The Nuba Mountains have been subject to a cease-fire since 2002, and this has been incorporated into the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. International personnel have participated in a peace-monitoring mission since 2002. The book and films were made before that therefore they don't represent the current situation.

Synopsis of the book and documentary film:

NUBA: Pure People

The Nuba people, ninety-nine black African tribes living in the Nuba Mountains situated in the Sudanese province of South Kordofan, have been besieged by the regular Sudanese Army for fifteen years. The genocide perpetrated on the Nuba people, obviously the result of the world powers’ struggle over Sudanese natural riches, remains concealed from the world public: no observers, reporters or even members of humanitarian organisations are allowed into the Nuba Mountains, the most inaccessible place on the planet. In the besieged Nuba Mountains there is no electricity, no petrol, not a single shop or restaurant, no waste ... the mountains are the least consumer-oriented spot on the globe. The Nuba Mountains are the heart of solid stone darkness, in the safety of which persist the last of the fighters for the right to be a Nuba. The Nuba Mountains are the black hole of the planet Earth, and yet one of the rare examples of primordial human sensibility and symbiotic relationship between Man and Nature, and people among themselves, that has managed to survive the twilight of the ancient gods. When I first went there twenty years ago, I encountered original human democracy, joy of life, trance and ecstasy. I arrived with a donkey, two goats and four hens. A newly-graduated economist, I was warmly welcomed in the village of the Mesaquin Quisar tribe, and became a student of the culture in Europe deemed primitive and barbarian.

Later, I tried to find people like the Nuba all over the world, but to no avail. In the early nineties I heard the news of the war which had broken out in the Nuba Mountains. It took me a couple of years to prepare, and to gather courage to go back there: I returned to the Nuba people in the dry season of 1998, eighteen years after my first visit. I was quite experienced in illegal cycling (Tibet), and I crossed into the Sudan in the north, at Wadi Halfa, and followed the Nile upstream through the desert Nubia, all the time searching for the remains of the Nubian culture, according to some theories related to the Nuba people in the Nuba Mountains. Every night I was put up under a different hospitable roof, directly tasting human hearts and minds. A great majority of the Sudanese in the north are unhappy with the current government and cannot identify themselves with the Arabic Islamic fundamentalism; they are pious, spiritual rather than materialistic people interested mostly in love. They do not understand their southern African brothers, they even despise them, feel ashamed of them and blame them for everything that is bad in the Sudan; in their opinion, their southern compatriots are selling themselves to the interest of foreigners who, in the general chaos, manipulate the indigenous people and try to get hold of the local resources as cheaply as possible.

In Khartoum my camera was stolen, but with Allah’s help I managed to repossess it. The local bulletin Dar carried an article about me, about a ‘Sufi student, cycling around and looking for God«. Rahala is a pilgrim who goes and sees and tells others, but never harms anybody with what he learns. I asked for an interview with Mr Tamurabi - I tried to protect myself in case anything went wrong. Then I forged a tourist pass for travelling and - with a prayer for help to all earthly and heavenly powers photocopied from Dar - found myself astride the bicycle among the first cherubs of the forbidden territory.

The story keeps the reader in suspense, and is meant to reach a wider public in order to convey the message entrusted to me by the besieged ‘last of the black Mohicans’.

In Abassya, I was captured by security officers. After two days of interrogation, threats and attempts at being forcibly turned into a Muslim, I was free to go. Another miracle happened when I met an understanding angel in the person of Colonel Ali Baldo after the Army had put me in prison at Abu Gubeiha. I escaped, and was in trouble again in Kau and Niaro. A Sultan in Fungor, local chief of police, took a fancy to my bike, and let me stay there as a family friend. However, his beautiful young wife interfered ...

Where I had danced with the Mesaquins twenty years before, I found nothing but ashes. The stories I was told by the local people confirmed what I had read in African Rights. I slept in the peace camps of Talodi, Torogi, Buram, Angolo, Reikha ... After having encountered numerous obstacles on the side controlled by the government, I met some rebellious soldiers, but they, fearing revenge of the regular Army, refused to accommodate me. A month later I returned with my wife Barbara who, with her gentle presence, melted the hearts of security and military men of authority in the peace camps of Um Dorein and Um Sardiba we experienced all sorts of things, but did not manage to get into the forbidden area. What separated us from the Nuba was a mine field ...

We left the Sudan and flew to Europe; at the beginning of the rainy season, with the help of the International Nuba Coordination Centre in London, I travelled back via Kenya and landed among the Nuba in a hired plane. During five weeks in August and September I crossed a great deal of the besieged mountains along with the rebel army. The cease-fire signed between the Sudan People Liberation Army and the Khartoum government, during which the aid should have been delivered to the most needy on both sides, was not honoured. The first bombs were dropped the very next day after my arrival. I eye-witnessed the brutal death of four children and two women. In the following weeks I experienced first-hand that the rebellious Nuba are the most endangered people on the planet. That, despite utter destitution, absence of media coverage, starvation and casualties of attacks from air and ground, they are still alive is a miracle probably due to their traditional techniques of co-existence with the power of life. Fertile soil, sorghum, cows, symbiosis with water and air - these are their only possessions, believed to be the most sacred. The Nuba are environment-friendly, highly spiritual Muslims, Christians and pagans who - dancing and singing like our grand-fathers and grand-mothers - are dying on our thresholds. The more they are beaten and oppressed, the more they dance and sing. They are fully aware of self-sufficiency and its influence on their maintaining independence, so they ask no more of us then some media coverage - an opportunity to introduce themselves and invite us to their mountains. What is killing them most is their sad position on the edge of human society. If encouraged, they might also ask for some paper to use as notebooks, some pencils and books, an old generator run by solar power and a computer.

The two hundred pounds of medicaments I took with me were put to use during the first air-raid. Of all humanitarian organisations I encountered only German Emergency Doctors. Three young lady-doctors and two male nurses were the only people not scared by the government ban. I was deeply touched. Roberto Vilotta and I became close friends. He was critical of other humanitarian organisations. He accused Unicef and World Food Programme of participation in the genocide: the humanitarian aid delivered to the government-controlled peace camps is first given to soldiers and their version of janissaries, and the remains are placed to the foot of the mountains as bait to lure the Nuba. In the Arabic as well as Western policies, Vilotta sensed a Mafia-like conspiracy ...

Roberto Vilotta died at the end of August. The death of the sturdy forty-year-old triggered off numerous speculations. After the following air-raid the remaining Germans left. What followed was the last period of extreme famine between the dry and the rainy season; it is the period of months of collective fasting, for the Nuba a traditional way of purification, yet the tribe elders could not remember a time when more people had died of famine in their entire history of slave-hunting. Due to incessant raids in the last season, the Nuba families could not grow enough food to support themselves. Throughout the region one could see files of famished peasants and their families looking for anything edible. They would eat young sprouts and blades of grass, and many suffered from dysentery. During that time a fourth of the remaining 250,000 free Nuba surrendered themselves to the peace camps. Roberto Vilotta was right. I realised that humanitarian aid was not only futile and absolutely misplaced, but also dangerous. I stood on the altar and helplessly watched the victims die.

It rained and rained. Mushrooms and fungi were sprouting everywhere. All my scratches and sores became inflamed, I was rotting alive. No food remained within me, I suffered from severe diarrhoea and kept losing weight. Then life lost all value. The soil was too damped, and I could not be evacuated. The Antonov, which finally flew in from the Kenya border, got stuck in the muddy runway. My body-guard, who was keeping the films with the incriminating shots of killed women and children, was beaten almost to death by a group of soldiers.

They were tried according to local laws, squatting on rocks under the trees, while missiles were being fired from the nearby garrison.

The plane was made ready for take-off after two days of agony.

The Nuba Mountains have been subject to a cease-fire since 2002, and this has been incorporated into the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. International personnel have participated in a peace-monitoring mission since 2002. The book and films were made before that therefore they don't represent the current situation.

 


Complete film
Eyes and Ears of God
on YouTube

Tomo Križnar Foundation
Turistična 4
4202 Naklo

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