Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Disappointed enough to cry

Disappointed enough to cry
Seth J. Frantzman
August 13th, 2007

August 13th, 2007. Another night in front of the TV with sushi in one hand and the keyboard in the other. Then Hala Gurani, at CNN World and Jim Clancy, the host of CNN’s night edition, had the following exchange:

Hala: “Thousands of Sudanese refugees risk the trek across a vast desert to reach the Jewish state…up next”
Clancy: “but they’re going to face a huge disappointment Hala.”

Five minutes of commercials and other worthless information followed. When the report began it proceeded as follows:

Hala: “Taking you to Middle East…they come by the thousands across the burning Sinai desert, if they survive, they end up in an Israeli jail…more on Israel’s growing crises.”

Atika Shubert(in Israel): “Many end up here…in prison, waiting to see what Israel will do with them. Who stays and who goes? Some Israeli citizens are taking things into their own hands. They place Sudanese into Kibbutz jobs and homes, the Sudanese live so cramped they must queue to do their Muslim prayers, 11 to a room, they shield their faces fearing reprisals on their families.”

Refugee: “I wish there was peace in Darfur…and a new government. The next best thing is a temporary home in Israel.”

Shubert: “back to you.”

Its fascinating to see that this amazingly positive topic can be framed in such a negative way. There have been past condemnations of Israel by leftists who claimed that Israel was ‘racist’ against the Ethiopian immigrants. But here you have a pretty cut and dry fact-ridden case. Thousands of Sudanese refugees have found their way to Israel by way of Egypt. They have not actually been put in prison, the reporters fabricated that aspect of the story. In fact they were kept in hotels and other temporary places. Israelis, many of them foreign born Israelis from the U.S, have volunteered to help these refugees, who are 90% Muslim. Israel is trying to work out what to do with them. On August 2nd, 2007 four Sudanese refugees were murdered by Egyptian border guards in full view of Israeli soldiers serving on the Egyptian border. In one case the refugee actually made it to the IDF position before Egyptians dragged him back. Following this savagery members of the Israeli Knesset have worked harder to find a way to give the refugees refuge in Israel or the West.

But the West doesn’t want the blacks. For all its multi-culturalism the Europeans aren’t reaching out to take these Darfurians. Just as in the Holocaust the western nations were closed to the Jews trying to flee the Nazi grip the Africans in Darfur are denied Darfur, who suffer a genocide at the hands of Arabs, are denied access to Europe. But that’s not the worst thing.

The worst and most disgusting thing is that CNN World never reported about the four Sudanese refugees who were murdered by the Egyptians. It never reported the December 2005 rampage by Egyptian police in which more than seventy Sudanese were murdered after protesting in Cairo. According to reports however the refugees were not even protesting against Egypt, but rather against the U.N offices in Cairo:

“Hundreds of Sudanese refugees began a peaceful demonstration in front of the United Nations office in Cairo, Egypt, on 29 September 2005. The refugees delivered a petition detailing numerous problems they have faced while waiting to be processed by the UN. The refugees have declared they will not end their demonstration until they receive a response to the grievances outlined in their petition.”
CNN has never done one report on the fate of Sudanese in Egypt. For that matter it has done almost no reports about the genocide in Darfur, perhaps because CNN World caters to an audience that is made up of Muslims in the Middle East and might be ‘offended’ by such reports(sort of like Muslims are ‘offended’ by being forced to learn about the Holocaust in European schools and some U.K schools have therefore stopped teaching the Holocaust in order not to ‘offend’ the Muslims.) Whatever the reason it is amazing to wonder how the issue of 1,000 Sudanese refugees in Israel suddenly caught the attention of CNN. According to Rev. Kamal Farah of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem there are so many Sudanese refugees from South Sudan in Damascus that an Anglican community now exists there among them(South Sudan is Christian and Black, Darfur is Muslim and Black, both areas have been subjected to ethnic-cleansing by the white Arab-Muslim Northeast). But there is no report on those Sudanese in Syria. There are half a million Darfurian refugees in Chad, but there are no CNN reports on that. Fighting in the Sudan has even expanded into the Central African Republic, but there has been no report about that on CNN World.

But Hala Gurani, Atika Shubert and Jim Clancy found out that there were some Sudanese in Israel. In order to frame the story so that Israel looked negative Mr. Clancy first notes how ‘disappointed’ the Africans will be upon arriving in what Ms. Gurani calls ‘the Jewish State.’ Ms. Shubert is brought in to deliver the coup de grace, explaining how the poor Sudanese are imprisoned for just being refugees. Its surprising that Shubert wasn’t able to draw a parallel between Sudanese refugees and Palestinian refugees and the Palestinian prisoners in Israel whose ancestors were refugees of 1948.

When it becomes clear through the report that Israelis have done a great deal for the Sudanese it still isn’t enough for CNN. The conditions found for the Sudanese are ‘cramped’ and they can’t even pray properly.

But CNN had one problem in their attempt to make Israel look like a villain, the report scuttled itself on the rock of honesty when it finally got around to interviewing one of the Africans. He noted that he was happy to be in Israel, it was the second best place after his home. No doubt he recalled treatment at the hands of the Egyptians who treated him like an ‘abd’ or slave, the term used by Arabs to describe blacks, when Arabs aren’t calling them ‘Kaffir’, infidel.

Its not the first time CNN expressed shock about the Sudanese coming to Israel. A week ago a separate snippet of a report noted how surprising it was that the Africans were fleeing to Israel. CNN offered their answer: the Sudanese thought that Israel was European and thus would be a ticket to freedom in Europe. They had to pass through Apartheid Israel in order to get to Europe. Perhaps CNN forgot to mention there are other reasons that drive Sudanese to come to Israel. Perhaps the Sudanese Africans are not completely retarded, perhaps they aren’t the child-like starving monkeys that CNN would like us to think they are. Perhaps they know that Israel is not Europe. Perhaps some of them know that the Jews suffered a genocide of their own and might have sympathy for the Darfurians. Perhaps they recall the 1982 and 1994 airlifts of Ethiopian refugees by Israel and the tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews who trekked through Sudan in order to get to Israel. Perhaps they therefore recall that of all the people in the world Israel is the only non-African country in history to stick its neck out to save Africans. But perhaps they are not so historically conscious. Perhaps what caused them to come to Israel was working at Bedouin camps in Sinai near Israel’s Taba border. When I visited those Bedouin camps in 2005 and 2006 there were Sudanese there, one of whome traded his hat for an Israeli army hat of a friend of mine. They liked the Israelis and the Israelis liked them. But they were constantly being beaten and chased around by the brutal Egyptian police. Perhaps they realized that just over the mountains, some 40 kilometers away, was a country where people would treat them decently.

They evidently were not privy to CNN’s reports on Israel. It may be only a matter of time before we are forced to listen to stories about ‘racism’ against the Sudanese in Israel. It surely won’t be long until we hear how brutal it is that Israel is not granting them enough rights. Lets just pre-empt that now. The Sudanese are probably not going to be granted citizenship in Israel. The only four non-Jewish groups(not including the Russian Aliyah which was 1/3 non-Jewish) to have been granted citizenship in Israel recently have been a few hundred Vietnamese Boat People, who Manachem Begin offered refuge, the Sudanese Liberation Army allies of Israel who had to retreat from Lebanon with the IDF, a handful of Bedouin who allied themselves with Israel in Gaza and the Black Hebrews from the U.S.A who have lived in Dimona since the 1960s.

But the Sudanese in Israel are already being granted more freedoms and better treatment than they ever were in their own country of Sudan, in the U.N run camps in Chad or in Egypt. CNN should be ashamed of itself, perhaps it could learn from the maxim ‘if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it.’

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