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Crisis in Darfur Update 10-4-07: Jimmy Carter in the Sudan -- "We've got to move, or someone is going to get shot," warned one of the U.N. staff
What it is supposed to mean to be an American.
What it is supposed to mean to be a statesman.
What it is supposed to mean to be a Christian.
What it means to be one of "The Elders."
It is not too late for Darfur, or for the human experiment itself, if ...
Please read this inspiring story of Jimmy Carter in the Sudan, and share it with others.
-- Richard Power
ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU of Associated Press reports:
Former President Jimmy Carter confronted Sudanese security services on a visit to Darfur Wednesday, shouting "You don't have the power to stop me!" at some who blocked him from meeting refugees of the conflict.
The 83-year-old Carter, in Darfur as part of a delegation of respected international figures known as "The Elders," wanted to visit a refugee camp. But the U.N. mission in Sudan deemed that too dangerous.
Instead, Carter agreed to fly to the World Food Program compound in the North Darfur town of Kabkabiya, where he was supposed to meet with ethnic African refugees ...
But none of the refugees showed up and Carter decided to walk into the town — a volatile stronghold of the pro-government janjaweed militia — to meet refugees too frightened to attend the meeting at the compound.
He was able to make it to a school where he met with one tribal representative and was preparing to go further into town when Sudanese security officers stopped him.
"You can't go," the local chief of the feared Sudanese secret police, who only gave his first name as Omar, ordered Carter. "It's not on the program!"
"We're going to anyway!" an angry Carter retorted as a small crowd began to gather around. "You don't have the power to stop me."
However, U.N. officials told Carter's entourage the powerful Sudanese state police could bar his way.
"We've got to move, or someone is going to get shot," warned one of the U.N. staff accompanying the delegation.
Carter's traveling companions, billionaire businessman Richard Branson and Graca Machel, the wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, tried to ease his frustration and his Secret Service detail urged him to get into a car and leave. ...
Branson said some refugees had slipped notes in his pockets.
"We (are) still suffering from the war as our girls are being raped on a daily basis," read one of the notes, translated from Arabic, that Branson handed to the AP. The note said that on Sept. 26, a group of girls had been raped, one of them a 10-year-old, and that a refugee had been shot two days ago. Branson said it had been handed over by an ethnic African man. ...
For the most part, the refugees here appeared too frightened to speak to the visiting delegation. The single refugee representative Carter managed to meet at the school pleaded with an AP reporter out of earshot of Sudanese security for Carter to ensure he would not face government retaliation. Carter then went back to the man and wrote down his name, assuring him he would look out for his safety. ...
Click here for full text of de Montesquiou's story.
For a Words of Power Archive of posts on the Crisis in Darfur, click here.
If you want to help save Darfur, here are sites that will show you how:
Enough: The Project to End Genocide and Mass Atrocities
Genocide Intervention Network
Darfur, Africa, Richard Branson, Genocide, Graca Machel, The Elders, Jimmy Carter, Sudan, UN, Richard Power, Words of Power