The Khartoum regime, Talisman Energy’s business partner, again picks up the pace of its savagely brutal aerial assault on civilians and humanitarian relief. Flying on Talisman-generated fuel, Khartoum’s bombers today attacked Narus in Eastern Equatoria, destroying a medical facility, wounding a number of children, killing yet another innocent civilian
Eric Reeves [September 18, 2000]
Smith College firstname.lastname@example.org
Northampton, MA 01063
Khartoum’s continuing atrocities risk numbing the moral imagination, they have become so frequent. Brutally indiscriminate, these aerial assaults have taken on a terrible familiarity in their utter disregard for human life and innocence. And the world seems to respond as if in a moral coma.
But each of these new bombing attacks on civilian and humanitarian relief targets takes new lives. Each destroys more of what precious little there is in southern Sudan that provides medical aid and comfort to the suffering population. The Khartoum regime is the only “government” in the world that can regularly bomb its own people—in schools, hospitals, relief centers—and escape vigorous censure.
Indeed, incredibly, Khartoum is set to take its place on the UN Security Council. In turn, the most important governing body of the UN risks being defined, and deeply compromised, by this grotesque decision.
This would seem to be just fine with Canada’s Talisman Energy, which continues to provide the key economic aid that Khartoum needs to keep its military effort going. Talisman also supplies the oil that is refined at El Obeid (adjacent to the government’s major forward military air base). This is the source of the aviation fuel for the deadly Antonov bombers that continue to rain down terror on southern civilians and humanitarian relief efforts.
This is an outrage, an obscenity, a disgrace to Canada and all who acquiesce in Talisman’s continued presence in Sudan.
Just what occurred today at Narus? An attack almost identical to that on Ikotos (also in Eastern Equatoria) several days ago: Reuters reports that a dozen bombs fell on a Catholic mission in Narus, destroying a medical dispensary and injuring six people: five children and a nurse. One person, Alesio Okurmoi, was killed. The source of the Reuters report was a Roman Catholic missionary news agency (Reuters wire report attached).
In Ikotos, 16 bombs fell on September 14, 2000, seriously wounding two people, and burning or destroying 75 tukuls (huts). Jervasio Okot of the Social Communications Office, Diocese of Torit, chronicled the terrible destruction at Ikotos and noted the deliberate intention to intimidate people seeking to harvest crops. (Ikotos is also site of humanitarian relief work by Norwegian Church Aid.)
Repeated bombings of civilians and civilian life; repeated, deliberate targeting of humanitarian relief efforts; and with nothing but largely ignorable protests from the rest of the world—and a waiting UN Security Council seat for the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity.
Does anyone imagine that these innocent lives, cruelly and deliberately destroyed by Khartoum, have not suffered from a terrible moral discounting because they are African lives?
Talisman Energy certainly depends on such discounting for the continued viability of its presence in Sudan. But what of the owners of Talisman shares? Do they share this callous indifference? For make no mistake about it: if you own Talisman shares, you own part of a company that is deeply complicit in all of this savagery. There is no “constructive engagement” in such circumstances: both Talisman management and their partners in Khartoum have made a mockery of the very notion.
If after two years in Sudan Talisman has been unable to stop even the deliberate bombing of hospitals and medical facilities, who can possibly justify further trial of the proposition that somehow Talisman’s presence is a force for good? Their business partners in Khartoum are indifferent to anything but that which contributes to their own ruthless survival.
Relentlessly, viciously, with unspeakable cruelty, oil development continues tearing apart the lives and livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people of southern Sudan. Human beings, whose greatest misfortune is to be African and beyond the reach of television cameras, are cast aside by the relentless drive for oil profits.
It is a moment of terrible infamy in the new century—a moment that will shame us all for years to come
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News Article by REUTERS posted on September 18,
2000 at 12:17:50: EST (-5 GMT)
Sudan govt plane bombs Catholic
ROME (Reuters) – A Sudanese government plane dropped a dozen bombs on a Catholic mission in southern Sudan on Monday, destroying a medical dispensary and injuring six people, a Roman Catholic missionary news agency said.
The MISNA agency said a government Antonov plane dropped 12
bombs at 9:45 a.m. (O745 GMT) on the Catholic mission at Narus.
The injured included a nurse and children, MISNA said.
Last month, the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) accused the
Sudanese government of deliberately bombing relief facilities
in the rebel-held south.
The U.S. State Department has also condemned Sudanese air attacks on civilian targets in the south, the base of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).
U.N. relief flights to the south were suspended last week after government planes dropped 18 bombs on the town of Mapei,
a base used by the humanitarian operations in the rebel-controlled area.
U.N. flights resumed last Wednesday after the government
gave assurances about the safety of U.N. staff and aircraft.