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Beware the Do-Gooders in Body Armor: The True Motives of those in Support of Divestment in Sudan

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Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaah,

In the past few weeks, all I have been hearing, especially here on-campus at MIT is, “Genocide in Sudan”… “Divest in Sudan”… “Stop Genocide!”… “Save Darfur” … ad infinitum. Those of us familiar with the conflict in Sudan know that it is primarily a Muslim-Muslim conflict. As such, as a Muslim, it hurts and pains me incredibly to see any of my brothers and sisters suffering, and I would do whatever I can to help my brothers and sisters, as my deen would have me do.

However, recently, perhaps in the last year, we perhaps have all heard about the “Sudan divestment campaign.” (Divestment is the opposite of investment… i.e. those who want to divest in Sudan want to pull out all their funds related to any company in Sudan.) Now, being familiar with the suffering that the sanctions on Iraq caused to the Iraqi people, I was more than skeptical and distrusting of the call for divestment in Sudan as a means to somehow ‘stop genocide.’ Perhaps what made me even more suspicious was the fact almost the entirety of the pro-divestment campaign is also neo-con and pro-Israel. Why would these people care whatsoever about the situation of our Muslim brethren? Pure natural human concern? If that is truly the case, then why do they single out Sudan, when there are many many other nations (e.g. Iraq… the situation of which was CAUSED by the agendas of these neo-cons) which are going through much more severe humanitarian crises? Why do they care? What are they up to? I think any Muslim who is using his or her brain should be more than suspicious that there are ulterior motives involved. What really worries me is when I see Muslims flocking to politically charged campaigns such as the “Save Darfur” campaign. I am not talking about wonderful Mulsim organizations such as Islamic Relief which are providing humanitarian support to our brothers and sisters there… I am talking about Muslim organizations who, out of some sort of fetish to please their Western masters, are actually supporting political campaigns, such as the divestment campaign, which would very much like to see the US meddle with the affairs of our Ummah. I think the examples of Iraq and Afghanistan are enough for us to know what happens when we allow the kuffar to meddle in our affairs (or “help us”… as some ignorantly claim). Anyways, without rambling further, I will post an article (below) which explains the true motives of those who are pro-divestment in Sudan. The title of this post is taken from the article. May Allah help our brothers and sisters who are suffering, and may He grant us the wisdom to realize that we are never to turn to kuffar as awliya (supports / protectors). Aameen. Below is the article:

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The Strange Campaign to Strangle Sudan
Beware the Do-Gooders in Body Armor

By JOHN V. WALSH

In Massachusetts as in many other states, there is a “movement” to divest pension funds of their holdings in companies doing business in Sudan, principally in Chinese oil companies there. The ostensible objective is to relieve the sufferings of the people of Darfur, whereas the real purpose seems to lie elsewhere. The campaign in Massachusetts has been spearheaded by State Senator Ed Augustus and by U.S. Congressmen James McGovern and Michael Capuano of Massachusetts.

If you are a state worker, State Senator Ed Augustus, backed by Congressmen McGovern and Capuano, wants to meddle with your pension fund investments for a dubious purpose.

Let me explain with a riddle. There is a country that sits on top of huge oil reserves, it is run by a nasty dictator, Israel regards it as an enemy state, it is Muslim, it is said to harbor “terrorists,” and President Bush expresses hostility toward it. In 2002, that country was Iraq; in 2007 that country is Sudan. And there is a move afoot to take action against Sudan ­ but this time it is being led by the Democratic wing of the War Party. Are the American people about to be suckered into another intervention?

But you may say, is there not a “genocide” going on in the Darfur region of Sudan under the auspices of Sudan’s brutal dictator? Interestingly, only President Bush and the U.S. government, label the fighting in Darfur as a “genocide.” The UN and Bishop Desmond Tutu have called it a civil war, which is a very different story. But is there not terrible suffering going on in Darfur? The answer is yes. Perhaps 200,000 have been killed and a million displaced. But this is not the “worst” humanitarian disaster in the world. In fact 650,000 have been killed due to the U.S. war and occupation in Iraq and millions displaced. It is passing strange that President Bush is so concerned about Sudan when he wants to press on in Iraq. And for his part, Congressmen Capuano and McGovern, for all their talk of opposing the war on Iraq refuse to vote to cut off funding as have eight House Democrats and two Republicans in opposition to the war. So why do Bush and Capuano and McGovern not act to curtail the suffering in Iraq by simply leaving?

But you may say, there is real and terrible suffering in Darfur and in fact throughout Sudan. That is undeniably true. And the U.S. should be sending all the humanitarian aid it can to alleviate that suffering. In fact the U.S. could do more. In 2006, there were more deaths from malaria in Sudan and Darfur than from the civil war there. And in large part that is because the only pharmaceutical factory in Sudan, and the one that produced antimalarials at affordable prices was bombed “mistakenly” by the Democrat Bill Clinton in 1998. There has never been an apology by the U.S. for that act which borders on a war crime. And there has never been an offer of restitution. Perhaps Congressmen Capuano and McGovern might introduce a bill to provide funds to rebuild that factory.

Nevertheless there is heart-wrenching suffering in Sudan and Darfur. But here is the awful part. The measure proposed by Senator Augustus will add to that suffering not alleviate it. You see, Augustus is calling for the state pension funds to divest in Sudan, most particularly the Chinese oil companies doing business there. Sudan is already a very, very poor country with much of its population, including the people of Darfur living in poverty. The divestment campaign is designed by its backers to bankrupt Sudan and bring it to its knees, at the same time depriving China, which the neocons perceive as yet another enemy of the U.S., of Sudanese oil. The divestment and sanctions will fall most heavily on the people of the Sudan and because of the trading routes and how they work very heavily on the people of Darfur.

It is also strange that some of the same neocon groups as well as groups associated closely with AIPAC are pushing for this action against Sudan. These are the very groups that pushed us into war with Iraq and advocate war on Iran. For an example, see: www.DivestTerror.org. Is it just a coincidence that this campaign is driving a wedge between African Americans and Arab Americans? Who benefits from that? Finally the U.S. is already involved in neighboring Somalia, using Ethiopian troops as proxies and American Special Forces to oust a Muslim regime that is not to the liking of the administration and the neocons. And here again oil is involved. This is causing awful death and destruction in Somalia in the name of democracy and progress. Is Sudan next?

So one must distinguish between genuine suffering under cruel dictatorships, a terrible reality in Sudan and many other places, and the political uses to which these can be put. We were lied into the war in Iraq partly by the successful way that the neocons played on our good intentions about the benefits of removing an “evil” dictator. Using our good intentions, they led us into a long, cruel and deadly war, which in reality had nothing to do with removing Saddam Hussein. Let us not repeat the same mistake in the Sudan. Yes Congressmen Capuano and McGovern, let us increase humanitarian aid to Darfur. Let us pay reparations for the pharmaceutical plant there. But, Senator Augustus, do not get involved with risky meddling with the hard-earned pensions of the state workers to further increase the suffering in Sudan and Darfur. Hands off the suffering people of Sudan and hands off the state pensions.

John V. Walsh is a long time peace activist and a resident of Cambridge, MA. He can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com.

He urges CounterPunch readers to look back at Conn Hallinan’s excellent piece on the same subject in CP, “The Right’s Stuff in Africa”.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. jinnzaman

    May 17, 2007 at 3:11 PM

    Excellent post.

    They plan and they plan, but Allah is the best of planners.

    May Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) raise up a leader from amongst us who will end this fitnah and unite our Ummah. Ameen.

  2. AnonyMouse

    May 17, 2007 at 5:35 PM

    Great post, masha’Allah – and it definitely shed light on the whole Darfur/ Sudan issue, which has been confusing me somewhat.

  3. inexplicabletimelessness

    May 17, 2007 at 6:38 PM

    as salaamu alaikum,

    JazakAllahu khair. I was also interested in what was going on specifically in Darfur, ever since the recent hype going around the world, and the article makes some really good points.

    Ameen to the du’a.

  4. DrM

    May 17, 2007 at 11:34 PM

    I wonder why there is no “Save the Congo” campaign amongst so many OTHER African hotspots. Could it be because Sudan has OIL and has given the Chinese access to it?

  5. Yusuf Smith

    May 18, 2007 at 5:44 AM

    As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    There was an article in the Guardian the other day mentioning the same point, and comparing it with the silence from the same quarters over the civil war in the Congo.

    Where anti-Arab prejudice and oil makes the difference

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  7. Ron

    May 22, 2007 at 3:38 PM

    I hear anti-Black rants. The Congo has ten times more resources than Sudan. Stop the oil conspiracy theories it is getting old. The US will buy oil it does not need to steal it. Moreover, the Congo has been relatively peaceful with over 20,000 UN peacekeepers on the ground. The eastern part of the Congo experiences some unrest but nothing on the scale of Darfur and South Sudan.

    Real muslims will fight for Darfur and fake ones will continue to embrace Arab supremacy.

    Salam

  8. Amad

    May 22, 2007 at 3:55 PM

    Ron, have you read Kevin Phillips’s book on “American Theocracy”? I recommend you buy it and read it. Kevin Phillips is no conspiracy theorist… For instance, everyone knows that we went into the first Gulf War because of oil. That is a FACT. All I can say is that I can’t vouch for each event’s relationship to oil, but I can tell you that there is always some truth to a matter if there are many and diverse voices proclaiming it, even if it is not 100%.

    Here is more info on the book I mentioned. Click here for book’s website. Read it and if you do, please come back and share your views further.

  9. Ahmad AlFarsi

    May 22, 2007 at 6:56 PM

    Assalaamu alaykum Ron,

    You wrote:

    Real muslims will fight for Darfur and fake ones will continue to embrace Arab supremacy.

    True Muslims will always fight for justice… let’s make that clear. BUT a true Muslim would NEVER seek protection/support (wilaayah) from the kuffar… and any “smart” Muslim would realize that the Divestment campaign would cause more harm than good to those who are suffering.

    Sudan, or any other Muslim problem, is just that… a MUSLIM problem… i.e. an internal Muslim problem. We do not need nor will we ever accept the help of the kuffar. We can handle our problems internally bi idhnillaah.

    And by the way, fighting with the kuffar against any Muslim, is tantamount to kufr… even if the kuffar claim to be fighting for ‘noble causes’… and by now we should be smart enough to know that that is not nor has ever been the case.

    Ron, have you talked to any Sudanese Muslims about what they think? I have, and it is pretty obvious to them as well that they do not in the least want any external sanctions/divestment/soldiers. Can we not take a lesson from history?

    Pleaes keep in mind, Ron, that our stance against divestment has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with “Arab Supremacy” as you called it… it has to do with “leave the kuffar out of it!”

    Wassalaam

  10. Abu Bakr

    May 22, 2007 at 11:19 PM

    Ron, unfortunately you overlooked an important fact: you are not an important contributor to the campaigns of the two Major Parties… but the oil companies are :)

  11. Ron

    May 23, 2007 at 3:42 PM

    We are very much contributors to the two major parties and play our part in civil society. I do not want hear all this old talk about non-muslims helping muslims and motives. Talk is cheap and the bottom line is that you better choose Islam over Arabism. Yes – I know plenty of Sudanese particulary Western Sudanese who have ties to the Greater Western Sudan (i.e., niger, chad, nigeria, and senegal).

    There is no Gd but Allah and submission to Arabism and Arabization will never happen!!! The fight is just now beginning to gain momentum.

    We love our Arabs brothers but we will not tolerate domination from anyone!!!

  12. Ron

    May 23, 2007 at 3:45 PM

    Its so funny that more muslims will be killed because others call into question their “muslimness.” What a pity!!!

  13. Amad

    May 23, 2007 at 4:00 PM

    Br. Ron, I don’t think anyone who responded to you is in fact an Arab… in fact I know that. So, why would we have any Arab superiority qualms or even try to defend such racism?

    Having said that, can we go back to what bothers you specifically about the post?

  14. Ron

    May 23, 2007 at 6:35 PM

    We all know historically speaks muslims have not really worried about what other people think of us as a group because of our diversity and strength. We are own worst enemies if we do not allow criticism and justice to thrive. The Darfur issue has a lot to do with a culture of negationism among our brothers and sisters. For instance, Pakistan still has a strong caste system that does not allow Islam to flourish in the way it does. Do you seriously think that injustice within muslims societies will not be exploited by anti-muslims. Moreover, the tribalism in Nigeria among the Yorubas, Fulanis and Hausas will be used against them to pillage their resources and weaken their economies.

    We as muslims must speak out against injustice. I would look like a hyprocrite if I yelled louder about what is happening in Israel and the Palestian areas versus what is happening in Darfur, South Sudan, Mauritania, and Yemen to people of African descent.

    Black skin of Africans is no longer an excuse to treat them unfairly.

    I know that many of the problems of Africans is self-inflicted but racism in Islam will continue to create more enemies for muslims.

    Salam

  15. Ron

    May 23, 2007 at 6:44 PM

    Divestment is a good strategy to stop the of funding the Sudanese Government’s Arabization policy.

    I remember being in college and giving a lecture between the relationship of Israeli and South African (apartheid) governments. During my research, I found many African and Arab governments had under the table traded with the South African Government, but my fervor in faith would not allow me to acknowledge painful truths. As you mature, the truth becomes more important than holding on to what we wish things to be in life.

    I hope in all humility that Islam will allow that to happen for you brothers.

    Salam

  16. inexplicabletimelessness

    May 29, 2007 at 10:02 PM

  17. SrAnonymous

    June 1, 2007 at 9:32 AM

    In light of Bush’s new divestment campaign, thanks for this article!

  18. Suhail

    June 1, 2007 at 5:23 PM

    Assalaamu Alykum,

    By the way one question?

    When they talk about arab sudanese and black sudanese that gets me confusing. I guess there are no arabs in sudan. The arab sudanese are black who speak arabis while the people from darfur speak native language. Thats what i got the impression.

    Correct me if i am wrong.

    Jazakallah Khair
    Suhail

  19. Abraham

    September 1, 2014 at 4:13 AM

    Musa Hilal, the leader of the janjaweed openly declared that he would “change the demographics of Darfur” to turn it into an Arab province of Sudan as opposed to the black-majority province that it is. He then went on a genocidal campaign to kill or removed the indigenous Darfuris from their land, burning and destroying thousands of villages in the process. This isn’t a ‘civil war’ my friend; you’re dealing with government military forces (fighter jets and helicopters) and armed militias (armed by the Sudanese government) razing down thousands of villages and massacring tens of thousands in the process and displacing millions.

    Sometimes, we Muslims, have to admit that some of our leaders are murderous tyrants. Sometimes, we have to admit that even Genocide can and DOES occur in Muslim-majority countries. This isn’t a conspiracy. The Jews didn’t ask Omar alBashir and the janjaweed to “change the demographics of darfur” in order to have a pretext to divest from Sudan. There’s something sinister going on in Sudan. And if you’re a true Muslim, you’re going to denounce it for what it is and do everything in power to stop it and bring justice to the Darfuris.

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