Most Americans are familiar with President Mubarak of Egypt, King Abdallah II of Jordan, King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia, President Assad of Syria, and a few other Arab leaders. They are frequently seen in print media and on TV. They have one thing in common. Their skin is white. As a matter of fact, the Syrian leader is blond with blue eyes.
Though the Sudan is the largest country on the African continent (2.5 million square kilometers), and its population exceeds forty million, have you ever seen its President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on TV? Though the news of the Sudan and its western region, Darfur, appear almost daily in the U.S. media, have you at any time seen his picture in a newspaper or a magazine? I doubt you did! It is not your fault. The U.S. media hides him from your sight.
The question is: Why do our media keep him away from public view? Mr. al-Bashir is known to be gentle, kind, and pleasant. His smile is genuine. One can easily connect with al-Bashir for his humility, warmth, and frankness. He doesn’t play dirty games. He doesn’t speak in double tongues. He is a man of high principles.
Near the end of last February, Mr. al-Bashir spoke live to thousands of African-Americans via satellite at the Nation of Islam’s Savior’s Day convention in Detroit for almost an hour and a half. Without any form of censorship, he was prepared to respond to questions from the American media regarding any subject of concern, particularly Darfur.
Although the event had been highly publicized and the media had been informed long in advance, only a couple of major media outfits showed any interest. Their questions were outright stupid. They didn’t take advantage of this golden opportunity to relay to their viewers the other side of the story coming directly from its source.
The only thing that concerned them was whether or not the Sudanese President was going to allow the so-called U.N. peace-keeping forces into Darfur. A reporter, who had not been to the Sudan and had earlier written about the imaginary “crimes” the central government carries out in Darfur, was urged by Akbar Muhammad, the coordinator of the press conference, to talk directly to the Sudanese President. The man declined.
The extent, history, or the roots of the Darfur tragedy, the forces that ignite it, and why, were not of any importance. Again, no pictures! Children were not terrified when they saw al-Bashir, who is accused of being “an ugly terrorist, mass murderer, and war criminal”, addressing the convention. Men and women didn’t walk out to protest a speech delivered by a man described by the American media as “the world’s worse dictator” who is waging a war of “genocide and ethnic cleansing” against Blacks.
On the contrary, the President of Sudan was met with warm applause. African-Americans of all faiths gave him a standing ovation. Not a single western newsperson has ever been hurt in the Sudan. Again, why do the U.S. executives of the corporate media insist on keeping al-Bashir and members of his government away from American viewers?
The reason is simple; a picture is worth a thousand words. The Sudanese President and his entire cabinet, though they are Arabs, are Blacks. All are Africans.
Arabism is not a race or a blood relationship. It is a culture, a sense of belonging, history, geography, and a strong desire to unite to survive in a cruel and savage world. The lie that Arabs are carrying out massacres against Africans would immediately collapse.
The propaganda machine greased by over one hundred and sixty Zionist organizations, in addition to constant falsehoods coming from the White House and Christian Right groups, to convince the world, particularly African-Americans that Arabs murder and discriminate against Blacks, will no longer function.
The millions of dollars spent weekly by the vicious “Save Darfur” campaign on advertisements to vilify and dehumanize Arabs would become meaningless and a waste. President al-Bashir is not popular here in the United States. Sudanese rebels, who are trained, financed and equipped, by the U.S. government, hope to soon enter into Sudan far behind U.S. tanks and marines, are occasionally invited to Washington to meet with the U.S. President and Congress. The legitimate leader of Sudan, who is determined to preserve the unity and sovereignty of his country, and protect its resources for the welfare of his people, is not entitled to receive this “honor”.
However, Mr. al-Bashir is popular, not only at home, but across Africa, and the Arab and Muslim Worlds. Africans, Muslims, and Arabs strongly reject the falsehoods, lies, and smear tactics colonial governments manufacture to justify a regime change. His popularity stems from the fact that he refuses to recognize Israel, an illegitimate foreign identity established on stolen Palestinian land.
He has shown the courage to stand firmly against the crimes committed daily by the U.S. and Israel in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, and Somalia. He managed to establish excellent relations between the Iraq of Saddam Hussein and Iran, despite the eight-year war fueled by the United States. He protected Sudan’s wealth and resources from U.S. corporate robbery.
To serve certain political agendas, Mr. al-Bashir is falsely labeled by the Zionist and US corporate media as “a monster, the world’s number one dictator and a war criminal”. Washington lists Sudan as a terrorist and rogue nation that violates the basic principles of human and civil rights.
I met President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, years ago, twice, in his office in Khartoum. I was impressed. I felt most comfortable. He is one of the few leaders whom I respect and admire. My late April 2007 visit to the Sudan, in a fact-finding mission as a part of an African-American journalists’ delegation, is one of my most memorable experiences. I was moved by the president’s down-to-earth humility. It gave me the opportunity to meet and visit with him and his family at his private home in his village for several hours, and as a result has enabled me to learn more about him as a family man and as a leader.