Featured Column
Week of 11.20.2006
Slaughter in my village
          “I am a girl, 13 years old. My name is Gamada. My skin is black. I live in the village of Umm Baru in the Darfur region of the Sudan. I think I will be killed soon.
          Most of the people who lived in my village have been murdered by the Janjaweed, which is the army supported by the government. The soldiers of the Janjaweed came into my village two days ago and killed all the men and children first. They raped our mothers and sisters, then they killed all the women too.
          Only three of us from the village are alive. My brother Rashida, who is 9 years old, my cousin Sika, who is ll years old and me. We are black Africans.
          My parents had told me that someday the government of Omar al-Bashir, the President of Sudan, would send the pro-government army of the Janjaweed to our village and kill all of us that were not followers of Islam. Because we are black Africans we all knew that one day the army would come. Our mother and father told us to run for the grove of trees as soon as we heard the army coming.
          Two weeks ago four truckloads of peace keepers from the African Union came to our village and told us they would protect us from the government of al-Bashir and the terrorist Muslims. After being with us for two days we saw the people from the African Union run to their trucks and drive away from our village. One minute they were around us, the next minute all we could see was the dust from the trucks as they drove away. The head person had told my father that the Janjaweed soldiers had sent someone to tell the peacekeepers that if they stayed in our village they would be slaughtered like us. So they left.
          When we heard the airplanes of the Janjaweed coming towards our village, my brother, my cousin and I ran towards the small grove of trees 50 meters from our village. There we found a hole in the ground, covered by fallen trees. We slid down into a hole and looked out through the dried branches.
          When the planes came they flew down low and dropped their bombs on our small houses and the water well near the center of our village. Many in the village died from the bombs. That night the Janjaweed soldiers came. By the time they came my brother, cousin and I were inside the hole in the ground in the grove of trees. The Janjaweed solders came in large trucks. They pointed their trucks towards the village and left the truck lights on.
          If we lifted our heads slightly out of the hole we could see to our village. What we saw that night will be in our minds as long as we live.
          Many of the soldiers had long, shiny machetes in one hand and a rifle or a pistol in the other. The soldiers made a ring around our village so nobody could escape. Then the soldiers started yelling “kill, kill, kill” as they slowly walked to the center of town. Then they began running to the houses. If a man got in their way they raised their machete and chopped at their necks. When the man fell to the ground the soldiers would step on the villager’s chest and swing their machetes until the man’s head came off. Then they would kick the man’s head until it rolled towards the walk near the center of town. Then the soldiers would look for the women and rape them. Sometimes ten men would rape one woman. When the woman collapsed or was bleeding too much a soldier would shoot her in the head and go to the next house. I had to tell Rashida and Sika to be quiet because they were crying so loud. If the solders found us they would rape me and cut off Rashida and Sika’s heads.
           In less than an hour we saw the soldiers walking towards their trucks. We closed our eyes tightly and held our breaths, hoping they would not find us.
          Soon the soldiers gathered where their trucks were parked. The soldiers had blood all over their hands and shirts. Their shoes were covered with sticky stuff. They were all smiling and happy, shouting “victory, victory.” They were talking loudly to each other when they climbed onto their trucks.
          In a few minutes the trucks started their engines and got in a line and drove up the dirt road which lead out of our village. Rashida, Sika and I waited until we could not see any any lights from the trucks before we crawled out of the hole.
          Then we crawled on our bellies to the village. There were no sounds.
          When we were sure no soldiers remained we walked to our homes.
          I saw my father’s body in the doorway and I vomited. Inside, my mother’s body was lying, all twisted on her bed which was covered with her blood. Blood was still running from the bullet hole in her forehead.
          I told my brother Rashida to stay outside the house. I didn’t want him to see our parents.
           Sika saw his father, mother and two older brothers, all killed. All lying twisted, covered with blood. His father and brothers had no heads.
           The three of us were so frightened we ran towards our hole in the ground by the trees and spent the night there, crying until dawn, unable to sleep. We were afraid that the soldiers would come get us and chop our heads off.”
          This story, told by Gamada, is being replayed each day all over the villages of the Darfur region of Sudan. The government and the pro-government forces of the Janjaweed are engaged in a program of genocide. Unless the United Nations, the United States, the African Union and all civilized countries of the world step up and do something millions of Africans will be killed and displaced. Tens of thousands of them have already been slaughtered and two million have left their homes. Many of them attempting to cross the border into Chad. While the politicians debate whether it should be called “ethnic cleansing” or genocide, men, women and children are being slaughtered daily in the villages of Sudan. Islamic terrorists are murdering and raping the people of Sudan. The question the citizens of the world must answer is “do we care enough to stop the slaughter?” The other question to answer is, “If it were happening to us would we want someone to come to our aid?”
Killings in Darfur
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger