Sudan has been in the news a great deal lately for the genocide taking place in Darfur. Yet the war in Sudan has been going on for years. Freelance journalist, and WorldHum writer, Wendy Knight visited the war-torn country in 2004 and found her transition from travel writer to war correspondent to be a painful yet enlightening process. She tells about her experience in her article The Burden of War.
“I flinched whenever the Sudanese referred to me as a journalist, having come to Sudan on an impulse, really, and a vague notion of what I’d find. Bobby and I, who had met through mutual friends in Wyoming, primarily toiled in adventure travel—he is a photographer, I am a freelance writer. When I approached him with an idea for a story about rowing on the Kenyan coast, he suggested Sudan, where he had been working on a photo essay about the war. His rundown of the long-standing conflict fascinated me. I was eager to write about something of consequence and figured I wouldn’t have difficultly interesting an editor in a story when I returned.
I anticipated plenty of despair in Sudan, but I hadn’t expected to encounter it so intimately. Despite a 2002 cease fire that had been signed by the government of Sudan and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army, the rebel group that controls much of the south, the government had unloaded three cluster bombs on this tiny village in southern Sudan, killing three, injuring several others and prompting the temporary evacuation of the ex-pat aid workers with GOAL, a Dublin-based aid organization that operates health clinics in the region.
The decades-long north-south conflict in Sudan is multifaceted—Arab vs. African, Muslim vs. Christian, nomad vs. farmer—but above all, it seems, it is about oil. The bombing of makeshift markets, feeding centers and relief planes is part of the government’s methodical campaign to displace black Africans—Dinka, Nuer and other tribes—from their homes near the oil fields, or to eradicate them altogether. Similar tactics are now being deployed in Darfur, in Western Sudan, where the issues are different but no less complex.”