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Egypt, the Sudanese refugees and an uncaring world

June 14th, 2007  ·  12 Comments

An Israeli investigative news television program carried a story last night regarding a four-year-old Sudanese girl who was abducted by Egyptian soldiers last month as she and her family tried to make their way into Israel.

Many Sudanese fleeing from the genocide in Darfur have made their way to Egypt, only to find their hosts nearly as hostile as the Arab militiamen who drove them from their homeland. Those who have read a Bible or have knowledge of the Nazi Holocaust have then turned to Israel and the Jews for refuge.

In a telling display of their hospitality, Egyptian soldiers have taken to shooting at desperate Sudanese refugees as they make a dash for the border. Venus, the little girl at the center of last night’s story, was a victim of one such incident.

When the Egyptians opened fire on Venus and her parents less than 100 yards from the border, the frightened family began to run. But little Venus’ legs could not carry her fast enough, and the toddler was separated from her parents in the chaos.

After crossing the border, Venus’ parents turned around to see the girl had been taken by Egyptian soldiers. They begged for her release, but the Egyptians refused and demanded the parents return to their custody.

The distraught mother and father were then picked up by Israeli soldiers, who immediately began to make calls to those who could assist in the situation.

To make a long story short, following five days of intense negotiations that involved the heads of intelligence and the first ladies of both Israel and Egypt, Venus was finally returned to her parents, who had by that time taken up residence and been given jobs in the southern Israel resort town of Eilat.

As I watched this report I became infuriated at the fact that the stories of Venus and so many others like her are being almost completely ignored by the mainstream international press, the United Nations and the loudmouth human rights organizations that are never at a loss for words when it comes to criticizing Israel.

Innocent people, refugees with nothing but the shirts on their backs, are being shot at by heavily armed soldiers for absolutely no reason other than to satisfy their cruel urges. And no one says a word. Can anyone imagine the outcry if Israeli soldiers were the ones firing on these poor souls?

It gets worse.

Earlier this month, in my capacity as a reporter for israel today, I interviewed a Sudanese refugee who had been in Egypt for about two years before coming to Israel. Among other things, he recounted how in late 2005 the Sudanese in Egypt had held a three-month mass demonstration opposite the UN’s office for refugees in Cairo. Though the refugees were protesting against the UN and its lethargic response to their situation, the Egyptians became fed up, and ordered the Sudanese to vacate the square they had occupied.

When threats failed, the Egyptians turned to violence.

This man told me that one night in late December 2005, Egyptian soldiers surrounded the thousands of Sudanese gathered in central Cairo – a gathering that included a large number of women and small children – and doused them all with water. The soldiers then sent massive electrical shocks through the crowd, causing an untold number of injuries.

Then it really started to get bad. When the Sudanese continued to refuse to leave, the soldiers began to beat and shoot at the unarmed refugees. At least 25 were killed.

Did anyone ever hear about this in the mainstream press? I subsequently tried to look it up, and while some small Sudanese news networks and a few personal blogs reported on the massacre, it appears that not one major news outlet carried the story. UN officials here in Israel later confirmed for me that this atrocity did in fact take place.

These stories provide further evidence that the international community in general does not really care about the suffering of displaced, dispossessed and oppressed peoples in other parts of the world. If the world really cared, then there would have long ago been massive global movements and special UN committees for the Sudanese, the Kurds, the Tutsis of Rwanda, etc.

The only reason these things exist for the Palestinians – who by comparison represent almost a non-issue in terms of human rights – is because Israel and the Jews are on the other side of the equation. Mask it with whatever terms or special causes you want, but anti-Semitism is alive and well today, and the proof is in the enormously disproportionate attention received by those who claim to be victims of the Jews.

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12 comments so far ↓

  • 1 Joyce // Jun 14, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    It’s just so frustrating how the international community, and the mainstream press are so biased against Israel, and that the rest of the world can’t, or more to the point won’t see it. Because as you have said, if it had been the Israeli’s instead of the Egyptian’s who committed this violence, it would have been reported around the world. The fact that it wasn’t reported as it should have been, should be proof enough to the world how biased the international community, and the mainstream press are towards Israel. But it seems, that it’s easier for the world to allow Israel to be the scapegoat for the contrived injustices of this world, rather than to acknowledge the truth of anti-semitism towards Israel. And by also allowing this violence committed by the Egyptian’s to be swept under the rug.

  • 2 Charles // Jun 16, 2007 at 4:55 am

    This is just another wonderful example of Muslim rationality . Morality and Radical Islam seldom meet , but that never makes the news .They sacrifice their own children to create a negative image in world opinion against the Jews , the UN knows this and does not criticize the Islamist for doing so . Of course you can’t make those idiots understand that what they did was an atrocity They have no morals . I am not saying that the moderate Muslim is immoral or irrational . The moderate Muslim is victimised as well by Radical Islamist . It was evident that Hezbollah was keeping the Lebanese people from leaving those areas to be attacked only to cause more civilian casualties to show on the news . The Lord will deal with them soon ,so keep it up !

  • 3 Nerah; Something Must Be Done in Darfur // Jun 16, 2007 at 6:40 am

    ever thought about sending the info. to mainstream media like, Glenn Beck of CNN. He would probably report on this. Here is a petition for a no fly zone in Darfur, please sign.
    Shabbat Shalom


  • 4 Ryan // Jun 23, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks, Nerah.

    I have signed the petition and added Beck’s email to my contact list.

  • 5 Netta // Jul 23, 2007 at 12:23 am

    The Sudanese refugees in Israel are in danger of being sent back to Egypt. Please sign this petition:

  • 6 Shoukry Rizk // Oct 15, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    This is old news. I heard about the refugees from southern Sudan and from Darfour being placed in refugee camps treated badly that they went on hungerstrike at times. They were mot allowed to mix with the people. This last incident is new. It showed Israel was kind in accepting refgees from black Africa.

  • 7 KG // Oct 15, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    I rejoice at the rescue of little Venus from the hands of the Egyptian soldiers, and I praise the lifesaving efforts made by all who were involved in the intense negotiations.

    I would agree, at the root of such world apathy as you have described is anti-Semitism.

    But there still is one thing though that escapes my understanding. It is the initial actions that were taken by the parents in this story:

    1.) Egyptians opened fire on Venus (a four year old girl) and her parents less than 100 yards from the border.
    2.) The frightened family began to run.
    3.) Little Venus’ legs could not carry her fast enough.
    4.) After crossing the border, Venus’ parents turned around to see the girl had been taken …”

    What parent would not FIRST pick up their child before taking off to run from live gunfire?

  • 8 samir Ahmad // Aug 6, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    What do you say about what happened to Palestinian refugees by Israel. You are the last one in the world to say any word about humanity and refugees. Shame up on you.

    Samir- Egypt

  • 9 Rev. Betty L. O'Dair // Aug 10, 2008 at 6:22 am

    I have known for many years that the UN would do nothing in countries where help is needed. What are they for? What has happened in Darfur is inhumane, but God sees all, and those who have caused this, and those who refuse to be of help, will all be judged harshly by the Almighty, if not here . I pray for that nation and their people. I pray that many of their people will come to Jesus, and ask His help.

  • 10 Rev. Betty L. O'Dair // Aug 10, 2008 at 6:22 am

    I have known for many years that the UN would do nothing in countries where help is needed. What are they for? What has happened in Darfur is inhumane, but God sees all, and those who have caused this, and those who refuse to be of help, will all be judged harshly by the Almighty, if not here . I pray for that nation and their people. I pray that many of their people will come to Jesus, and ask His help.

  • 11 Enterprisedegree // Dec 4, 2009 at 6:35 pm

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  • 12 HISTORY – Time line [some] Important Dates in radical ‘ISLAM VS WORLD’ « Radicalislamvsworld’s Blog // Feb 26, 2010 at 3:48 am

    [...] Egyptian troops execute another Darfur refugeeIsrael Today, Israel – Aug 6, 2008Egyptian troops have killed at least 20 African refugees trying to reach Israel this year alone. In at least one incident late last year the Egyptians even …Thousands of Sudanese refugees from Darfur have been in Egypt for years. Recently, many have begun making the long difficult trek across the Sinai desert to escape the oppression and discrimination they experience at Egyptian handshttp://www.israeltoday.co.il/default.aspx?tabid=178&nid=16830 [...]