Frontline World

Sudan - The Quick and the Terrible, January 2005

Related Features THE STORY
Synopsis of "The Quick and the Terrible"

The Geopolitics of Tragedy

Witness to a Crisis

Land and People, History and Government, Effects of War, Economy and Oil

Background, News, Humanitarian Response, Defining Genocide




Links and Resources

• General Background
• Journalists Cover Sudan
• Crisis or Genocide?
• Who's Who
• Human Rights and Humanitarian Response
• Oil
• Media Resources

General Background

Country Profile: Sudan
Sudan, the largest country in Africa, boasts large stretches of fertile land and large reserves of gold and oil. But nearly 50 years of civil war between Muslims in the north and Animists and Christians in the south have hampered prosperity. This comprehensive overview of Sudan, produced by the BBC, includes the country's demographics, information on power struggles within its government and the status of press freedom in the country.

CIA World Factbook: Sudan
Sudan is bordered by nine countries, 40 percent of its population is illiterate, political parties must be approved by its ruling government and more than 40 percent of its exports -- mostly oil and petroleum products -- go to China. This information and much more can be found in the CIA World Factbook, which compiles and regularly updates data on Sudan's geography, government, economy, communications, transportation systems and military.

Conflict History: Sudan
This synopsis of Sudan's recent history, produced by the International Crisis Group, chronicles nearly 50 years of civil war, beginning just after the country gained independence from Britain in the 1950s. The synopsis includes the battles over access to oil in the 1970s, the rise of Islamic sharia law in the 1980s, the harboring of Osama bin Laden in the 1990s and the armed revolt of rebels in Darfur in 2003.

Timeline: Sudan
This BBC chronology covers key events in the past half-century of Sudan's history, from the 1958 military coup to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's September 2004 use of the word "genocide" in reference to Sudan.

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Journalists Cover Sudan

PRI's The World: Sudan
FRONTLINE/World reporter Amy Costello's three-part radio series on Sudan first aired on PRI's The World in June 2004. She reported from a refugee camp in Chad -- where men are "conspicuously absent," people share watering holes with livestock and the influx of Sudanese has turned the local economy upside down.

"Understanding Sudan"
NOW With Bill Moyers provides a comprehensive background file on the violence in Sudan, including links and salient commentary from Human Rights Watch, the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times.

"Crisis Continues for Sudan's African Refugees"
This NPR report, broadcast in August 2004, features a discussion between Scott Simon and Samantha Power, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Problem From Hell: America in the Age of Genocide. Power describes what she saw while in Chad and Sudan just a few weeks earlier.

"Reporting on Genocide in Sudan's Darfur Region"
NPR's Noah Adams interviews Samantha Power about the challenges of reporting from Darfur, including how she learned to identify Janjaweed by their Kalashnikov assault rifles, camels and flip-flops.

"Dying in Darfur"
Samantha Power's seminal and comprehensive New Yorker article, published in August 2004, covers the recent history of the U.S. government's relationship with Sudan. The article includes interviews with a Janjaweed leader, Sudanese government officials and victims of the violence, and it features on-the-ground reporting from the sites of massacres deep inside Darfur.

"Tragedy in Darfur: On Understanding and Ending the Horror"
This article by Alex de Waal, an expert on Sudan, explains the ethnic complexities of Darfur and how politics and religion in Khartoum fueled the crisis.

"Darfur Misery Has Complex Roots"
More than 200,000 non-Arabs have fled Darfur for Chad, where they still face a struggle to survive, living in makeshift camps in searing desert heat.

"Sudan: A Nation Divided"
In-depth coverage from the BBC includes eyewitness accounts of attacks on refugee camps; an interview with Musa Hilal, the suspected leader of the Janjaweed; and analysis of the relationship between the Sudanese government and militia fighters.

"Abandoned by bin Laden: Race Horse Left Behind When Chief Was Expelled From Sudan"
For five years in the 1990s, Osama bin Laden lived the high life in Sudan -- until the U.S. government pressured the Sudanese government to expel him in 1996. A Washington Post reporter catches up with Swift Like the Wind, a now-elderly racehorse that bin Laden left behind.

"Crisis in Sudan"
Online NewsHour's special Sudan section offers a comprehensive overview of the origins of the violence in Darfur, including a streaming video report on conditions in refugee camps and detailed information on the history of ethnic conflict between black African Muslims and the Arab Janjaweed. It also features up-to-date information on the world's response.

"Lost Boys of Sudan"
P.O.V.'s award-winning documentary tells the story of a group of Sudanese orphans admitted to the United States as refugees from the violence in Sudan. The site includes updates on where several of the young men are now.

"A New Life for a 'Lost Boy' of Sudan"
On NPR's Weekend Edition, Scott Simon talks with Alephonsion Deng, a Sudanese refugee who spent nine years in a Kenyan refugee camp of 86,000 before he came to the United States and started a new life.

"In Pictures: Fighting for Sudan"
This BBC slideshow includes photographs of the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA), a rebel group primarily composed of black Africans, as well as of Janjaweed fighters on horseback.

"Q&A: Sudan's Darfur Conflict"
The BBC offers answers to pressing questions about the violence in Darfur, such as how the conflict started, what the government is doing and what has happened to civilians.

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Crisis or Genocide?

Does the violence in Sudan qualify as full-fledged genocide or is it just an exceedingly violent crisis? Semantics play a key role in international response to war and mass murder all over the world. Knowing how the violence is described and by whom is critical to understanding how the world reacts -- or doesn't.

The History and Definition of the Word "Genocide"
Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-born advisor to the U.S. War Ministry, created the word "genocide" in 1944 because he found the term "mass murder" inadequate to describe the Holocaust. FRONTLINE's Web site distinguishes between the terms "war crime," "crime against humanity" and "genocide" and details how the theory of genocide evolved and was incorporated into international law. The site also provides the definition of genocide that the United Nations set forth in 1948.

Roots of Genocide
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum includes a timeline depicting the rise of genocide the concept and genocide the word as well as a short biography of Raphael Lemkin, who derived the concept and created the word to define it.

What Is Genocide?
Prevent Genocide International shares social scientists' and historians' definitions of genocide -- which differ from the definition in international law -- and translates the word into 80 languages.

A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide
Samantha Power's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, published in January 2002, goes deep below the surface to explain the reactions of American policy makers faced with ethnic slaughter in other countries. The book covers the origin of the word "genocide" and includes chapters on genocide in Cambodia, Iraq, Bosnia, Rwanda, Srebrenica and Kosovo.

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Who's Who

Sudanese Liberation Army
The Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) attacked military installations in Darfur in April 2003. The Sudanese Liberation Army's Political Declaration -- a document that outlines the opposition group's objective of creating a democratic Sudan and details its position on human rights, religion and armed struggled -- is available through the Darfur Information Center. (Navigate to the left sidebar.)

Justice and Equality Movement
An English translation of the immensely popular treatise The Black Book: The Imbalance of Power and Wealth in Sudan is available through the official Web site of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The 2000 publication points to an imbalance in Sudan's government, where most power is in the hands of Arabs. As soon as it was published, copies mysteriously arrived at mosques and even landed on the desks of government officials in the Presidential Palace. (Navigate to the Documents section.)

Sudan People's Liberation Army
The official web site of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), the rebel group that has led insurrections in southern regions of Sudan since 1983. The site includes a history of the organization.

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Human Rights and Humanitarian Response

United Nations High Commission for Refugees
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees supports Sudanese refugees from Darfur in Chad and in West Darfur.

African Union
Although the organization is only two years old, the African Union has taken the lead with a peacekeeping mission in Sudan.

International Crisis Group
The International Crisis Group (ICG) is a nonprofit multinational organization that uses field-based analysis to inform policy and to advocate for the end of deadly conflicts. Since early in the Darfur crisis, the ICG has advocated for intervention by the international community.

Sudan: The Passion of the Present
This worldwide all-volunteer web initiative is designed to help individuals become activists in fighting the violence in Sudan. Passion of the Present includes news and links, as well as downloadable songs, posters and cartoons.

"Changing the Logic of War in Sudan"
On NPR's Fresh Air, Terry Gross talks with John Prendergast, co-director of the ICG's Africa program, former advisor to the Clinton administration and author of several books on Sudan's civil war.

Doctors Without Borders
Sudan's mortality rate for children is double that of emergency thresholds. A recent study of displaced people in one area of Sudan showed that 60 percent of the deaths of children over the age of 5 were caused by violence. The remaining 40 percent resulted from hunger, diarrhea and malaria. Doctors Without Borders operates a food distribution program and provides water and sanitation services to victims of violence in Sudan.

"Doctors Without Borders in Sudan"
Listen to Fresh Air's discussion with Dr. Rowan Gillies, the international president of Doctors Without Borders. Dr. Gillies returned from Sudan in August 2004, and he talks about maintaining political neutrality while in Sudan and about the dangers of humanitarian work in war zones.

Save Darfur Coalition
Together with secular humanitarian and human rights organizations, the Save Darfur Coalition counts Armenian Christians, Bahaists, Baptists, Buddhists, Catholics, Episcopalians, Hindus, Jews, Lutherans, Masalit Muslims and Unitarians as members.

International Rescue Committee
A world leader in relief services, the International Rescue Committee assists an estimated 20 percent of the Sudanese refugees in Chad. The organization focuses on emergency health needs -- including war-related injuries -- and sanitation.

Amnesty International
This site features video testimonies of survivors of Janjaweed attacks and dramatically memorializes thousands of people who have died in Darfur in a presentation titled "The Victims of Darfur Are Not Nameless."

Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch has documented in detail how the Sudanese government has armed and trained the Janjaweed militia, and it has recorded atrocities and made concrete recommendations to the Sudanese government, the SLA, the JEM, the Chadian government, the African Union and the United Nations. Human Right Watch's Web-based multimedia presentations also include footage of mass graves, unburied bodies and unexploded bombs.

Video: Darfur Destroyed
Human Rights Watch produced this video during a fact-finding mission to Darfur in July and August 2004. The video includes footage of bombed-out villages in northern Darfur and firsthand accounts of Janjaweed attacks (contains graphic images).

Darfur Genocide Web Site
Online petitions and "do-it-yourself" Darfur activist kits are available through this site, which also includes a counter for the number of people killed in Darfur.

Crimes of War Project: War in Africa
The article "The Darfur Conflict: Crimes Against Humanity in Sudan" offers a historical explanation of the ethnic conflict in Sudan, a detailed account of how the violence snowballed in the spring of 2003 and the effect of the conflict on regional politics.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Jews in America have rallied around the cause of peace in Sudan. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has issued a genocide emergency alert, and the atrocities in Darfur figure prominently on the museum's Web site.

Samaritan's Purse
Samaritan's Purse, a Christian charity organization, has provided aid in Sudan since 1993.

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Sudan Oil and Conflict Timeline
This detailed timeline covers the evolution of oil production and conflict in Sudan: Exploration for oil in the Red Sea began in the early 1960s, and Chevron and Shell were drilling in the region a decade later. Expatriate Chevron workers were kidnapped and killed in the 1980s, and Chevron eventually abandoned its concessions in Sudan. The timeline winds up in 1999, the year the government of Sudan banned all relief flights to people living around the country's oil fields.

Maps: Oil and Human Rights in Sudan
This series of maps shows where international companies have petroleum holdings in Sudan, the path of the pipeline that runs from southern Sudan to the port on the Red Sea, and the location of government and opposition bases with respect to major oil fields.

U.S. Energy Information Administration Country Analysis: Sudan
Sudan completed the construction of a major oil pipeline in 1999, and its estimated oil reserves have doubled since 2001. The United States has imposed economic sanctions against Sudan, prohibiting U.S. businesses from investing there. This report provides minute details on Sudan's oil resources.

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Media Resources

Darfur Information Center
The Darfur Information Center posts links to articles, sites and portals related to Sudan.

Integrated Regional Information Networks
The Integrated Regional Information Networks, a news portal of the United Nations, published a Web special on Darfur in May 2004. The site includes features on refugees from Darfur who escaped to Chad, a special report on education for women in southern Sudan and links to the latest reports on the crisis in Sudan.

The Khartoum Monitor
Sudan's leading English-language independent daily.

Yahoo! News - Sudan
Breaking news from the Sudan section of Yahoo! News.

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