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Give Credit They Deserve

By PoliticsNo Comments

While the visit of the government delegation to Chad had triggered debates and depictions in social media reflective of a comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including crude characterization and ludicrously improbable situations, I saw a takeaway message. The two images sold the visit. One being of the guy who wept and another of amputee liberator who struggled to sit and whose images invaded the social media, drawing diplomatic and public attention. There should be no shame for what they did. The guy who wept knew what he did, cried relentlessly until someone turned to him, so was the liberator. They are not children. It was a division of roles to achieve what they went for. It was not a mission in which fault would not be seen but which must be successfully accomplished to the admiration of the general hiring officer, the president. Make no mistake to underestimate them. They are adult politicians with education to scheme and work through their dreams.

What they did cause the current leadership in Chad to feel Deby was a great personality in regional politics and his son was the right pick. The delegation, huge as it was, had caused Chadian authority to think about what they would do next when they come across a case involving a fate of the current leadership in the regional clubs and associations to which they subscribed. It was a strategic visit, second to that which the French president undertook, although Chad has always been the handbag of France.

Several heads of state and governments in Chad, starting with the first president after gaining independence in 1960, Francois Tombalbaye, the two days president Noel Milarew Odingar in whose hand the president left this planet in 1975, to Felix Mallloum, later Goukouni Oueddei, followed by Lol Mahamat Choua, then Goukouni Ouedei two, followed by Hissene Hibre, Idris Deby and now his son, have always ascended to power either with the full backing of France or full knowledge, even if the group succeeded with either the support of Nigeria, Libya or Sudan. Chad never knew anybody with formidable leadership or personality worth reaching for support in the south. Khartoum was either their source of fear or support. So, if someone or people they know had ties with Khartoum had come to visit them, they would give a listening ear, hoping their message would be delivered to those in Khartoum in return. Rather than sending liberators with western education and connections without personal affections and some sorts of religious and mercenary stories to crack and share as some on the delegation depicts, the guy who grew up in the house of masterminds and backers who helped put the president being succeeded by a son in power was a right pick. Deby was in Khartoum until 1990 when he took power in Ndjamena and Tut Kew was in the house of Deby’s backers. They must have met to know each other, albeit at arm’s length at the time but which can possibly be a source of starting intimate diplomatic relations and connection, if properly utilized since there is already a knowledge of each other.

Far from death and mourning visit, the African Union being one of the clubs to which Chad had subscribed and is managed by one of their own, Musa Faki, a member of the ruling Patriotic Salvation Movement and a northerner besides coming from Zaghawa, a tribe of the former president and his successor, could possibly be another target. Nothing comes to mind other than this. The agreement contained a provision of the hybrid court. AU would select judges and the government in Juba would do the same. It will be a court of split ideas and judgments. The backgrounds of judges AU would select would require serious work from both the government and the commission. A judge who would trouble the commission would not get hired to bring food to the table of his children and showcase talent and education than the one who would listen to rhetoric selling African solution to an African problem. The latter would apparently find a place on the bench with folks the government would nominate to the court. The former will have to wait. This, though not empirically conclusive, points at a grand strategy behind which a huge and public resources draining delegation predominantly Kiir must stay folks, was assembled. If Kiir goes by the recommendation of the court, they are gone. And who would such mistake in politics? Obviously, not a politician and one who does that has no business in being in African politics. So, give the credit they deserve, then holding on damn if you do, and damn if you do not.

The author is a South Sudanese journalist reachable at

Darfur ethnic attacks must be fully addressed

By opinionNo Comments

A series of blunders have contributed to the tragic situation in Sudan’s West Darfur region and continue to expose civilians to violence, notably among them the premature withdrawal in December 2020 of the African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) and the Sudanese security forces’ continued failure to protect civilians.

Unless a holistic approach is adopted to address the underlying causes of the insecurity and human rights violations in the region, intercommunal violence will escalate.

Multiple attacks have left hundreds of people dead and many more injured and continue to sustain the dire human rights and humanitarian situation in the region.
West Darfur state has in the last two years suffered three deadly inter-ethnic clashes. Most salient in all of these cases is that the Sudanese security forces (including some armed groups that signed the recent Juba Peace agreement with the government) failed to prevent these attacks.

On 3 April 2021, armed allegedly Arab men sparked off four days of deadly violence when they shot three Massalit men, killing two of them: 28-year-old Saber Ishaq and 47-year-old Arab Khamis. A third man, Abdul-hafiz Yahia Ismaeil, 53, was seriously injured. According to the West Darfur State Doctors’ Committee, at least 144 people were killed, and 232 others injured during the clashes.

In January 2021, at least 163 people were killed and 217 injured during a revenge attack on the Krinding camp, that is home to thousands of Massalit Internally Displaced People (IDPs). In July 2020, more than 60 Massalit people were killed and about 60 wounded by members of an armed group around Masterei town, 48km south of El-Geneina.

In December 2019, tension flared up again after a Massalit man killed an Arab man. Arab militia retaliated by attacking Krinding IDP camp and, according to the UN, killed 83 Massalit and injured 160, set fire on shops and houses, and displaced 48,800 people. In May 2019, members of an armed Arab militia shot and killed two Massalit people and injured 14 others in El Geneina.

A holistic approach to ending this violence must start with restoration of the rule of law, respect of human rights and immediately countering ethnic hate speech and fearmongering. The government should also move with urgency to implement the National Plan for the Protection of Civilians and Security Arrangements, ensuring the joint protection forces deployed in Darfur are adequately equipped and trained, including to respect, protect and fulfil human rights. The government must ensure all security forces and their allied armed groups are held accountable for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.

In West Darfur, historical ethnic distrust and tensions have increased since the ouster of the Al-Bashir government in April 2019. The communities in West Darfur are sharply divided in their allegiances; most Massalit and many other indigenous African groups expressed their joy after the regime’s fall. The Massalit community has endured long periods of suffering dating back to the 1990s when their villages were systemically attacked by armed militia from the Arab.

During the conflict in Darfur which began in 2003, Massalit villages were raided and burnt repeatedly for 17 years. Thousands were killed, internally displaced, or forced to flee to neighbouring Chad. The National Congress Party (NCP)’s government regularly supported and armed some of the Arab communities during the conflict in Darfur.

Some of the Arabs in West Darfur remained ambivalent and bewildered by the seismic political change in Sudan, some are supportive of the political changes while others are still loyal to the former regime.

Amnesty International spoke to seven eyewitnesses and survivors of the most recent attacks on 4 to 6 of April. Some of them were injured during the attacks, some lost members of their families.

A group of armed Arabs shot and killed 34-year-old Masalit man, Abdulrazig Mohamed Khater, in his house during the attack on El Jebel area on 4 April.
The latest attacks occurred four months after the termination of the UNAMID operation in Darfur on 31 December 2020, handing over security and civilian protection functions to the Sudanese security forces, duties they have obviously not taken up hence the continued attacks and killings.

The UN Security Council must in light of the worsened security and human rights situation, expand UNITAMS’ mandate to include civilian protection.
The Government of Sudan must also undertake thorough, independent, impartial investigations into killings, injuries, displacement and other human rights abuses that have been committed during these clashes and ensure that those found responsible are brought to justice in civilian courts without recourse to the death penalty.
Ahmed Elzobier is the Researcher for Sudan at Amnesty International


By BlogNo Comments

“After I’d deconstructed my whole belief system and I’d shown God the door, what was left?”

The day I was ordained as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), I knelt on the hard brick steps of the seminary chapel and made promises to proclaim and live out the faith that I had first come to late in my 20s.

“I will, and I ask God to help me,” I vowed.

As the bishop prayed, three pastors came up behind me. Their hands alit like birds on my shoulders and I felt the weight.

I did not grow up in a family that regularly attended church. We were what some refer to as “C&E” — Christmas and Easter — people. Still, even from a young age I was drawn to big questions ― about meaning and purpose, about death and dying, about whether or not there is a God.

When one of my older sisters was diagnosed with breast cancer and died two years later at age 35, the tap-dancing I’d done around the edges of faith landed me at a crossroad — there was either Something/Someone or there was nothing.

I joined a church a friend had invited me to. Since I’d never read the Bible, I enrolled in a two-year study that began with Genesis and ended with the Revelation. A year into the course, my second child, a boy, was born with a heart defect and had surgery when he was four days old. Six weeks later, he died suddenly in my arms.

In the dark time after his death, church friends brought food, showed up to take my two-and-a-half-year-old son to the park, sat next to me on the sofa and handed me tissues as I wept, or simply held silent space for me. It felt like God was there, and in each loving act, I found reason to hope for healing from grief and the strength to go on. Four years later, I entered seminary.


In my time as a pastor, I preached the love of God and the grace of Jesus. I baptized babies and children and adults. I officiated at weddings and sat with the dying, praying with them and speaking of the ever-present Lord of Life. I stood at gravesides and proclaimed the hope of resurrection, and of a heaven where death and suffering are no more.

The author on ordination day with her son, Liam, and daughter, Maggie, at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Bexley, Ohio (1993).

Increasingly, though, I struggled with doubt — about God’s presence, about God’s trustworthiness, about the meaning of the Church in the world and the truth of its foundational tenets.

The shame I felt about my wavering faith kept me from being honest then. I believed I wasn’t supposed to succumb to serious doubts, that if I did I was failing my parishioners, that I was failing as a Christian. Still, the questions pestered me and began to interfere with my ability to continue living out those promises I’d made.

Fourteen years after I was ordained, I left ministry and went to work for our county’s domestic violence and rape crisis center. The thin framework of what remained of my faith collapsed as again and again survivors shared their experiences of abuse and assault, stories of unspeakable horrors and the heartbreak of shattered lives. I could not understand why the God who supposedly had numbered the hairs on our heads would not show up for these women.

I was devastated, too, to hear how little support survivors often found in their faith communities. I railed at the thought that any of our suffering is redemptive ― that it serves some secret purpose of God’s. If that was how God operated, I wanted no more of it. For a time, overwhelmed by my fury at an absent deity and unable to connect with any sense of the Divine, I denounced my faith and told God in the most brutal of terms to get lost, and for a while that’s where I stayed.

But my heart was still filled with longing for what I’d come to think of as “the Big Dream,” the Biblical vision that had first drawn me into faith. In that dream, the hungry are fed and the homeless find shelter. Justice and restoration come to those who need it. Love binds us together. Sickness and suffering are no more. We are not abandoned. Death does not have the last word.

I had to admit I was grieving — for the lost dream and for the loss of community, and for the loss of the God I thought I’d known. I gave myself a challenge: to be as searching about my deep longing as I’d been about the faith I’d relinquished.

But what now? After I’d deconstructed my whole belief system — the creeds and the Bible stories and the church teachings and traditions — after I’d shown God the door, what was left?

And like an echo from a far-off hillside, the word came.


It was true. And if love remained, wasn’t that enough to begin again?

Now I answered a new call, one to pilgrimage, and bought a small used RV, gave away most of my belongings, and rented out my house. I took off on a cross-country journey in search of a God I wasn’t even sure existed, shedding beliefs and habits that no longer served, releasing regrets that had kept me stuck in place. Nine months later I returned home, freed of old constraints, and began rebuilding ― but not the old faith with a God in a box we want to control. Not a faith in which the wild, free spirit of love is codified and commodified. Not a faith that spends one single moment arguing over who is out and who is in.

I lost my faith and I don’t want it back.

I do want it forward, though.

Forward to a faith that acknowledges the holiness and divinity in everyone without qualification. One with open doors and permeable walls. A faith that admits God is beyond knowing and naming and has many faces. One that lives out the creed that there is no law higher than love.

Doubt doesn’t have to be failure. I now believe faith ― if it is a living thing ― will grow and change with us out of necessity. This living faith will accept our questions as the exercising of a necessary muscle, one that will strengthen us for the journeys of our lives and all that may come our way.

I’m still in touch with a number of parishioners and pastoral colleagues as well. I will forever be grateful for how our paths and our stories have intertwined. A good friend, a pastor I’d served with, heard of my struggles and met me for lunch, asking straightaway, “How is your spiritual life?” As we clinked mugs and sipped our beers, I told him, and, bless him forever, he listened.

From time to time, I’ve received emails from strangers who came across one of my blog posts. They suggest Bible verses I could read to restore my belief. And sometimes I do open the heavy book, turn the wispy pages, pore over the words. It doesn’t really help, but the spirit of kindness behind the message does and it creates for us a meeting place that I have come to deeply value.

I still pray. I believe I’m joining my heart with others to plead for healing, to ask for mercy, to add my voice of hope for peace for those who grieve. Some days I imagine I’m talking to God. Some days I think Jesus is listening. Most days I’m simply gathering up love from others and passing it along, envisioning it as the energy that flows through all of life.

I remain uncertain about many things and I’m okay with that. Uncertainty feels like truth these days. I also remain open to the mystery of grace falling unannounced. What I do know is this: Love is alive and well and flourishing in the world, no matter what name we give it. For me, right now, that is a firm enough place to stand.

Rebecca Gummere is a writer living in New Mexico where she is working on a memoir, “Chasing Light,” about her 2016-2017 solo cross-country spiritual journey. Her essays have appeared in The Daily Beast, O, The Oprah Magazine, and other publications. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @rgummere. Read about her upcoming adventures at

Maradona received inadequate care, left to fate: Medical report

By SportNo Comments

Football legend’s medical team acted in an ‘inappropriate, deficient and reckless manner’, an expert medical panel says.

Football icon Diego Maradona received inadequate medical care and was left to his fate for a “prolonged, agonising period” before his death last year, an expert medical panel has concluded.

The 60-year-old Argentinian succumbed to a heart attack on November 25, just weeks after undergoing brain surgery on a blood clot. His passing prompted a period of national mourning in Argentina and brought a global outpouring of grief.

Shortly after, Argentina’s public prosecutor convened a panel of 20 experts to examine the cause of death and determine if there had been any negligence. Maradona’s neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov and psychologist Carlos Diaz are under investigation along with two nurses, a nursing coordinator and a medical coordinator.

In a 70-page document, the panel stated on Friday Maradona “started to die at least 12 hours before” the moment he was found dead in his bed. The finding could result in a case of wrongful death, and a prison sentence of up to 15 years if convicted.

“The action of the health team in charge of treating DAM [Diego Armando Maradona] was inadequate, deficient and reckless,” said the medical board report dated April 30 and shared with Reuters news agency by a source close to the investigation.

“He presented unequivocal signs of a prolonged agonising period, so we conclude that the patient was not properly monitored from 00:30 on 11/25/2020,” the report added.

However, he appeared in poor health then and had trouble speaking. Maradona had battled cocaine and alcohol addictions during his life. He was suffering from liver, kidney and cardiovascular disorders when he died.

Two of the football great’s daughters have blamed Luque for Maradona’s deteriorating health. The panel concluded that Maradona “would have had a better chance of survival” with adequate treatment in an appropriate medical facility.

He died in his bed in a rented house in an exclusive Buenos Aires neighbourhood, where he was receiving home care. Maradona did not have “full use of his mental faculties” and should not have been left to decide where he would be treated, the experts said.

They also found that his treatment was rife with “deficiencies and irregularities” and the medical team had left his survival “to fate”.

Maradona is an idol to millions of Argentinians after he inspired the country to only its second World Cup triumph in 1986.

An attacking midfielder who spent two years with Spanish giants Barcelona, he is also loved in Naples where he helped Napoli win the only two Serie A titles in the club’s history.