CSI is an international, Christian human rights organization, campaigning for religious liberty and human dignity, and assisting victims of religious persecution, victimized children and victims of catastrophe. CSI was founded in 1977 in Switzerland by Rev. Hans Stückelberger, following peaceful demonstrations in support of persecuted Christians. Learn more about CSI at http://csi-usa.org
I remember the South a little, but I know nothing about it.I was just a toddler when I was kidnapped.Arab cattle keepers came to my house when my parents were away and took me.They put me on a bull’s back and took me to the North.
I lived in the North, in a cattle camp in Adeela, for twenty-five years.My master was a man named Adi Dloom Deldoom.He is a bad man.He and the other masters beat people terribly.Life is terrible for southerners in the North.I have scars on my forehead and the back of my head from his beatings.
My masters forced me into Islam.They wouldn’t let me eat with other people unless I was a Muslim.
I decided to escape because of the beatings.I took my master’s cattle to the bush, and then ran away.I walked for five days to the city of Abu Jabra, then through the forest to South Sudan.I arrived here a few days ago.I knew South Sudan was free, and I wanted to be here.
I am staying with the local payam administrator here.I want to go to church, and find my family.I know my mother’s first name, and the names of two of my sisters. I do not know the names of my brothers or my father.
Many, many people are still trapped in slavery where I came from.
Help CSI rescue people trapped in slavery in Sudan, like the people Matot left behind. To donate to this program, go to www.csi-usa.org.
I was very young when I was abducted, but I remember it.I was in Rum Angar.There was fighting, and I saw some people killed.I was put on horseback by the raiders and taken to the North.I lived in Dar Afat in Kordofan state with a man named Manook Adam.
Manook Adam was not a good person.He beat me if I was too sick to work.He gave me food, but not very much – just a little flour to mix with milk to make porridge.His wife, Alim Adit, also beat me.
He made me take care of his cattle.Every year, he would promise me a cow of my own, “as soon as it grows up.” When the cow grew up, he would say, “No, not that cow, another.” This happened many times.I never got a cow.
Manook has four daughters and five sons.He also called me his child, but he treated me differently.His children went to school.I never got to go to school.
Many times, Manook promised to give me one of his daughters to marry, as soon as she matured.Each time the daughter he promised me matured, he said, “Not this one, another.”
Another boy who was abducted from Rum Angar with me worked for Manook Adam.Once, this boy was giving water to Manook’s cattle.One of the neighbor’s cows came and butted in and started drinking water too.The boy became angry and beat the cow, and it died.Then the neighbor came and cut the boy’s throat.Manook wasn’t angry about it.He said the boy was “just a servant, just a jengai [a racial epithet].”
Before I went to live in the North, I was a Christian, but there was no church where I lived.Manook Adam was a Muslim, and I became a Muslim in the North.He forced me to.He said, “I don’t want a kaffir [unbeliever] living with me.You must be a Muslim.” He renamed me Mohammad, and made me pray with him every evening.I also had to learn about the Qur’an with the other boys during Ramadan.
I was so happy when the slave retriever came because I knew I was going south to see my relatives, my uncles and my brothers.I never imagined I would one day come back to the South.Here we are in freedom, not in somebody else’s hand.I can work as a farmer.
I will have to decide whether to go to the church or the mosque here.There were a few churches in Dar Afat, but I was forced to go to the mosque.
I have two younger brothers still in slavery in the North – Door, and Door Garang.I have heard that they are in Abu Jaba.I don’t know where my parents are.
The beads in my hand are for prayer.When you finish praying, you count the beads all the way through.Every time you count 10 beads, you say, “In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate.”
To help free Athian’s brothers and others still held in slavery in North Sudan, go to www.csi-usa.org.
I know I was abducted, but I don’t remember it.I don’t know where I’m from in the South.I don’t remember my parents.But I knew I didn’t belong in the North.When the slave retriever brought me to the group of people he was taking back to the South, I realized I belonged with them.
I grew up in Meiram in North Sudan. I lived with my master, Adallah Siid. Adallah Siid made me do difficult jobs, and beat me if I was tired.He also beat Abuk and Achol, two older slaves in his house. They were kind to me.
One day six years ago, I was too sick to work, and I told Adallah.He took a stick and beat me on the leg with it.After that, my leg became thinner and thinner. Now it won’t move on its own.
I was about to be circumcised when I was freed.I don’t know why they wanted to do this to me, but Adallah Siid told me they were going to.I knew refusal means punishment.
The slave retriever found me in the market, and negotiated for my release with Adallah.Abuk and Achol had to stay behind.
I’m happy to be in South Sudan.This is Dinka land.In the North, we were beaten all the time, but not here.There are churches here, and we’ve been going to church on Sunday.I like it very much.I think God is good.That’s why he brought me back here.When the rain comes, I will farm.I will also try to find my relatives.I forget my father’s face, but I remember his name.
Arab/Muslim name: Abdul Fadl Abdullah Ash-Sharif [“slave of Fadl Abdullah Ash-Sharif”]
Liberated: March 2013
I was captured when I was about 12 years old, in 2001.There was fighting in my village, Wakabil, and I was taken by the raiders.I remember seeing a dead body lying on the ground as I was taken away.
When we arrived in the North, the raiders divided us up.I went to live in Baba Noussa in Kordofan state, with a man named Fadl Abdullah Ash-Sharif.He made me his son.I didn’t like that, but there was no way to resist.He made me work, selling water from house to house in town from his donkey cart.Fadl was a bad man.He would beat me if he thought I didn’t feed the donkey enough, or if I didn’t make enough money selling water.
I slept alone in a rakuba [hut] made from millet cane.Other Dinka slaves worked in Fadl’s fields, but I didn’t see them very often.I would talk to them when I brought them water.They were kind people.
Fadl had seven children and two wives.The children were kind to me but the wives often didn’t give me enough food.
I learned to speak Arabic, but I had no time to learn Islam because of my work.In the South, my family was Christian, but there was no church nearby for us to attend.
I was brought back to the South by the slave retriever.He came to Fadl’s house and talked to him.After they talked, they called me in to join them.Fadl asked me, “Do you want to go with this man?” I said yes, because I wanted to go home.At first, Fadl seemed to refuse, but he eventually agreed.
I sometimes thought I might get to come back to the South, but I wasn’t sure.I’m so happy to be here.I don’t know where my parents are, but I will look for them.I will work farming peanuts.I want to become a Catholic Christian.I thank you so much, and I thank the slave retriever who brought us here from far away.In the name of Jesus, thank you.
Thank you for helping to free Marach! Help CSI bring freedom to more people enslaved in North Sudan by donating at our website.
Bol Athian Bol (male, middle-aged) Arab/Muslim name: Gamardiin Liberated: March 2013
I don’t remember exactly when I was captured. It was sometime in the late 1980s. There was fighting in Warawar between [Sudanese President] Omar Bashir’s people and the SPLA. The SPLA fled, and then the soldiers came and burned down the houses and took the people. I was a young man.
The soldiers came in cars, and the murahileen came on camels and horses. They loaded up the cars with goods from the town, and tied up the people and put them on the horses. I was captured by a man named Babakir and put on a horse and taken to Baba Noussa in Kordofan.
Babakir made me work as a farmer in the cattle camps. He assigned an overseer to me. They were both bad men. They made me work from sunup to sundown, and often beat me. Once, I tried to escape. They caught me and tortured me, cutting deep into my ankles with knives. I was terrified – I thought they were going to saw my feet off. [Massive scars on the ankles are visible.]
Babakir gave me a Muslim name, Gamardiin, and told me I had to be a Muslim. He forced me to learn the Qur’an and Arabic. I didn’t like it, but he threatened to kill me if I refused. I know the Qur’an, and I read Arabic. [He recites from the Qur’an for the interviewers, and reads a sentence in Arabic written by them.] Babakir brought in a special teacher for me and the other slaves. The teacher would beat us if we didn’t learn.
I studied the Qur’an for six years. They told me, “After you have learned the Qur’an, you are no longer a southerner. You are no longer a Dinka. You are a Muslim. You are our son.”
After that, I was given a slave woman as a wife. She lived with me for some years. Her name was Abuk, and her Muslim name was Amouna. We had two sons – Garang, and Deng. I didn’t give them Arab or Muslim names, because they were my children.
Eventually, Abuk ran away with the children. I don’t know where they are, or even if they are in the South or still in the North. I was sad, because I loved them, but there was nothing I could do. [Bol is asked why he thinks Abuk left.] I was a slave, and she was a slave. She wanted to be free.
The slave retriever came to our village looking for southerners to take home. He is a good man who cares for people. Babakir came to me and said, “You must go,” and handed me over. I was happy, because I knew I was coming back to South Sudan. I wasn’t sure if I ever would.
Now, I’m getting old. The only job I can do is farming. I will look for my relatives. If I don’t find them, I will stay here and farm.
You can help more people like Bol come home from slavery! Please visit our website, www.csi-usa.org, and make a donation to support our efforts to free the slaves of Sudan and support persecuted Christians around the world.
I was born in Malwal Bai.I was 14 when I was abducted.I was in my sister’s house in Mabiar Anguei, along the railway.The murahileen came on horseback.They took a lot of people, both children and adults.My sister’s neighbor’s child was executed because she was too exhausted to walk.The raiders killed another child and an old man for the same reason.They were either beaten to death or their throats were slit.Three young men who tried to run away were shot and killed as they ran.I saw this with my own eyes.
It took us three days to reach the north.When we arrived, we were divided up.A man named Maduba Adam from Mowglid took me.He used me as a wife.He did not ask me what I wanted.I had five children from him.He did not treat me well.He hit me all the time.
Maduba had a wife, named Fatima.She didn’t like me.She insulted me, calling me “jengai” [a racial epithet].I had to do everything in the house while she sat around.
Maduba wanted me to be a Muslim.He and his wife and brothers taught me Arabic, and the Qur’an. [Achol recites a sura from the Qu’ran for the interviewers, and converses with them in formal Arabic.]I am a Muslim, and I will continue in Islam.But I will not go back to the North.They beat people and insult people there.I don’t want to go back.
A year ago, I tried to escape.I heard that South Sudan was independent, and I was sick of always being beaten.I tried to escape with another female slave in Maduba’s house, but we were caught, and Maduba tried to kill me by slitting my throat.He cut my throat deeply. [Massive scarring on the throat is visible.] I screamed for help and lost consciousness, and the neighbors and the local authorities came and rescued me.They took me to the health center.The slave retriever found me there.
I wanted to take my children to South Sudan, but they remained behind.So did the woman who tried to run away with me.I told the slave retriever about my children.He told me, “It’s not possible to bring them now, but I will try to get them later.” Their names are Hamad, Gadija, Kaltouma, Fanna and Ali – two boys and three girls.I’m not sure if I will see them again.
Athian Athian Bol (male, middle-aged) and Garang Athian Athian (male, 8)
Liberated: March 2013
Athian: I was captured in 1987.I was taking my cows to sell in Rum Aker.Before I entered the town, the murahileenfound me and took me and my cows.
In the North, I lived in Abu Jaber, working as a farm laborer for a man named Adam Boro.He was only kind to me if I worked from morning to evening.I was a Christian before, but in the North I was forced to become a Muslim.I was renamed Mohammad Nouf.
This is my son, Garang.He was born in 2005.His mother was also a slave, named Agol Wach.Adam Boro gave her to me.Adam Boro was not kind to Garang.He would beat him up if he refused to run errands.
One Saturday, I learned that the slave retriever was in a nearby town name Gura.I decided to run away with Garang to find him.Agol didn’t know we were leaving.She was away tending the sheep, and there was no time to tell her.I couldn’t risk losing the chance.
I left because I was in slavery, and working without pay.But I was afraid.I would have been killed if we were caught.Garang might have been too.
The journey south was not easy for Garang.At times there was not enough water or food.He has become sick with a cough.
I want to see Agol again.I need her.If there is a way she can be brought home, I want that.The slave retriever knows about her, and has promised to find her if he can.
Here in the South, I will go to where I was born: Man Tiout.I will try to be a farmer there.
I’m very happy to be in the South.I will not be enslaved again!
I was captured in Ariath in 2001.My home village is Malek Allel.I had gone to Ariath with two of my mother’s relatives to sell goods.They ran away when the raiders came.Four other people were taken with me.The Arabs put the children on horses, but tied up the adults in a line and made them walk.After a while, two of the adults became totally exhausted.They said, “Either kill us or put us on a horse.We cannot walk anymore.” So the Arabs cut their throats.One of them said to the rest of us, “Do you want to stay in the South like them?”
I was taken to Dar Afat to live with my master Mohammad Adallahi.He was a bad man.He sent me to the well to collect water even when it was hot, and the sand was burning and I had no shoes.He beat me with a stick if I asked for shoes.He made me call him “father.”
Mohammad had eighteen children and five wives.His boys raped me, though he did not know it.The women were always making me cook for them.
Before the slave retriever came to take me, one of Mohammad’s wives told me that I was to be circumcised.She said, “You will be clean.You will be part of us.You will be our child.” I did not believe her.
I thought about running away at night to escape the circumcision, but I was afraid.I told one of the master’s children what I was thinking, and he told the master.They punished me by keeping me inside the house for a week, and giving me no food for four days.I was so scared they would kill me.I spent the whole first day crying.
In October 2012, five teenage Dinka slaves had run away.They were caught in Meiram and taken back.They were taken to a rubbish heap, where their throats were cut.Mohammad took me to see their bodies. I remember there was a lot of blood.He pointed at them and said, “You will follow these people!” The boys had been slaves of one of Mohammad’s neighbors.Their names were Garang, Deng, Athian, Bol and Bol.
After that, in February 2013, before I was to be circumcised, I was sent to the market to fetch something.A truck full of Dinka people passed me by on the road and then stopped.The slave retriever got out of the truck and asked me, “Are you a Dinka?” I said yes.He said, “Get in the truck!” and I did.
The slave retriever brought me here.He is a good man, and gave us lots of bread on the journey.I don’t know if Mohammad knows where I went.
I don’t know if I’d recognize my parents.My mother’s name is Adut Atak Garang.I want to work, and I want to go to school.I’m very happy to be in the South.Here, I will never be called “jengai” again.
Adhel was spared a terrible fate at the hands of her slave masters, but many people remain trapped in slavery in Sudan. Please help us set them free!
In this powerful piece for the Jewish Advocate, Jewish human rights activist Dr. Charles Jacobs cites CSI’s Genocide Warning for religious minorities in the Middle East, and examines the reasons for the West’s silence on this issue:
Why is the West so shamefully silent in the face of the onslaught against Christian peoples and communities throughout the Islamic realm?
If the reasons for this are not understood - and if the silence continues - we are almost sure to witness bloody religious/ ethnic “cleansings,” if not actual genocides.
The Syrian Christians in Damascus, whose church has just been bombed by anti-Bashar al-Assad rebels, know their community will be wiped out if Assad is toppled. The Christian Copts in Egypt can see what the Salafists have in store for them as the Muslim Brotherhood assumes more and more control. The Copts’ daughters are already being raped, their priests beaten, their churches set aflame. From Nigeria to Malaysia, from Pakistan to Iraq, from Uzbekistan to Tanzania, Christians are arrested, harassed and threatened. Murder is in the air.
Some in the West see what is coming. The Middle East Forum recently launched a monthly update on Christian persecution in Islamic lands. Last year, Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a “genocide warning” concerning the endangered non-Muslim minorities (mostly Christians) in North Africa and the broader Islamic Middle East. John Eibner, President of CSI’s USA branch, asked President Barack Obama to speak out on behalf of the endangered Christians.
Obama has not spoken out. But neither have the “human rights” community and other “caring and compassionate” people who endlessly talk about social justice. And sadly, neither have Christian pastors and priests. Why are both the left and the Christians abandoning these people to their fate? I can see 10 reasons.
The left’s silence
1. Crime by non-Westerners distracts from the left’s message. For many Western progressives, guilt over past Western crimes of colonialism and slavery narrows their focus to horrors committed by Westerners. This enables them to cast themselves as “the good whites” and be exonerated of Western sin. Apartheid committed by South African whites moved them greatly; to protest Arab/Muslim attacks today on Christians would distract from their message and blunt their purpose.
2. Christians cannot be seen as victims.
Progressives perseverate on the notion that Christian missionaries were an arm of Western colonialists, and tricked Asian and African natives with religious mumbo jumbo. Also uppermost in their minds: Christians allowed -and Christian teachings abetted - Hitler’s genocide of Europe’s Jews. The progressives’ history, however, omits centuries of Islamic conquest (by the sword, not the work of missionaries), slaughter, and enslavement of pagans and subjugation of Jewish and Christian communities - which, by the way, preceded Islam in Egypt and of course Israel. Few progressives ever understood that “the tragedy of Sudan” was a murderous anti-Christian (and anti-tribalist) jihad.
3. Pointing to crimes by one’s adversaries hinders “peace.”
Apart from their incomplete and biased view of history, progressives have a PC/therapeutic view of peacemaking: Discussion of Islamist human-rights crimes is barred as “unhelpful” at best and “racist” at worst. To make peace, their theory goes, we must appease and not offend “the other,” and we must think of our adversaries as no different from ourselves. One should not describe cultures that wish only to dominate, encourage men to rape, and force others to reject their own religious faiths. In other words, progressives would object to reporting on what is happening to the Christians in the Muslim world.
4. Many progressives see themselves in a culture war with Christians.
Many progressives may not wish to help persecuted Christians in the Middle East and in Asia because they are at war with Western Christians here over such things as gay marriage, women’s clergy inequality, and abortion. Why help your “enemies?”
5. Ignorance, which is sometimes willful.
For the sake of peaceful relations, the media (see “progressives” above) fails to fully inform Christians about Christian suffering at the hands of Muslim radicals. Christian pastors, some of whom have been told by their Muslim “dialogue partners” that any such talk threatens to harm interfaith harmony here, opt for a similar silence. The Diocese of Worcester recently cancelled a talk on Christian persecution by renowned scholar Robert Spencer of JihadWatch.org for precisely that reason.
6. Fear of doing further harm.
The Christian communities in the Islamic realm are effectively hostages. Popes and preachers have known for centuries that Western agitation for Christian rights under - and protection from - their Muslim overlords pose threats to the very lives of the people they wish to help.
7. Christians are not a “people.”
Christians here don’t identify with other practitioners of their faith as “family” - in the way, for example, that Jews do. Recently, Christian students at Gordon College, a Christian school on the North Shore, explained to me that unlike the Jews who mobilized throughout all their communities when one Jew - Gilad Shallit - was kidnapped, Christians are not “a family like the Jews who all come from Abraham and who carry his blood.” (I suggested that the global jihad might cure them of this viewpoint - that their fate was tied now to all Christians.)
8. Few available victims as spokespeople.
When the American Anti-Slavery Group organized mass American support for freeing the slaves of Sudan, our effort was helped immeasurably by escaped slaves who told their personal stories eloquently in English at American churches, synagogues and on campuses. Without such powerful voices here, awakening and mobilizing the Christians - and all Americans - will be much more difficult.
9. Christians cut off from their history
In the American psyche, as Henry Ford suggested, “history is bunk.” Among American Christians there is not much interest in keeping foreign, ancient Christian communities alive, even the cradles of Christian civilization. In Bethlehem, Christians are disappearing at an alarming rate due to Arab/Islamist pressure, with no audible protest in the West.
10. Christian Zionists are otherwise occupied.
Christian Zionists know more than most about Christian suffering under the Islamists. But, strange as it may seem to us Jews, they are motivated overwhelmingly by the duty they feel toward the Jewish people. They have not been convinced that mobilizing here for their own Christian brethren in the Middle East would do more for Israel (I believe it just might) than continuing to “just” be the amazing Zionists they are.
Eibner put it this way in his letter to President Obama: “At the Holocaust Museum, Mr. President, you repeated a truth of which American policymakers must never lose sight: “Preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America.”
Americans of all political stripes and religious denominations need to remind ourselves of whom we are - and ask ourselves whom we would be if we leave the Christians to what so clearly seems a terrible, terrible fate.
I was captured in Eban in 1998. There was a raid on the village. My house was burned, and my husband and I tried to run. He was shot dead, and I was taken with my five children – two daughters and three sons.
I was held in Meiram, in Darfur North, by a man named Abakir. He had five other Dinka slaves. My job was to grind grain and fill 200-liter oil drums with water. If I managed to fill only two and left one unfilled, he would beat me and force me to sleep with his donkeys.
Sometimes at night he would rape me. I had two children with him. They both died before the age of two – one of diarrhea and one of malnutrition. Abakir called our children “jengai” [a racial epithet].
Abakir had a wife named Sarah. She was unkind, and would call me “jengai” and beat me. One day I had to fill the three drums of water. After I filled the first two, I felt sick and lay down on the floor. Sarah came in and yelled at me. “You dirty Dinka!” she screamed. Then she took a machete and hacked at my hand with it. I lost the use of my left middle finger.
Once I tried to escape, but I was caught, and beaten very badly on the back. Afterwards, the other slaves tried to help me; they made cuts in my back to try to alleviate the swelling. I was too afraid to try to escape again.
I was not allowed to practice my religion or go to church. We were all forced to pray as Muslims. The Dinka women who were taken as young girls were circumcised.
The slave retriever found me at the well with the other female slaves and took us with him. The retriever also found my two daughters. I don’t know where my sons are.
I felt very happy when I crossed the border into South Sudan. I can see this is a good, peaceful place, where the sick are taken care of and where we can work and eat. I will leave soon to search for my relatives.
I’m just very happy. You are all like my brothers.