Right now, they’re still alive.
400,000 Nuba civilians have been trapped in the mountainous regions of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan since June 2011, on the brink of a government-orchestrated famine. The Khartoum regime has intentionally cut them off from their fields by persistent and indiscriminant bombing and denied access to any international aid. But they’re still alive.
All of that will change sometime in the next few weeks.
Any day now, the rains will start, making this already remote region entirely inaccessible. Any hopes of breaking through negotiations with Khartoum to win access to these civilians will be moot. They will starve and — like their 500,000 Nuba brethren who were annihilated in this same way during Khartoum’s second genocide in the 1990s — they will die.
Let’s be clear: This is Khartoum’s fourth genocide since the Omar al-Bashir regime took power in 1989. Bashir — who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on 10 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide — has presided over the murder of close to three million innocent civilians, civilians he is obliged to protect.
In 2005, I traveled to Darfur along with a