Making Money Off Genocides in Sudan
By Kimberly Hollingsworth, Founder of Humanity Is Us
It was almost a year ago that I had someone tell me, “I am bored with Sudan…It’s not the money making project that I thought it was going to be, but if you want help – I’ll help, but only if we can work closely together and play together. Just in case I missed his quid pro quo sexual harassment, he tried to kiss me when I left the coffee shop in the middle of the afternoon.
I have neither spoken to him again nor attended another program event sponsored by the educational institution that hired him.
The only thing left for me to say to him is, “I think the Dalai Lama made a mistake when he picked you to mentor many years ago.”
I have learned quite a few things these past almost four years after leaving my corporate job and the personal security it offered – I didn’t think that it was going to take so long to end genocide in my lifetime and to gather support for the enforcement of the International Criminal Court’s issued warrants of arrest against Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide…but there seems to be a strong resistance within the international community of decision makers.
Some things that I have learned –
The 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, tried to hush Mukesh Kapila, head of the UN in Sudan, when Kapila wanted him to do something about the genocide occurring in Darfur. Luckily, Kapila is a bit of a rebel and blew the whistle in 2004.
Save Darfur was the largest U.S. coalition fighting to end genocide; they collected a lot of money on behalf of Darfur, but where did the money go? Did they directly help the IDPs in Sudan? Or, did donations mainly pay for advocacy campaigns and salaries? And, where are they now when there are so many Darfuris still living in refugee camps for over a decade?
During U.S. President Obama’s run for a second term, I was told by several people that Obama instructed George Clooney to stop talking about Sudan, “You’re embarrassing me.” The genocides against the people in the Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan, and against peoples in the Blue Nile state have been ongoing for years…Where’s Clooney now?
If Bill Clinton’s biggest regret was not intervening during the Rwandan Genocide which cost a million lives in 100 days, how is Barack Obama going to sleep at night when his presidential term ends? It will be eight years of having the power to fulfill the promises that he made while a U.S. Senator and later, as U.S. President. Many Sudanese marginalized groups have asked me why Obama is so quiet about Sudan. I have a few ideas, but the lives lost are the lives lost on his watch.
In October 2014, when over 200 women and girls were gang-raped by Sudanese government soldiers in an organized attack in Tabit, a village in North Darfur, UNAMID did what they’ve been doing for years…they manipulated official reports made to the public. Fortunately, previous to the Tabit Mass Rapes, in April 2014, Aicha Elbasri had revealed proof of UNAMID’s relationship with Khartoum and the lies told.
We tried to push for an independent inquiry into UNAMID and DPKO, but the UN Security Council failed us in December 2014, just as Ban Ki-Moon had previously failed Darfur, specifically, the women and girls in Tabit, while busy promoting the United Nations Secretary-General’s campaign, UNiTE to End Violence against Women. Had Ban Ki-Moon permitted an independent inquiry instead of an weak internal investigation into UNAMID last summer, Tabit might have been prevented.
Recently, when the U.S. decided to “normalize relations” with Khartoum, there were signs: invitations to the National Prayer Breakfast and unrestricted visas to members of Bashir’s regime, scheduled meetings with the State Department, lifting of sanctions by the U.S. Treasury Department, and last month’s slap in the face, the Secretary of State John Kerry guffawing directly behind ICC indictee Sudan’s President Bashir in a group photo in Egypt.
Bashir has been praised for his efforts to facilitate the peace talks between South Sudan’s President Salvar Kiir and his former VP, Riek Machar, but everyone in the NGO inner-circle knows that Bashir provided arms to both sides.
Sudan’s Bashir committed the first genocide of the 21st Century, in the situation of Darfur. Bashir uses bullets, bombs, fires, and rape as weapons of war, but they are truly used as weapons of genocide, including the lack of food, water, education, medicine, and security.
Many activists that were focused on ending genocide left the movement to work on other issues such as women’s rights, gender equality, human trafficking, gun control, and protecting unarmed civilians. Sudanese diaspora, refugees and IDPs in the camps have repeatedly asked me the reason why I am one of the few remaining non-Sudanese activists at rallies and still fighting with them to end the suffering in Sudan.
I said, “A lot of these activists were involved for years, but their energy has been depleted. One of the worst things, for an activist, is to feel ineffective. They will be back when they can participate in actions, part of a long-term strategy.”
Instead of focusing on what I can’t do, I focus on actions that empower the Sudanese community. I am working with diaspora on public speaking events and am training groups of people on how to use social media; it’s exciting to use technology to communicate with people living as IDP’s in Sudan.
There’s nothing like being told, “You stupid white woman…you’re wasting your time!” While shocking and ended a friendship for me, I realized that I have to try. There are times that I want to quit or give up…but, I can’t. Simply put, genocide is wrong and we all know it.
Those of us that can, we will keep fighting because it’s the right thing to do. Personally, I call us the “Die-Hards.” People are still dying, women and girls are still being raped, babies are still being thrown into fires, men are being killed and boys are being turned into child soldiers.
Genocide is still happening today and there is something that you can do about it.
Kimberly Hollingsworth is the founder of Humanity Is Us which spreads awareness about crimes committed against mankind and provides reliable resources for the protection of humanity. Causes close to her heart include genocide, violence against men and women, child abuse and human trafficking.
You can also connect with her on Twitter, LinkedIn , Instagram, Twylah & Facebook pages Humanity Is Us and Arrest Bashir For more information, please visit the Humanity Is Us website and their Campaign Arrest Bashir