July 9, 2008

Alive and Qiking in Chad

  When Web 2.0 startup Qik offered me a free Nokia N95 camera phone plus their new video-streaming software for my trip to Chad, I jumped. Here was a chance to try out the latest technology in one of the world’s most remote war-zones. The Qik-N95 combo promised to condense the basic capabilities of bulky […]

July 9, 2008

Darfur and the media attention deficit

Ethan Zuckerman asks some great questions about Darfur and media attention on his blog. I dropped a comment, but it might be worth pulling together a few threads here. The general feeling is that “attention paid to Darfur is unprecedented” – but was it? Is it? If we feed a few keywords through Silobreaker’s Media […]

July 4, 2008

Justice or Peace in Darfur?

A UN-AU hybrid patrol sets off for Siliea in West Darfur. The helmets have been painted blue but no-one has got around to removing the old Amis logo The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, set the cat among the pigeons last month by accusing the entire Khartoum government of committing war crimes in […]

June 13, 2008

David Axe heading to Chad

Frontline blogger David Axe is heading to Chad and Sudan tomorrow. He’ll be blogging when he can. He’ll also be the second Frontline blogger to experiment with the mobile phone live streaming video tool called Qik. Kyle is already a big fan, but David will see how (and if) the service works in the field. […]

June 13, 2008

Kaki Cruises to Win

Abubaker Kaki is world indoor 800m. He trains with blocks of concrete Abubaker Kaki’s build-up to the Olympics continues in impressive style. Last night he won the Golden Spike 800m, his second win in his last two outings. The men’s 800m featured two outstanding juniors, Abubaker Kaki of Sudan and Kenya’s David Rudisha. The finish […]

June 2, 2008

Give the man a dime…

Frontline blogger David Axe is cap in hand as he heads out to Chad and Sudan in the coming days. The Guerilla News Network is helping him raise $5,000 to make the trip to report on the European peacekeeping force and the U.N. refugee camps out there, I believe that vivid, courageous journalism, adequately resourced, […]

June 1, 2008

Portrait of a fixer – Daoud Hari in Darfur

Daoud Hari, author of The Translator, is profiled in the Daily Telegraph during a book promotion trip to New York. After his village in Darfur was attacked by Janjaweed militia he took to helping NGOs and foreign journalists get the story out. He became a fixer. ‘The journalists were very different from the NGO people,’ […]

May 30, 2008

Saving Darfur

It hasn’t quite reached the levels of ferocity seen between Alex van der Waal and John Prendergast last year, but there’s been lively debate under way at the Guardian’s Comment is Free site about Darfur and the role of peacekeepers. It opened with Julie Flint, co-author of Darfur: A New History of a Long War, […]

May 29, 2008

Sudan v Chad (Replay)

There I was all set to travel to Khartoum for the World Cup qualifier between Sudan and Chad and then this arrives from Fifa… In view of the current situation between Sudan and Chad, FIFA has decided to suspend the 2010 FIFA World Cupâ„¢ preliminary competition game between Sudan and Chad, which was originally scheduled […]

May 25, 2008

Alex de Waal on the Darfur crisis

You can now watch the event here.   Alex de Waal, author of Darfur: a Short History of a Long War, talks about the history of Darfur, its conflicts, and what the future holds in store at the Frontline Club. In conversation with Nima Elbagir from More4 News and a reporter for Unreported World. She […]

May 23, 2008

New Militia for Darfur

[video:youtube:EwgQIeRjCk0] If you thought international efforts to find peace in Darfur were going nowhere, think again. It seems that while I wasn’t looking, the “global citizenry” has been organising itself into a force to take on the Janjaweed and Sudanese government. Admittedly at the moment it comprises only Peacepipe Repairman and Kitten but as I […]

May 22, 2008

Shopping in Sudan

Darfur is not exactly a shoppers’ paradise. The sand and heat make it a bit much to spend the whole day browsing the stalls, although parking is not really a problem. But it’s amazing what you can find. In El Fasher I’ve seen jars of sour cherries, bottles of Spanish olive oil and fridges packed […]

May 15, 2008

31 very interesting things: 2. Warchild

[video:youtube:ekigsvTDJXo] Emmanuel Jal was eight when he was handed an AK-47 and told to fight for the southern Sudanese rebels of the SPLA. He escaped Sudan in a bag, smuggled out by Emma McCune, a British aid worker, on a UN flight. Now he is one of Africa’s hottest rappers. His new album is due […]

May 14, 2008

Explaining Omdurman

[video:youtube:AeldqfwUh4c] Meskel Square takes a stab at deciphering last week’s attack on Omdurman, Sudan’s largest city just across the Nile from the capital Khartoum. So, after hours of exhaustive interviews, in depth research and the refining of my own expert analysis, I have at last come up with the motive behind JEM’s shock attack on […]

May 11, 2008

Khartoum’s Pregnable Fortress

The Khartoum government has an iron grip on its capital. Machine gun emplacements guard every bridge, major artery and government building. So how did rebels from the Justice and Equality Movement drive into Omdurman, no more than a stone’s throw across the Nile from the capital itself? One of my good contacts in Khartoum said […]

May 11, 2008

David Axe joins Frontline

David Axe joins the From the Frontline blog ranks this week. David is the author of Army 101 and War Fix. He also writes for the Wired Magazine Danger Room blog, keeps a personal blog called War is boring and uploads his cartoons to Flickr. Staying with the ‘boring’ theme, David has called his Frontline […]

May 10, 2008

There’s a storm coming

[video:youtube:rDzV4Mw1CHQ] Andrew Heavens blogs from Khartoum in Sudan, that the Darfur rebel group the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) launched an attack a few miles north of the capital city. However, being on the ground doesn’t make it any easier to report, especially when the mobile networks are down, Being close to the action doesn’t […]

May 8, 2008

Why Nairobi is a Hub for Hacks

Interesting views reach me from Sudan where Blake Evans-Pritchard, a teacher and occasional freelance writer, has been casting a critical eye over journalists in general and the Nairobi press pack in particular. Well-known commentators in London and New York write prolifically on the country [Sudan], as though their word is God, whilst only a handful […]

May 5, 2008

Time for class

Gerald Martone, IRC director of humanitarian affairs, wins the 2008 Outstanding Photo Prize in a competition organised by InterAction, a coalition of 160 U.S.-based humanitarian groups, The photo, entitled, “A Chance to Learn: Time for Class in a Refugee Camp,” depicts young children at the Kalma Camp in South Darfur, Sudan. There were four other […]

April 28, 2008

“This Could be Heaven or This Could be Hell”

The music wasn’t exactly my cup of tea – I could have done with a bit more Khaled and a little less Eagles – but it was music in the heart of Khartoum. And that was the point. In a city once dominated by Islamists, life is starting to relax and the music is starting […]

April 24, 2008

On the Road with Darfur’s Hybrid Peacekeeping Force

The helmets have been painted blue, but no-one has got around to removing the Amis logos from the old African Union vehicles No-one can doubt the enthusiasm of the new UN-AU hybrid force (Unamid) in Darfur. Morale has risen and its officers seem to have rediscovered the can-do attitude they lost as the old African […]

April 17, 2008

Kebabs in a Circle

Agache – or chicken and beef kebabs with peanut sauce The Friday before I left for El Fasher found me at a soiree on the banks of the Nile, just outside Khartoum. We lounged around on carpets set beside a mango grove and surrounded by candles. Our food was a sort of kebab – chicken […]

April 14, 2008

Travelling Trolleys

Trolleys in El Fasher So that’s what happens to luggage trolleys at Heathrow once their wheels are deemed too wonky. They end up at El Fasher airport, North Darfur, where they are wheeled up and down approximately 10 metres of paving before they get stuck in the sand.

April 14, 2008

Olympic Dreams

Abubaker Kaki is world indoor 800m champion. He trains with blocks of concrete for weights There can’t be many Olympic medal prospects who use bits of rubble for weights and train on a track with gaping holes. Yet Abubaker Kaki Khamis, a genuine hope for Sudan in the 800m, has to make do with the […]

April 11, 2008

No Football Please, We’re Janjaweed

Sileia’s football pitch Sileia in West Darfur was snatched by rebels of the Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) last year. It was recaptured by the Government of Sudan in February, using Antonov bombers and the Janjaweed to do most of the work. It is a dusty, broken-down town reached by a bone-crunching three-hour drive along […]

April 8, 2008

In Event of Attack First Remove Tie

This post is a couple of days old, for reasons I may explain once I am out of Darfur with no possible risk of arrest… “So should we be worried?” I asked the man sitting across the table from me at the Humanitarian Aid Commission in El Fasher, North Darfur. He didn’t answer. Instead, he […]

April 5, 2008

Boycotts and Brickbats

The Liberal Democrats – never ones to fail to jump on a bandwagon just as everyone else is realising that it is a pointless exercise – have written to Gordon Brown asking him to boycott the Olympics opening ceremony. They have joined the clamour for action to be taken over Tibet, Darfur and China’s generally […]

April 3, 2008

Rocket Chicken

Day nine waiting for my permit to travel to Darfur. This is usual. No need to panic just yet. Although a pal from Nairobi is in town and approaching day 21. So to pass the time Al Siir and I went to one of his favourite lunch venues, the Albawad Tourism Restaurant which is famous […]

April 2, 2008

Parties Postponed in Khartoum

An open-air bathroom showroom Khartoum is a different place to the one I visited last year. Diplomatic staff are picked up each morning in armoured cars, embassy social events have been cancelled or are happening at random times and “wives” (not spouses, my mole tells me) have been warned to vary their daily routine, presumably […]

March 31, 2008

Only in Khartoum

Al Siir, Khartoum’s best fixer Al Siir is something of a legend among journalists visiting Khartoum. He has been imprisoned alongside a Financial Times reporter and been the subject of a feature in Newsweek. As far as I am concerned he is the best fixer by far in a city where few taxi drivers speak […]