Shattered Sudan | Drilling for Oil, Hoping for Peace, National Geographic: Dinka Slave House | Freed Dinka Slave Girl |Northern Sudan

Dinka Slave House | Freed Dinka Slave Girl |Northern Sudan

NGOS has improved stability in the country and cracked down on terrorists.  In this process they have mounted an international charm offensive where they claim to be liberating slaves from the Murahaleen in the west.  But the truth is their progress with human rights is just for show.

This is a halfway house for former slaves abducted from Dinka lands in the south by Arab nomad militia.  As slaves, they were taken to Darfur and Cordofan.  These militia operate autonomously from the government… they run resupply missions to southern garrison towns and take slaves on the way back as pay.

From my journal:

I meet Helen, a member of parliament who has adopted war orphans and photograph at her house… the straw of the outhouse wall is interlaced with all the toothbrushes.  She tells me that some members of parliament are illiterate.

A NYT columnist flies in and I have several meals with him at the hotel.  He finds some of the holding houses for slaves liberated by Khartoum as part of their international charm offensive… so I end up making photographs of them in their houses…

I find out the government propaganda machine is buying 10 pages in Newsweek and spending a million dollars for 10 pages so they can reach 5.8 million readers.

This place has been so difficult to work… but what I’ve gone thru is only significant in that people who are trying to bring food, clean water, education are going thru the same harangue—I still can’t believe people in parliament can’t read or write in any language and are deciding the fate of this country.

My picture editor calls and wonders “if I’m not too tired (I’ve only spent 2 months in the dust) and only if “I have enough energy to continue” If I would consider going to Nairobi and find the rebels and start dealing with the part of the trip I was planning to do in the fall.  I tell him I’ll think about it.  I’m out of film, malaria tabs, coffee, money, shampoo, toothpaste, cipro, batteries, Ambien etc.

I’ve already shipped some stuff back home including water filters, ponchos etc. Because I’ve finally allowed my mind to wander home

I call Paul, he’s just gotten out of the south and the night before he was evacuated from a rebel camp and it was heavily bombed 3 hours later.  He’s the one pushing to hurry up on this story.  Because he will disappear onto his phone less mountaintop and he doesn’t want to rewrite if there are major changes in this country.

I am physically and emotionally exhausted and now they expect me to go into an active war zone… 

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