Ever since some Hollywood celebrities declared a state of emergency in Darfur, only a few of them have decided to go to Darfur to evaluate the situation on the ground. It's regrettable. A little more than a decade after the beginning of violent fights wich have bloodied this remote region of Sudan, it seems nevertheless - little by little - to be rising from the ashes and to find a certain serenity. A number of inhabitants of Al-Fasher, Capital of the province of the Darfur in the North, will bear witness to this. A report of those who live the reality on a daily basis.

Everybody is Mulsim, everybody is black, everybody is Arabic in Darfur!

Sudan: Darfur, in search of serenity

Ever since some Hollywood celebrities declared a state of emergency in Darfur, only a few of them have decided to go to Darfur to evaluate the situation on the ground. It's regrettable. A little more than a decade after the beginning of violent fights which have bloodied this remote region of Sudan, it seems nevertheless - little by little - to be rising from the ashes and to find a certain serenity. A number of inhabitants of Al-Fasher, Capital of the province of the Darfur in the North, will bear witness to this. A report of those who live the reality on a daily basis.

Children in Darfur

 

A few kilometers from the deafening noise of UNAMID helicopters, a small market of Al-Fasher is in full swing in the middle of the day. In the middle of the stalls of meat, spices, fruits and vegetables, only the children who rush about the lethargic routine of the regular customers in place. The market looks like millions of others throughout Africa. In the dusty alleys, bordering makeshift shacks there is no trace of armed men - neither soldiers of the Sudanese army, nor blue berets of the UN forces. As for possible bloodthirsty rebels, they do not appear to shop in these places.

We live a simple life. Clans and tribes, we all live together. We settle our problems between ourselves. Its has been our way of life for a longtime and it has always worked

"We live a simple life. Clans and tribes, we all live together. We settle our problems between ourselves. Its has been our way of life for a longtime and it has always worked" explains one of the main leaders of the village, who also plays the role of mediator between the various factions. Nobody denies the violence, but it's more likely that we recall dramatic "isolated cases" than real ethnic cleansing. "We are the real witnesses of what has happened and is still taking place in Darfur. And since the beginning of the unrest in 2003, we work hard to solve our differences."

A total of 58 death sentences

From the official side, the analysis of the situation isn't different. While the international community points finger at Sudan for its inactivity at a judicial level, the prosecutor's office displays its discontent at the same time as its results. The special prosecutor in Darfur, Yassir Ahmed Mohamed, asserts:

We have the capacity. We have the means to judge. From the beginning of the events, Khartoum have appointed a team on the ground to investigate and establish a special court. The institutions work in Darfur

For which result?

"We presented more the hundred cases to the court. Among them, there were soldiers in uniform. but the rebels come and go, it's not so easy to get hold of them". And justice claims to be merciless: "We count 58 death penalities."

At police headquarters, positivity is also appropriate. It is in any case, what emerges from the words of General Ibrahim Magdi: "The results on the ground are rather encouraging. The peacekeeping operations are bearing fruit. Sporadic violence can still occur here and there, but globally, we succeed in maintaining and in strenghtheming law and order"

A fragile, but very real peace, which would find its most perfect illustration with a particular point. Those that we call internally displaced are gradually returning but mostly "we see refugees arriving from: The Central African Republic, from Libya or from Chad. it is proof that Darfur i smore stable than other neighboring regions."

Prosecutor in Darfur

 

"Be Honest!"

Is this an idealized portrait of Darfur? It is rather the reality at the moment. The lawyer, Abdel Rahman Ibrahim El-Khalifa, explains: "Life gradually returns to normal" in the region and he is eager to set the record straight:

All the shocking terms like genocide, were pronounced by people who know nothing about Darfur. Most have never even set foot in Darfur! We were given incredible figures that are never the same. Nothing is ever exact. Nothing is ever objective. Nothing is ever honest. To begin by terms of civil war or ethnic cleansing. Everybody is Mulsim, everybody is black, everybody is Arabic in Darfur!

Tribes in Darfur with Herve Pugi (Journalist) and Priscilla Wolmer (French publisher - Media 54 ETATS)

 

So ... Its is about horrible, tribal confrontations certainly, but nothing more. It is a very ancient problem. It already existed in the British era, and they are incidentally the initiators thereof. the mediatization of the problem is only complicating the situation..."

A feeling shared by a number of tribal leaders, called rebels, who met in Al-Fasher and warned in the prelude: 

You must be honest with yourself, with the mission that were assigned to you by coming here!

It's difficult not to feel a certain level of mistrust towards journalists from the West. Explanation: "Some use our difficulties to establish their own interests. We have lived through really difficult times which had serious repercussions on the community but for a number of years now, the region has experienced a period of stability. Everything is not settled yet but everyone tries, in their own way, to contribute to the restoration of peace."

Children in Darfur - @Rabah Seghir

 

The activity of the international community? It is indifferent or it provoked at most, a slight smile on the faces of the representatives who, as certain villagers before them, demand above all "food, care or financial aid, but no soldiers" while specifying "before helping us, ask us what we need". And one of the leaders, sparked the general approval of theassembly, by adding "if you want to help us, you, the foreigners, the Europeans or the others, stop arming our boys! Do not militarize our boys!".

 

Herve Pugi
Journaliste