World Politics Review runs a translation of Swiss journalist Kurt Pelda's report on covering the conflict in Darfur. It is a behind-the-scenes sort of article which gives an interesting flavor of the place, a welcome respite from the sort of coverage one sees elsewhere. Many of the asides are most enlightening. His local assistant Adam, who foremrly worked in Libya, is the source of much insight:
"As far as the Libyans were concerned, all blacks were slaves. That's what they called us. When other Sudanese said, 'But they are Arabs'," the Libyans laughed at them. 'If you blacks are Arabs,' they said, 'then what are we? Angels perhaps?'" In 1995, Adam went to the Sudanese embassy in Tripoli to have his passport renewed. He was asked to which tribe he belonged and when he said, the embassy officials seized his passport: "Luckily, I had friends in the Chadian embassy. They gave me a Chadian passport." As a result, Adam is nowadays a Chadian citizen. Nonetheless, he speaks about Chadians as if they were foreigners. Adam adds that discrimination against blacks by the Sudanese who consider themselves Arabs was not anything new in 1995. On his account, already as a youngster in the early 1980s he was confronted by discrimination and condescension on the part of "Arabs." Adam is not the only one who says so. Many people in southern Sudan and in Darfur have told me similar stories. The racism is a reality.
Hat tip: John Rosenthal