists responsible for callously prolonging the suffering of the civilian population. On the contrary, despite our limited means and isolation, where we fight with little more than our will to resist annihilation and dispossession, the refusal of the Sudan Liberation Army to capitulate, forms the only line of defence protecting the civilian population from the regime's well established policy of extermination and ethnic cleansing... "
'SLA held liberated territory is the only sanctuary available to civilians in Darfur, imperfect as it is in the face of overwhelming government firepower... '
His open letter states: "SLA held liberated territory is the only sanctuary available to civilians in Darfur, imperfect as it is in the face of overwhelming government firepower that subjects non-combatants and combatants alike to routine artillery and aerial bombardments, gas attacks and as prevalent large scale incursions by government ground troops and the routine raiding, abductions, summary executions, gang rapes, torture sessions and razing of villages, that give weight to the charges brought by the International Criminal Court against President Omar al Bashir, as you are well aware, the sole sitting head of state indicted for War Crimes, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity.
"But then the Sudanese tyrant enjoys a process of rehabilitation overseen by the US, UK and the European Union, while the Arab League, African Union and Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as the UN itself dithers, also avert their eyes and ignore his crimes against his own people. But they remain visible to us, as we are his victims. Your passive complicity is deeply painful to us, when anchoring our liberation struggle is a desire to free not only Darfur but the whole of Sudan. The crushing irony is that the dream we die for is to forge a pluralist and secular democracy in your own example."
"Do not ask us to do what you would not do yourselves faced with the same circumstances... '
In conclusion, El Nur argues: "We sincerely doubt were it 1941 that the United States would have readily surrendered to Imperial Japan after Pearl Harbor, nor that Britain would have capitulated during the Blitz in 1940 when it stood alone against Nazi Germany after the defeat of the British Expeditionary Force and the fall of France or that the Free Norwegian Forces and resistance members would have ever given up their struggle against occupation after the valiant sacrifice of the Royal Norwegian Armed Forces against the same Nazi juggernaut. The Sudanese regime is also composed of fascists, militarists, butchers and ideological zealots, do not ask us to do what you would not do yourselves faced with the same circumstances," he argues.