I was only nine years old when an Arab neighbor named Abdullahi tricked me into following him to a boat. The boat wound up in Northern Sudan where he gave me as a gift to his family. For three and a half years I was their slave going through something that no child should ever go through: brutal beatings and humiliations; working around the clock; sleeping on the ground with animals; eating the familyâ€™s left-overs. During those three years I was unable to say the word "no." All I could say was “yes,” “yes,” “yes.”
The United Nations knew about the enslavement of South Sudanese by the Arabs. Their own staff reported it. It took UNICEF – under pressure from the Jewish –led American Anti-Slavery Group — sixteen years to acknowledge what was happening. I want to publicly thank my friend Dr. Charles Jacobs for leading the anti-slavery fight.
Picked off the page of Charles Jacobs' anti-slavery organization's web, the above provides a quick background for Simon Deng's comments at Durban.
CNN Wire Staff. "Sudan and South Sudan may slide back to war, world powers warn." CNN U.S., March 28, 2012: http://articles.cnn.com/2012-03-28/africa/world_africa_sudan-violence_1_south-sudan-southern-kordofan-south-kordofan?_s=PM:AFRICA
Doyle, Jim. "Stunning photographs show the horror of genocide in Darfur: former U.S. monitor is touring Bay Area to appeal for action." SFGate, San Francisco Chronicle, March 9, 2006: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/03/09/BAGSVHL5KG1.DTL&ao=all
Steidle, Brian. "Darfur witnessed." USA Today, 2007: http://www.usatoday.com/news/graphics/darfur/flash.htm
Lynfield, Ben. "Clock ticking as ex-slave pleads with Israel not to deport 700 South Sudanese -- MidEastYouth.com". Pachodo.org, March 27, 2012: http://pachodo.org/latest-news-articles/news-from-various-sources/3061-clock-ticking-as-ex-slave-pleads-with-israel-not-to-deport-700-south-sudanese-mideastyouth-com
"Israel announced in January that South Sudanese would no longer be allowed to stay now that they have their own country and offered to pay one thousand Euros for each person willing to leave voluntarily by March 31. To Mr. Deng, 53, that move was surprising in light of South Sudan’s having demonstrated its friendship for Israel, including by announcing it would establish an embassy in Jerusalem."
Ravid, Barak. "Israeli foreign ministry recommends postponing deportation of South sudanese." Haaretz, March 29, 2012: http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israeli-foreign-ministry-recommends-postponing-deportation-of-south-sudanese-1.421570
"On April 1, collective protection for south Sudan nationals is set to expire; Jerusalem District Court also issues an injunction forbidding any deportation of South Sudanese nationals before April 15."
" . . . A senior Foreign Ministry official said that the recommendation to extend the collective protection for the South Sudanese for another six month is due to the fact that the conditions for their return haven’t yet matured – not on the part of Israel and not on the part of South Sudan."
Even the most cursory comparison of Ben Lynfield's post with Barak Ravid's in the liberal Israeli news sheet Haaretz spells why one-source reading doesn't hack it on the Internet.
Even in the short post where I had started out to highlight Simon Deng's statement at Durban, plain rapid surface research leads not to a confused story but practically a news programming contest with debunk, deflect, overlook, and indict playing a role on one side and "clear, accurate, and complete" sustained on the other.
Thank God Haaretz chooses to tell completely and plainly its fragment of the overall story.
Kushkush, Isma'il. "Sudan says Military Evicts South's Army from Oil Area." The New York Times, April 20, 2012: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/21/world/africa/sudan-says-military-evicts-souths-army-from-oil-area.html?_r=1&ref=unitednations
At the moment, without online data on the fate of the 700 Sudanese refugees hosted by Israel, I hesitate to guess but would gamble a little that deportation would have shown up on the web in the Christian special interest news while extension of "collective protection" would have less suited the successionary impulse in the same editors.
This and similar issues bring up a question I haven't found either a right time or right way of asking: what would be not right, individually or en masse, in any volunteered request for conversion to Judaism?
The question must loom somewhere in monotheist minds.
There are many good things in life to which we not only bring ourselves but block out the static of voices critical, fearful, or even jealous in regard to what we have resolved to undertake. All things being equal, with there being "no compulsion in religion", this one path in faith seems ever off the table when, in fact, it is never off the table for anyone who would wish to bring themselves to it.
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