Peace balls

It is amazing what you can achieve with a choir of sweetly-singing students, a bell and a bag of branded footballs.

UNAMID Deputy Head of Mission Delivers a Peace Message to the People of Darfur: Encouraged by the Rising Winds of Peace

El Fasher, 21 September 2008 – The Principal Deputy Joint Special Representative of the African Union –United Nations Hybrid Operations in Darfur (PDJSR) Mr. Henry Anyidoho expressed optimism about attainment of peace in Darfur.

Addressing the celebration in Al Fasher of this year’s International Day of Peace which took place at the State Legislative Council Hall, Anyidoho said “I can see the wind of peace blowing in this hall this morning, and I pray that it would take us to our destination”. He added that the sweet voices of students singing for peace in Darfur were a clear testimony of the advancement on the road to peace…

…He later distributed “Peace Balls” to all the schools invited, and also rang the peace bell to make UN commitment to the ideal of world peace heard far and wide, and to remind all that peace is a common desire for people everywhere.

Next stop Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Constant motion but no forward movement

Was re-reading some background papers on Sudan last night and came across this quote from commentator Alex de Waal:

“We must face the possibility of continued turbulence and paralysis in Sudan – a political process marked by constant motion but no forward movement.”

There has been lots of “motion” over the last year – everything from rebels racing across hundreds of miles of desert to attack Khartoum to peace envoys zipping across the world holding consultations and conferences. But very little, if anything, that counts as “movement”.

Meskel Square’s new patron saint

2830128012_24f30f2d7aSudan’s Catholics turn to Darfur saint

By Andrew Heavens and Skye Wheeler

KHARTOUM/JUBA (Reuters) – In a dusty church in Khartoum’s Jeberona camp for displaced persons, the congregation claps and sings beneath a portrait of a smiling woman who has become a focus of hope for a divided country.

Josephine Bakhita, a former slave who died in 1947, has risen from obscurity to become the first saint from Darfur in western Sudan, a region convulsed by war for the past five years.

“I would say she was a gift from God … an offer from God,” said Bishop Daniel Adwok, the Roman Catholic auxiliary bishop of Khartoum. “She has come on time for the conflict here in Sudan.”

Google Chrome denied

So the U.S. trade sanctions against Sudan are at last beginning to bite. Here is the screen I got when I tried to download Google’s new Chrome internet browser from Khartoum.


Something similar happened with Google Earth – at the time Google said it blocked downloads in Sudan saying it couldn’t distribute its software in the blacklisted country.

First Google Earth. Now Google Chrome. Sudan’s geeks are going to be enraged. Could this be the move that finally brings the Khartoum regime to its knees?