Archive for the ‘Sudan’ Category

Palin Opposed Divestment to Protest Darfur

October 6, 2008

Palin Opposed divestment to Protest Darfur

Return with us now to the thrilling Vice Presidential Debate of October 2, 2008, when Republican Governor Sarah Palin spoke of Darfur:

America is in a position to help. What I’ve done in my position to help, as the governor of a state that’s pretty rich in natural resources, we have a $40 billion investment fund, a savings fund called the Alaska Permanent Fund.

When I and others in the legislature found out we had some millions of dollars in Sudan, we called for divestment through legislation of those dollars to make sure we weren’t doing anything that would be seen as condoning the activities there in Darfur. That legislation hasn’t passed yet but it needs to because all of us, as individuals, and as humanitarians and as elected officials should do all we can to end those atrocities in that region of the world.

Very inspiring.

Just one thing: Governor Palin’s administration opposed legislation mandating divestment of Sudan-related stocks in the Alaska Permanent Fund last year, and only reversed this position sometime in March or April, too late in the session for the bill to pass.

The Governor does mention that the bill wasn’t passed; she neglects to mention that her administration’s initial opposition and late-breaking reversal put the divestment bill on a Bridge to Nowhere. 

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

So Long Sudan

December 3, 2007

So Long Sudan

British schoolteacher Gillian Gibbons received a pardon from Sudan’s President al-Bashir Monday and was deported from the country.

British lawmakers Lord Nazir Ahmed and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi negotiated the compromise over the weekend.

Time magazine’s Sam Dealey reports that the controversy started when a disgruntled former secretary at the school where Gibbons taught, unsuccessful in getting parents to register complaints of religious outrage, registered a complaint with the Education Ministry herself, claiming the Western teacher defiled the Muslim prophet by allowing her 7-year-old students to name the class teddy bear “Mohammad.” Although the traditional standard calls for six months’ incarceration and 40 lashes, Ms. Gibbons was originally sentenced to 15 days in a Khartoum prison.

The fate of the teddy bear remains unknown.


Image by Mike Licht.


Teddy Bear Tribulations

November 30, 2007

Teddy Bear Tribulations

British teacher Gillian Gibbons is in a Khartoum jail for 15 days, convicted of insulting Islam for letting her seven-year-old Sudanese students name a teddy bear Mohammad.

The British Foreign Office wants to get her out sooner. Her attorney wants to appeal. An orderly crowd of a thousand left the peace of local mosques on Friday to ride around in open trucks, brandishing ceremonial swords and calling for Ms. Gibbons’ head.


The Teddy Bear Trial

November 30, 2007

The Teddy Bear Trial

The story has everything to galvanize the UK: Khartoum, a name resonant with British history; democracy mistaken for disrespect; cute kids; a beloved childhood toy; a middle-aged Liverpool schoolmarm; possibility of cruel punishment; love of learning.