Two Down – One to Go
Not wishing to cannibalize my own work, yet to provide anchorage for the current commentary let me quote from my article published in a military officer’s magazine (November 2017).
“Men such as Omar al-Bashir, Jacob Zuma, and Robert Mugabe should be awakening to night sweats about now.” (1)
Robert Mugabe is under house arrest and his wife has been stripped of her fraudulent Ph.D. With the ANC (African National Congress) and his own political party snapping at his ankles, Jacob Zuma has resigned. As a journalist with an intense focus on investigative journalism and predictive analysis it is noted with a wry sense of humor that even a blind pig is occasionally rewarded with a truffle.
But today, let me cut loose with the wildebeest side of me. My horns are now oriented toward the Sudan. Omar al-Bashir has about a year to consider his fate. That is my prediction. Two down – one to go.
A great resource on my shelf is “Islamism and Its Enemies in the Horn of Africa” (edited by Alex de Waal.) Respected for both his research and mediation efforts he is considered an expert on the Sudan.
Books are an advanced form of sign language. We use them and other resources for our education and enjoyment. But journalism must be binary to have efficacy. The reporter requires face-to-face interaction for any significant cross-pollinating of communication to occur . So while not having a passport stamp for the Sudan, I have been blessed to have a long-standing friendship with a powerful member of the Sudanese community, Mohamed Elhassan. Fortunate to be within his circle of confidence when he ran for the president of the Sudan for the second time. Grateful for what he has taught me about his nation. And certainly wiser and more cautious with this friendship. One thing is now deeply felt. My friend has birthed passion in my heart for the Sudanese people. They are desperately in need of new leadership.
History repeats itself. Hassan al-Turabi was to Omar al-Bashir what ibn Abd al-Wahhab was to Muhammad bin Saud: An ideological strongman capable of unifying factions under a power-hungry despot. Once political confederacies were solidified, both Al-Wahhab and Al-Turabi entered into power-sharing agreements which made them majority stakeholders in issues of state. The harm inflicted by Al-Wahhab’s brand of jurisprudence with a “twist” of Naqshbandi Sufism is matched by the harm Al-Turabi inflicted on the average Sudanese with an introduction of elements which were feral to what was generally considered a culturally soft people. This impact is still felt today.
There is one healthy reason why Omar al-Bashir must be pried from power. And it has to do with the nature of evil. Here is the deal. Evil does not have a motive. Evil has a purpose. And its purpose is to winnow of the souls (mind, will, and emotions) of men. Decades of potential progress have evaporated as Omar al-Bashir has taken his winnowing fork against his own citizens. He has emaciated both the economy and the citizenry. Amassing an enviable wealth portfolio, his favorite wife has also hardened her face against the people as evidenced by her affinity for, and hoarding of, the hidden wealth of the land.
Evil has a purpose. Count not the Sudanese blood shed by Al-Bashir’s hand in drops. Count it in gallons. From the undulating desert sands to the Nuba mountains, from the smaller White Nile which marries the robust Blue Nile near Khartoum, to the region which nestles the calamitous Darfur, few have escaped the implacable spirit with which a tyrant rules.
Look to al-Fasher and the misery of the Zam Zam IDP camp in north Darfur. The name of the camp is far removed from the original meaning. As Hagar cried out “Collect, collect” her heart told her that her son would survive. In the Christian tradition, God is seen as the one who preserves lineage.
“And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, ‘What aileth thee, Hagar? Fear not. For God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water and gave the lad to drink. And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.”
The latter (Hagar) collected water. The former, collects children and the women who live in daily fear of rape. It collects the bones of destroyed lineage – patriarchs and matriarchs alike. Were Dante alive today it is possible that a modern inferno would include the name of this place which is spit out like a curse.
So it is time for the “One-to-Go” to be gone. In saying this, the responsibility for this task is not tossed into the laps of the vulnerable. The task is delegated to those who can actually accomplish the same through a process of leadership which removes leadership. This process minimizes harm for those who have already suffered too much. And it also leaves in place a means for renewal and not continuous low-grade revolutionary ambitions.
Who are these men? This is the good news. They already know who they are and know what they must do. This statement is not based on any particular knowledge rather the understanding of timing and the cup of God’s wrath. For at times it is righteous men who dip into that very cup, and with faith, rid a land of falsehood. Two down, one to go.
* Early release to my readership. This will appear on the Friday page of my news organization.