Someone asked me if I was embarrassed by the liberal tongue-lashing I have come under by voicing my opinion on this new faction that call themselves, "The Elders." Hardly, it is my opinion and I do find it very disturbing that these individuals are taking it upon themselves to be given "ambassador-like" status. Plus, as being a veteran, I feel it is my right (which I personally fought for, and some of my personal friends DIED for.)
If Jimmy Carter had been jailed, or killed, in his recent encounter, who do you think would suffer because of it? The imaginary "global village" that they "represent?" No, it would be the plight of the United States soldiers.
Do you really think that we, the United States, would be able to stand by and watch as one of the "Elders" was imprisoned....let's not forget that he is a former president of the United States of America.
Can you imagine Peter Gabriel, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and the rest of these "Elders" and their supporters, suiting up in roit gear to go bust him out? Hardly....Since the U.N. deemed it too dangerous for Carter, I do not see them volunteering U.N. troops (which are mostly U.S. troops anyway) ....
KABKABIYA, Sudan (AP) -- Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter got in a shouting match Wednesday with Sudanese security officials who blocked him from a town in Darfur where he was trying to meet representatives of ethnic African refugees from the ongoing conflict.
The governor of North Darfur, Youssouf Kebir greets Jimmy Carter at his residence in El Fasher on Tuesday.
The 83-year-old Carter walked into this highly volatile pro-Sudanese government town to meet refugees too frightened to attend a scheduled meeting at a nearby compound.
Carter was able to make it to a school where he met with one tribal representative and was preparing to go further into the town when Sudanese security services interrupted.
"You can't go. It's not on the program!" the local national security chief, who only gave his first name as Omar, yelled at Carter, who is in Darfur as part of a delegation of respected international figures known as "The Elders."
"We're going to anyway!" an angry Carter retorted, telling security officers they didn't have the authority to stop him.
As a growing crowd gathered around the former president, Carter's U.S. security detail and his African Union escort tried to ease tensions. Carter later agreed to a compromise by which tribal representatives would be brought to him at another location later Wednesday.
"I'll tell President Bashir about this," Carter said, referring to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
The Darfur conflict began when ethnic African rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government, accusing it of decades of neglect. Sudan's government is accused of retaliating by unleashing a militia of Arab nomads known as the janjaweed -- a charge it denies.
More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million driven out of their homes in four years of violence.
The visit by "The Elders," which is headed by Carter and Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu, is largely a symbolic move by a host of respected figures to push all sides to make peace in Darfur.
While Tutu led a group to the Otash refugee camp in south Darfur on Wednesday, the U.N. mission in Sudan deemed it too dangerous for Carter to visit a refugee camp.
The former U.S. president instead flew to a World Food Program compound in Kabkabiya, where he was supposed to meet with local community members including some ethnic African refugees, many of whom were chased from their homes by pro-government janjaweed and Sudanese government forces.
But as the meeting was set to get under way, none of the nongovernment refugee representatives arrived, and Carter decided to walk out into the town to try to talk with them.
"The Elders" delegation is trying to use their influence at a crucial time -- with peace talks due to start in Libya and deployment of a 26,000-strong hybrid African Union-U.N. peacekeeping force to begin later this month.
Tensions are running high after rebels overran an AU peacekeeping base in northern Darfur, killing 10 in the deadliest attack on the beleaguered force since it arrived in the region three years ago.
Carter said Wednesday that he felt "The Elders" trip was proving effective. He said al-Bashir told him this week that Sudan has committed $100 million to a fund for Darfur's reconstruction and another $200 million has been pledged by Chinese diplomatic allies.
Carter said the main goal of three-day visit to Sudan was to seek guarantees for free and fair elections throughout the country in 2009.
Observes fear the elections could be postponed and warn that this could imperil the fragile peace in southern Sudan and worsen the conflict in Darfur.
If on time and open, the slated 2009 general elections would be the first democratic election since al-Bashir came to power in a military and Islamist coup in 1989.
Carter said during a private meeting with al-Bashir in Khartoum, the Sudanese president had vowed the elections would take place.
"If the CPA fails to fulfill its commitment to free and fair elections and democracy in this country, all other efforts will be futile," Carter said, referring to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended 21 years of civil war between Sudan's Muslim government in the north and the Christian and animist rebels in the south has improved life.