Total Pageviews

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Egyptian Barbecue

Last night I went to Zamzam and took this photo of some of the sixty Egyptians who have finished their mission. Thirty three of them should have left on 05 December, but since they had not yet received their money they were forced to stay to wait for the money. According to my calculations the inability of the AU to pay these Military Observers has already resulted in the AU losing $252 450 and with the inclusion of the twenty seven Egyptian CIVPOL members who ended their mission days ago that amount has gone up sharply. Every day they stay here means the AU loses more money. It would make sense that to pay them on time would have resulted in a massive saving. Constantly the AU approaches especially EU countries for more funds and these countries just give, but maybe somebody should start asking some questions. The last time I was paid was three weeks ago when I was paid up to November 2006. If there is a legitimate problem with the AU paying us then why do they not inform us of the problem? The AU's constant silence leaves me with a list of unanswered questions that, if asked, will leave them squirming in their seats. The time is fast approaching that many of these questions have to be answered.

Narcissistic Birdie

Who's the prettiest bird in Darfur? Yesterday we found Mr I'm Too Sexy here admiring his fine features in the mirror of the other outside bathroom. This morning as I left for work I heard the same familiar tapping and yes, he was back again admiring himself. He's worse than Robbie Williams! These little birds have real attitudes as well. A while ago at the HQ I watched some of them playing about. One was sitting on the sand and at that moment I decided to visit the rest room. I gave a few steps in his direction thinking that I would find him flying off, but no; the little bird cocked his tiny head to ne side and looked at me as if to say, "Just who the hell do you think you are!?" He managed to make me deviate a centimetre from my intended route.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sis

This is my sister, Carike, whose birthday it is today. Last year on the day before her birthday our father was in a bad vehicle accident. This year I think she is much happier. I took the photo at Katberg in September when I was home for my leave. Happy Birthday, Carike and say hi to Dewald, Gunther, Mom and Dad for me.


I took this photo from the guard tower earlier today. As you can see the sky was still dusty. In the foreground one can see the coloured concrete platform from where the guard of honour take up position every morning to salute the Force Commander and any visiting VIP's.

Dusty Skies

The wind was blowing last night so this morning the sun struggled to shine through.

The Effective Management of Nothing

In order to manage nothing ensure one has aquired enough of nothing to begin with. Too little of nothing is not worth the effort and too much of nothing may lead to something. The last thing one needs is a little of something aquired from having too much of nothing. Now once one has enough of nothing one can do something like filing nothing in a file entitled "Managing Nothing." One should ensure that one has placed nothing inside a container marked "My Nothing" first. It would not help if one had a file pertaining to nothing, but had no nothing to actually show for one's efforts. Now once one has aquired nothing and filed it under nothing one can do things like looking at it daily so as to ensure that one still has nothing and that it did not change into something. If for some reason one finds that one suddenly has something or even worse, no nothing, one should try to engage in an activity or engage in nothing so as to aquire more nothing. Once one has learned to manage nothing effectively one may suddenly find one has absolutely nothing. Once one has absolutely nothing one may rest assured that one will never have something, anything or everything.

The truely effective managers of nothing have the ability to promote nothing in such a way that many people will sponsor nothing based on absolutely no proof that nothing exists or that nothing is managed affectively. The reason for this it seems is that everybody wants something and in order to get something they need to act like the managers of nothing are managing nothig effectively. The absence of actual effective management of nothing is not something the people are really interested in. As long as nothing is managed they believe that everything is alright. Nothing irritates sponsors of nothing as much as when managers of something or -everything try to put down the managers of nothing as actually managing nothing and not not managing nothing effectively.

Thus it is of extreme importance that our future managers of nothing read this so as to ensure that they manage nothing effectively and not fall into the pitfalls of managing something or everything. Remember, nothing means as much as having effectively managed nothing to show for one's efforts.

This memo was written for absolutely no reason by absolutely nobody and has nothing to do with anything, something or everything, but has definately something to do with nothing.

by W.G. Klokow

El Fashier University

El Fashier has a university or at least it is called a university. We constantly see taxis enter and leave the campus.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

40 Days

As of today I have 40 Days left in the mission. In South Africa the day when a soldier has only forty days left on a deployment is significant. Usually it is accompanied by a party, but I think this one will be low-key.

I feel like I have come some distance in accomplishing a task. My goal was to make a difference and I think with this website I may have helped in doing that. The task however is not yet completed and may not be for some time to come. If we are to achieve a situation in Darfur where people can live freely in their own country with no significant fear, a lot of attitudes still have to be changed.

If a world based on love was what we wanted there would be no problems, but it is an
unfortunate reality that civilisations live their lives based on usually narrow-minded beliefs where they try to find differences between themselves and others based on religion, race, economics, culture and the likes. Nothing makes us as blind as hate and while we stumble around blindly in the world our children learn from our prejudices, grow up and to fit into a society they refer to other civilisations in the same demeaning way they were taught by their parents.

I believe if we want to make a difference in Darfur it starts with us. Maybe the view you have of other people is distorted because of what you have in your eye? We live in an exciting new era where every person in this world now has a voice due to the internet. In the past if a society was wronged they had to rely on the media to get their stories out, but now every single person can get his or her story out on his or her own terms. Make no mistake; this is the future and many unjust governments will topple.

So I would like to thank all those who have made an effort to visit my website and I would like to thank those who are openly challenging the issues that are unjust in the world today and especially those who challenge the situation in Darfur.

More than 60 million people in the world now have blogs. If you are reading this, you are witnessing an international revolution.

Maj Jan-Owe Bengtsson and I

I was invited last night to attend a going-away party at the EU house. They were saying farewell to an Italian colleague who is leaving. Maj Bengtsson is from Sweden and is the one who invited me after we met a while back at the AMIS HQ where he is working IT. In the background one can see the El Fashier Airport.

How does this Work?

Maj Nawa, Maj Askvik and Snr Supt Elder, and I was taking the photo. We were trying to figure out exactly what the AU wants us to do in the JOC (Joint Operations Centre). At this stage we do not have a mission statement.


This is a photo of the foundation of the house I posted earlier. The sun was rising as I walked to work.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Another Day in "Paradise"

"I have been in Darfur long enough now. Time to go home." That is the attitude of most guys who have been here for more than eight months. For most of us it is a matter of getting the days over. I also hope that the UN takes over this mission sooner rather than later. The presence of the AU has probably prevented genocide from continuing, but it is too uncoordinated and mismanaged to do the job properly.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Happy Birthday

On Friday it was the birthday of Maj Page so we had another surprise party. I have never been to a surprise party in my life and suddenly I have two in two days. I am wondering now if I will be home for my birthday on 8 April.

Going Home

On Thursday we organised a small surprise party for Colonel Yasser Abbas who will be returning to Egypt within a week or two. Thank you for all the good times, sir, and take care.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Dreaming of our Pay

I thought this photo to be appropriate since it seems we have a better chance of going to the moon than to get our money on time. When I returned from my leave in early January I received my money for October and that was the last money I have seen. This situation of late payments by the AU has been ongoing for all the time I have been here and has already forced me to have to change my leave plans once. A while back a friend of mine had to loan a woman $600 since the money she was entitled to was not yet paid to her and that would have meant she would have had to miss spending Christmas with her husband and children even though she was entitled to and had already planned her leave for this occasion. This is only one of many such problems caused to loyal members of AMIS and it seems as if nobody can or wants to change the current state of affairs.

Sport and South Africans

Those who do not know, South Africans are considered sport mad. At the moment a season of cricket and rugby is starting that will have us glued to the screen most of the time when we are not working. Pakistan is concluding their cricket series, the Cricket World Cup starts on 13 March and the Rugby Super 14 has already started. What a terriffic way to make our final 54 days speed past.

Houses like Mushrooms

In our area houses are springing up like mushrooms. This foundation marks the spot for a new house. Speculation is rife that the houses are UN sponsored for UN members as well as privately built to make use of the good prices paid by the UN for accommodation. Out of this picture there is about five or six other houses being built.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Taxi Area

These small white and blue Hyundais are the main vehicles used as taxis in Sudan. Strangely enough, they perform well even in sand. It makes one think why you would actually need a 4x4 vehicle. The market is so much more busy now than was the case in December during the unrest.

Vegetable Market

Before I arrived in Darfur all food I thought I was good at preparing was toast and eggs, but necessity has taught me to prepare much more interesting meals. Colonel Ehab and I went to the market to purchase some provisions for "potjiekos" that I was going to prepare and I took this photo. Currently the market is overflowing with vegetables so prices are quite low, unless you work for the AU or UN.