Sudan’s Forgotten War
After years of war in Sudan, Bernard-Henri Lévy asks Yasir Arman, secretary-general of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement, what the world can do to stop the violence.
A dozen years ago, Jean-Marie Colombani and Edwy Plenel at the French daily Le Monde, along with The New York Times, asked me to do a series of reports on the “forgotten wars” of the first years of the new century.
Yasir Arman, secretary-general of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement, filled me in when he was in Paris recently.
A handsome and impressive man of about 50, Arman has the face of a thinker, reminding me of John Garang, the guerrilla leader with whom Gilles Hertzog and I spent an afternoon in Boma discussing Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, the Peloponnesian War, and his dream of a secular, democratic, and unified Sudan.
Yes, Arman began, Abdel Aziz Adam al-Halu, who had hosted Herzog and me, is alive, and he’s still the military chief in the Nuba Mountains.
No, the little commander in Kawdah who had wept upon recognizing his father, a legendary Nuba immortalized in Leni Riefenstahl’s book, which we had brought with us—the little commander is no longer with us, having died last year when his village was bombed.
The pace of the bombings? Their severity? It all depends. Nothing for weeks, as the blockade and famine bring the men down into the plains, where they are rounded up into camps and sorted, just as they had been 12 years ago, for the slave dealers of Khartoum. And then entire weeks when the planes come every day, 20 bombs a day, flying low, knowing that they face only small, reclaimed guns. Read More