In this article I am replying to Mohamed Hassan Haroun’s response of 28 August 2005 to my statement of 21 August 2005 about Minni’s unilateral request to the AU and UN to postpone the Sudanese Talks on Darfur in Abuja. As I am not demonstrating any mastery of Arabic keyboard, I authorize any honest person with a standard command of both English and Arabic to honestly translate this piece into Arabic so that our Arabic audiences can also read it.
Until this morning, the morning of 29 August 2005, I considered Mr. Mohamed Hassan Haroun as a friend. He is also president of Darfur Association of Canada whose I am a member. Although we spent most of yesterday (28 August 2005) in a gathering, Mr. Haroun mentioned nothing to me about posting his response to my statement which he mistakenly calls article. Further, we were colleagues for the last two years, when I was president and he was vice president of the same association (Darfur Association of Canada). I voted for him and personally congratulated myself before congratulating him when I realized that he was going to lead Darfur Association of Canada, because I thought he was among the few qualified Darfurian-Sudanese-Canadians who could successfully lead our community. I was a loyal constituent of his until yesterday and really liked him as a thoughtful person. However, Mr. Mohamed Hassan Haroun distanced himself from me twice.
First, he distanced himself from me by referring to me just as the “author” in several paragraphs of his article. By such type of reference Mr. Haroun pushed me away from himself and put a big barrier between us. Second, I found it ridiculous that Mr. Haroun and I spent together almost all of the yesterday (28 August 2005) in a park under the same tree discussing different problems about Sudan and about Darfur but he did not mention by any means that he wrote something about me and posted it on www.sudaneseonline.com. However, Mr. Haroun was among the few individuals to whom I e-mailed a copy of my statement before I sent it for posting on 21 August 2005. He was among the colleagues and friends whom I often consult before making decisions about issues that concern our people. But Mr. Haroun never responded to my statement by any means. Instead he followed the policy of the avoidance of direct debate and stabbing from behind which is similar to behavior of Minni’s faction within SML/A (check my statement of 21 August on www.sudaneseonline.com). You have to learn that that is a wrong way of doing things and that most of the people will never accept you lead them. I am wondering how such individuals are behaving when they are in the bush with guns in their hands, and how can they lead Sudan with its diversities when they believe that the truth is always in their side? Do you revolt against NIF’s autocratic state only to bring another autocratic state in the name of SLM/A? My strong conviction is that the destruction that has happened in Eastern Sudan, Darfur, Nuba Mountains, Southern Blue Nile and Southern Sudan was because the population of these regions stood up for justice, equality, freedom, decentralization and democracy, and if SLM/A members are not able to internalize these concepts and behave accordingly Sudan will stand up and revolt against them even before they approach the power.
Mr. Haroun and others who are concerned about the order and structure in SLM/A should understand that many individuals from Berti, Dajo, Fur, Jawama’a, Massaleet, Midaub, Rizeigat, Ta’aisha, Tunjur and others, all agreed on transitional structure (haikala) either be immediately announced or given birth by a meeting in al-Kufra on 5 August 2005, but Minni’s wing which included three non-Zaghawa (one Dajo, one Fur and possibly two Birguid) refused the idea and insisted on the meeting in al-maidan. However, you should know that there are at least ten maidans and Minni’s is one of them. Could you estimate what percentage does Minni’s maidan make out of these maidans? Is Minni’s faction not a tiny faction compared to all these fronts? I am not underestimating his faction or disrespecting it, but they reduced themselves to a tinny faction with their disrespect of other Darfurians’ opinion, their inconsideration to other Darfurians’ contribution and their reference to them as illegitimate representatives of victimized Darfurians and other marginalized population of the country by arrogantly arguing that military leaders are the legitimate defenders of the aforementioned categories of Sudanese population.
I am not refusing the idea of al-mutamar (conference), but I am against the way it was announced. It is announced against the will of the representatives of Darfur’s rainbow. Minni and his faction did it as a challenge to individuals representing all the abovementioned groups. I am also against the place because it is practically difficult to unite people representing all these groups in one place in the so-called al-maidan. Why did not you ask them, Mr. Haroun, to tell you what maidan they mean? Why do not you refer to individuals from Miduab, Massaleet or Rizeigat, for example, to tell you if there is al-maidan or if commanders of their areas agree with idea or if they sat down and discussed idea with Jumma’a Haggar whom Minni used as a reason of shifting the place and time of the meeting? Why do not you ask Minni since there is al-maidan with one leadership and one command why does not he visit librated areas in Dar Massaleet, Dar Umu, Dar Dera, Dar Midaub, Dar Rizeigat, Dar Nurgna, etc.?
Most of the representatives of Darfur rainbow insisted in immediate formation of transitional structure in July 2005 either in Abuja or in Tripoli but when Minnists refused and the representatives agreed on holding the meeting in Kura in the first week of August 2005 but Minnists insist in al-maidan although the representatives were authorized by leaders from all maidans of Darfur. Another question you should answer do not you find it ridiculous that general secretariat calls for meetings, postpones talks, dismisses president, appoints individuals, shifts places and dates of meetings, intervenes in both civil and military activities, etc.? General secretariat of what is that whose power is above everybody else’s power in the movement? It is an odd office in an armed movement and its presence disturbs the harmony within the movement, but if SLM/A wants to keep this strange office in its body, it should draw clear limits to it. Its activities should be the coordination between different offices of SLM/A and not complicating decision-makings.
I am also against the way Minni has wrongly utilized outsiders’ names (most of who visited the region) to sell his idea of al-maidan meeting to Darfurians. The media aura that the general secretariat made is very strange and it clearly puts the idea of meeting in al-maidan into question. Minni and his supporters hailed the routine visits of Jan Pronk, Roger Winters and all other representatives of international organizations and statesmen to the region as if they came to congratulate him on his idea of al-maidan meeting. They also exploited Abdelwahid’s ridiculous absence from the front to add more value to their exclusivist idea of al-maidan meeting. I concur with everybody that Abdelwahid is a defective leader but you cannot remove him by playing dirty political games behind all the other members of SLM/A. Such games will even encourage all the military leaders whose representatives were in Tripoli to support Abdelwahid despite his long absence from the front simply because general secretariat deceived the their representatives. These representatives were authorized by military and civilian leaders to form the structure without necessarily calling for general membership meeting because they understand the circumstances- a thing which Mr. Haroun will never believe because it is “his racist me” who says it and not “his Minni’s perfect cosmopolitan general secretariat.”
Mr. Haroun could not you realize that something skeptical is happening when Minni has created media aura that “X met the Secretary General, Y said the conference is a good idea, etc.” while these individuals were visiting the region to assess the situation? Do not you understand that such behavior is a fraudulent behavior? Normally it is the people of Darfur who make the meeting legitimate by their support and not the names of outsiders that Minni invokes. It is the dictators who do that and the nearest example is Bashir and his clique who broke all the rules and oaths and imposed themselves on Sudanese until Egypt recognized them followed by other countries. But Sudanese kept Bashir, Ali, and their chameleon-like spiritual father, Turabi, at bay for more than 15 years. The latter came back to rhythms of multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-religious, etc., decentralized Sudan and gave up his stupid project of Jihad and hang it on the shoulders of former.
Minni’s behavior is further underestimation of the intelligence of Darfur people and other Sudanese who are SLM/A members since he thought the names he used will force them to recognize his meeting. It is also offensive to the people whose names Minni used for his meeting. He twisted the humanitarian objectives of their visits for tricky games of duping the very people whom they visit with a hope of finding them enjoying all their rights. Jan Pronk or Roger Winters did not go to Darfur because Minni is there and when Minni told them that he wanted to arrange for his general membership meeting they said: “Good idea.” They do not want to know what is hidden behind the meeting because it is none of their business; but they will love to see SLM/A organized with a clear structure because that will facilitate the interaction between SLM/A and whoever wants to help poor victimized Darfurians. Invoking names from outside to get legitimacy is a political fraud in my opinion and it will soon turn against you those whom you plan fool. You need to ask Al-Mahdi, Al-Turabi and Marghani who deceived Sudanese for decades and at end they realized that they lost most of their constituents.
Mr. Haroun has judged me that “he is afraid that I might have slipped into the swap of racism”. I think that he meant discrimination and not racism. But let me put myself in a context. I was born to parents one of who considered herself partly Zaghawa and I grew up as a Fur. However, that will never make me close my eyes on mismanagement of Abdelwahid and Minni to SLM/A just because the former is a Fur and the latter is a Zaghawa. Both of them are little dictators and are not qualified to lead people like Sudanese who fight and die in search of equality, justice, freedom and democracy. Minni is a homophobic person and Abdelwahid is the person of false promises and inaction. Mr. Haround has to know that Abdelwahid was my junior colleague at the University of Khartoum and we became friends after my graduation to the extent we shared private issues, but I will continue to tell him that he is a very bad leader until he changes his behavior or goes away from public scene. He knows my opinion in his leadership. But you should know that Minni is not an exception. If they do not change the way they lead SLM/A its members will soon push them away and replace them with individuals who will better lead SLM/A.
It seems to me that Mr. Haroun already made up his mind about my racism and discrimination. He was only waiting for an occasion to make it public. You have to know that I left Sudan because of discrimination, lived with people from different backgrounds many of whom were discriminated against, was president of Canadian-Sudanese Human Rights Organization, studied and taught students how bad racism and discrimination are and will soon publish an academic article on marginal life of Sudanese immigrants/refugees in Toronto. Is it possible that such person “slip into an swamp of racism”, as Mr. Haroun argued? I have to be classified as an imposter if I wear ethnic or racial lens to interact with SLM/A members. Consider, Mr. Haroun, that I do not accept Bashir and Ali Osman’s leadership because they are Ja’ali and Shaigui respectively or because they are from Shimalia. I hate them because of their stupid way of leading the country; yet one of Bashir’s uncles, was the best professor and excellent friend I have ever met at the University of Khartoum. If we do not accept others’ leadership not because of who they are but because of what they do why do not we refuse our own leadership of others if we do not lead them properly?
SLM/A has a clear political vision but Minni and Abdelwahid have failed to translate it to Sudanese people. The SLM/A political vision is beyond their grasp. Summary of its vision could be conceptualized as decentralization, democracy, freedom, justice, equality, respect of human rights, respect and appreciation of otherness (religious, cultural, racial, regional, gender, etc.), hard-work, honesty, and protection of ecosystem.
29 August 2005
Gamal Abdelrahman Adam