From Darfur to Nuba: A Transfer of Genocide

This week, Ahmed Harun, Governor of South Kordofan was shown in a video saying that his soldiers should “take no prisoners” in the fighting in the southern part of Sudan. As Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), noted:

‘Take no prisoners’ means a crime against humanity or a war crime, because if the prisoner was a combatant it is a war crime and if the pisoner was a civilian it’s a crime against humanity.

For those who may not know, Ahmed Harun is already wanted for crimes against humanity by the ICC because of his actions as Governor of Darfur where he conducted ethnic cleansing and perpetrated what is widely recognized as genocide against the Darfurian people.

Now ethnic cleansing and genocide are taking place in the Nuba Mountains under Harun’s direction in South Kordofan while the same is threatened in the provinces of Blue Nile, and Abyei. The Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement and Army have for many years been working with the South Sudanese against the government in Khartoum. The people of Nuba, like their Christian friends to the south, would like independence and for that to happen, South Sudan must help.

The ongoing peace negotiations between the governments of Sudan and South Sudan have the potential to force South Sudan to abandon their long time friends in the north and to dramatically worsen the situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. President Obama is said to have asked South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir, to do just that, to distance South Sudan from those fighting against Ahmed Harun’s forces in South Kordofan.

One may assume that the President of the United States is trying to broker a peace that he believes will end the fighting in South Kordofan and ensure the peace between Sudan and South Sudan. He may well believe that this peace would end the fighting in South Kordofan. Yet what are the likely consequences of such a peace for South Kordofan???

Considering the fact that Governor Harun and Sudan’s President Bashir are both wanted by the International Criminal Court for the crime of genocide in Darfur and there is evidence that they are carrying out a very similar plan in the Nuba Mountains, one must question whether or not they are negotiating peace because they would simply like to remove an impediment from their ability to ethnically cleanse the Nuba people and to extend their reign of terror into other provinces as well. If peace comes, South Sudan, the best ally of the Nuba by far, will be unable to help them. We could see an even further deterioration in South Kordofan where women and children are being raped and killed and villages bombed even today. This is not a military conflict. Sudanese troops are massacring civilians there.

If South Sudan cannot help, someone else must. A no fly zone must be implemented and an international force must be ready to step in to prevent genocide otherwise the Nuba people will be left alone to face Harun and his murderous reign.This is not a matter of fighting for independence, it is a struggle for life. We cannot stand idly by.

About the Author
Rabbi David Kaufman is the Rabbi of Temple B'nai Jeshurun in Des Moines, Iowa, a congregation affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism. He is also the President and Co-Founder of We Are For Israel, the home of "Centrist Advocates for Realistic Peace" and created the news site about the crisis in the Nuba Mountains, Rabbi Kaufman maintains an informational blog on which he posts sermons and other materials related to Jewish practice and belief at