Inside Darfur - VICE News

Uploaded by vice on 26.10.2011


SHANE SMITH: Getting into Sudan was really difficult.
We had to fly to London and wait at the Sudanese embassy.
Our contact in Sudan had talked to the ambassador.
And so the ambassador had talked to some minister that
our contact's father was friends with.
So we're waiting.
And I'm like, there's no way this is going to happen.
And at the 11th hour, we got the visa.
They said OK, got on a plane, and then flew
from there to Khartoum.
And the minute you get off the plane, you're like, what's
happening here?
Because everyone's in the jalabiya.
Everyone's got turbans.
There's no foreign people there.
There's no white people there.
It's a very deserty airport, very empty, very hot, at least
in the Sahara.
Lots of security, lots of different--
There's the police.
There's the army.
There's the secret police.
There's this.
There's that.
We talked to our fixer.
And she said, oh by the way, you might get all of your
camera gear confiscated and thrown in jail.
But don't worry, I'll get you out.
So we were terrified the minute we got there that we
were going to get everything taken away from us.
But when we went through, it was 4:00 in the morning.
So they were just tired and bored.
So they just said, OK, well, go through.
Then they never checked our bags, which was fantastic.
We've been told that we should get some bilaja--
SHANE SMITH: Jalabiya.
So that we fit in a little bit more.
We don't cause so much consternation.
The minute we get out of the car here, we're the focus of a
lot of attention because they don't get a lot
of foreigners here.
They're suspicious of foreigners.
My pink Irish face is not going to
do much in a jalabiya.
But we're going to give it a shot.
And we're going to check out the market.
JAMIE-JAMES MEDINA: It's not as tight as I
thought it would be.
SHANE SMITH: Am I fitting in?

All of a sudden, the Sudanese thought that was so funny, to
see Americans dressed up like them, that
they were a lot nicer.
When we had to get the press credentials, we met the
Secretary General of the Ministry of Information.
And he was dressed in the exact same tribal garb.
I just grabbed some stuff.
But we had dressed in the exact same tribal garb.
So he loved me and said, oh great.
You should go to my friend the sheikh's
place to see a madrasa.
The madrasa is a religious school where you
just learn the Koran.
Pakistani madrasas were where the Taliban came out of, which
were a lot of terrorists come out of.
And they are an ideological training ground for
terrorists, et cetera, et cetera.
So Sudan, which is incredibly closed towards Western media,
and then a Sudanese madrasa of children who have been
orphaned by the Darfur conflict is a huge coup.
SHANE SMITH: A lot of the kids from Darfur come here, and
they get put up by the sheikh.
And they just learn the Koran.
That's it.
The sheikh Is a rich guy, but he's also a
religious leader, right.
Well, these kids' parents have been slaughtered.
He brings them and he feeds them and clothes them, if they
learn the Koran.
Just the Koran.
There's no geography.
There's no mathematics.
There's no foreign language.
There's no nothing.
SHANE SMITH: So as you're walking through there, you
really get a chill, because you realize the world has
totally polarized.
And there is Muslim world, non-Muslim world, the rich
world, the poor world.
And as you walk through there, and you see that division so
clearly defined, it gives you a shiver.
And you say, wow.
When I walked out of there, I was blown away.
I got back into the car.
And there were these thousands of kids still burned into my
head as they were going back and forth, back and forth.
And a lot of times they were looking at us.
And they are looking at us with hatred.
And they're eight years old.
SHANE SMITH: As heavy as the madrasa was, we went the next
day to see the alternative.
And it was even worse.

We're here with the Lost Boys who have been displaced by the
war in the South and in Darfur.
And they come here.
They live in a market just over here.
And a lot of them are addicted to solvents.
But they're here playing soccer.
And we're going to see them do some dancing.
BARBARA GOULDSBURY: We have a drop-in center, a learning
center, a vocational school, and a residential center here.
SHANE SMITH: And what are they set up to do exactly?
BARBARA GOULDSBURY: The learning center is set up to
take kids off the street who have had no education or
little education to get them up to an age and a stage where
they can be reentered into the regular school system.
SHANE SMITH: And most of these kids are solvent addicts?
BARBARA GOULDSBURY: The older boys that you see around here
are living on the streets and the market, and they are
addicted to solvent abuse, yes.
SHANE SMITH: How do they live?
How do they get food?
They steal.
They come here daily for food.
They get a regular meal here.
And apart from that, they just eat what they can
get from the market.
And they live here as well, some of them?
BARBARA GOULDSBURY: Some of them do.
33 of them do.
But the older boys that you see [INAUDIBLE], they live in
the market.

SHANE SMITH: All these kids, they live in the market.
They all live on the streets.
How you doing?
You all right?
So as we're hanging out and watching them do their dancing
and stuff, we realize that all these little boys are totally
addicted to sniffing glue.
And do you sniff glue as well?
RAZAN AHMED: He said he's doing it now.
RAZAN AHMED: That I do it because it balances my head.
It makes me feel more calm.
SHANE SMITH: And what do you think about here saying you
shouldn't do glue?
RAZAN AHMED: He said he knows he shouldn't smoke it.
And he knows that what Barbara's saying is right.
But he gets worried and he gets stressed out when he
doesn't do it.
And he's relaxed.
SHANE SMITH: What is he worried about?
RAZAN AHMED: He said it's nothing really [INAUDIBLE].
It's nothing really something in his life
that's bothering him.
It's more to do with--
He feels like it's a physical thing.
He can't breathe properly.
He doesn't sleep well.
If he goes a day without sniffing, he starts shaking.
SHANE SMITH: Does he know that he's addicted?
RAZAN AHMED: He says he's fully aware.
And he knows he's never going to leave it.
SHANE SMITH: Is he high right now?
RAZAN AHMED: He said, yeah I just had some.
The rest is outside.
SHANE SMITH: He just coughed glue into my
face, this guy here.
He said he's not on glue.
SHANE SMITH: He just coughed a whole model airplane on me.
RAZAN AHMED: He's saying, no.
No, no, no.
It's not me.
I'm not.
And everyone in the background is saying, yeah you are.
SHANE SMITH: Yeah, well I could smell it.
He's coughing.
RAZAN AHMED: He knows, because everyone's laughing at him.
He's just trying to deny it.
SHANE SMITH: When you see kids, it's always the heaviest
part, because they've done nothing.
And whatever it is, land, or greed, or any kind of--
it's usually money.
And you see what the ramifications are, which are
four-year-old boys living in the street.
We'd only been in Sudan a few days, and we'd already seen
hundreds of displaced people, and a lot of orphans, and the
Lost Boys addicted to glue.
And we wanted to go out and talk to people and see what
they thought about what was happening,
what was causing this.
SHANE SMITH: We're here at a displaced persons camp.
2 million people have been displaced from the war on
Darfur, but also another 4 million from
the war in the South.
They come to places like this in the middle of the desert.
A lot of the houses are made from wattle and daub, from
manure, from hay, whatever they can find.
They estimate around 300,000 people live here.
And we're going to tour around and talk to people from the
South and from Darfur about what they've done.
It's just so makeshift.
It's like Star Wars.

Pretty heavy to be here.
I was thinking about that last night, how North America and
Europe, you get so used to just booze, and food, and
coke, and parties, supermodels.
How you doing brother?
And here it's just water, food.
You're afraid to touch anything because you're
worried of getting diseases.

SHANE SMITH: We hear in America that the conflict in
Darfur is racial in nature, Arab on black.
And when we were in the IDP camp, there were Arabs, there
were blacks.
There was actually 40 or 50 different tribes that all
co-exist and that all get along.

OLGA EUNICE ODERA: We have so far about 56
tribes living here.
OLGA EUNICE ODERA: And they are from the 25 states.
SHANE SMITH: And so we started having some questions of, why
is this actually happening in Darfur?
What's really happening?
So we started asking the people if
they had any answers.
Some people say it's racial.
Some people say it's economic.
Some people say it's political.
People in the South say one thing.
People in Khartoum say another thing.
And I'm just trying to find out what the general consensus
of why it's happening is.

SHANE SMITH: We started hearing a lot of rumors about
finding oil in Darfur.
So we went into the camp to meet some people from Darfur
and hear what their stories were.
We're going to our friend's house.
He's from Darfur.
He was just telling us that the Janjaweed said, we want
you to go because you're black.
But they were the same color.
And even in Khartoum the Arabs are black.
So he's saying, he's not stupid.
He understands that they're just telling him that.
But they want him to go for another reason because they
want the land.

SHANE SMITH: He had members of his family, young babies,
thrown into fire.
His father was killed.
His family was killed.
And he was kicked out of his land.
And what we were just talking about after that was in the
South, we saw that the informal militias started
coming when Chevron discovered oil, kicking people off their
land, starting a 20 year civil war.
And now what's happened is they just found oil in Darfur.
And a lot of people say that the problem
in Darfur is racial.
But when we talked to a lot of people, they say we
found oil in Darfur.
And then it became much more serious of a problem.
They want the land.
They want the land for cattle.
They want the land for oil.
This is what's happening.
And it already happened in the South.
Everybody here knows it.
But no one is reporting on that for some reason.
So after hearing about finding oil in Darfur and hearing that
it was so similar to what had already happened down South,
we decided to go to the Unity State where they first found
oil and check out what had happened there.
SHANE SMITH: I don't even know what I'm allowed to say.
That's kind of a funny thing, because it
was all pretty weird.
Jamie-James just knew this girl.
And we went there.
And she just organized everything.
We've been on our own UN plane.
I probably shouldn't say that.
We're getting on a helicopter.
We're going out to Bentiu, which is one
of the Unity States.
They have oil.
And this is where the whole conflict
started because of oil.
We got to get on right now.
They're freaking out.
But it's all about oil.
Oil started everything.
Ben Anderson had told us, he goes, oh yeah, you'll see a
Russian helicopter.
And they crash all the time because they're really old.
The Russians just give really old helicopters.
Sure enough, we got on this Russian helicopter.
And it's really old and it's shaking around.
And we were going to Bentiu.
Bentiu is in southern Sudan.
And we get to this camp in the middle of
nowhere, and we land.
And we're walking up, and we just see these really super
tall Africans, like you would see on a National Geographic
thing, looking in the barbed wire.
And it's just a little camp.
It's like MASH 4077 just plopped down in
the middle of Africa.
We're in the middle of nowhere.
JAMIE-JAMES MEDINA: Literally nowhere.
SHANE SMITH: This is where it all started,
were the oil was found.
That's where the first well-- it's called the unity well--
was sunk.
And it was sunk by Chevron.

SHANE SMITH: So the Americans left during the war, and then
the Chinese came back?
SHANE SMITH: They found oil there.
Then paramilitary groups just started kicking
everybody off the land.
They took the oil.
It used to be Chevron.
Now America's in disfavor.
So now it's all going to Chinese
and Malaysian companies.
So we're standing here in front of one
of the unity wells.
A lot of people think in America that the war here is
racial, between the Arab population from the North and
the animist population in the South.
But the war started with the finding the oil here.
Is that true?

SHANE SMITH: They take the oil.

SHANE SMITH: And they started fighting to get--

SHANE SMITH: '82, '83.
We have to hurry.
And we have to get out and in very quickly, because the oil
security is very tight.
They don't want us shooting.
They don't want anybody to know.
So we have to jump in, jump out, jump in, jump out.
And no one can see us, otherwise we'd get in a lot of
trouble and go to jail.

SHANE SMITH: Charles was terrified.
If they catch you, that's it.
So we get out of the car, shoot it.
This is the unity well.
First thing, Chevron, in, out.
When we have more time, we went to the villages.
And that's where it was really sad, because you walk and
there's just garbage everywhere.
We're here in Bentiu, which is the capital of the Unity
State, which is the richest oil concentration in Sudan.
But as you can see, a lot of the oil money, most of it goes
north or to China.
But very little of it is coming here for
infrastructure, for water, for roads.
We're just checking it out with our friend Charles who is
explaining to us the political situation of what's happening.

SHANE SMITH: So most of the oil in all of Sudan is from
the Unity State, but it looks very poor.

SHANE SMITH: So where does all the money from the oil go?

SHANE SMITH: They don't have water.
There's a huge malaria epidemic.
Anybody get any fish?
So the kids all come fish in polluted water.
There's a lot of water-borne diseases.
They use popcorn, and they have a little string.
They try to get fish out of here.
The men get water right from here.
And then they just bring it with a donkey to town and sell
it untreated, which of course leads to a lot of disease.
And you're like, hold on.
You have a ton of oil.
Shouldn't you have money?
All the money goes to China, Malaysia, and Khartoum.
They're supposed to get 2%.
But they don't have auditing.
So it's 2% of what?

SHANE SMITH: So they don't get any money.
And it's unbelievable poverty.
But right next to oil, right next to these wells.
And they won't even hire them to work in the camps.
They only bring in Chinese and Malaysian workers.
So we're just in the village, and they don't have water.
So they get just water untreated from the river and
they sell it to the villagers, which makes
everybody very sick.
But even though right down the street there's a brand new
petrol station for all the trucks.
The only roads are built for the trucks to come get the
petrol, which just goes north.
And you see, oh, they found the oil.
Paramilitary groups come in, kill everybody, get them off
the land, take the oil.
Now, OK, we've got the oil.
Now then people can come back.
We don't care.
It's ours.
Oh, find the oil in Darfur.
Send in the paramilitary groups, kill everybody off,
take the oil.
They've been doing it for 20 years.
SHANE SMITH: We were driving out to the pyramids.
And as we were driving out, there was a huge Chinese
refinery in the middle of the desert.
Khartoum really doesn't want you to know about oil.
Because what happened was in the South, Chevron found oil.
Right after that, paramilitary groups came into the South and
started just exterminating everybody.
Because they wanted the oil.
So there's a huge civil war.
Four million people are killed.
All the oil is going to Khartoum.
So the petrol profits are going to Khartoum.
And then they're buying weapons.
Why are they buying weapons?
Because they found oil in Darfur.
But this is what starts and finishes the whole problem in
Darfur, the whole problem in southern Sudan.
It's all about the oil.
And this is where they refine it right here.
We're shooting literally for two minutes in the middle of
the Sahara.
There's nothing near us.
We're shooting this refinery.
I'm saying, OK it's all about oil.
The war's about oil.
Out of nowhere, this dude comes screaming up, grabs the
camera right away, is about to take us into jail, got a gun.
Thank God we had a Ministry of Information guy to
say, no, no, no.
Wait, wait, wait.
He took the camera back from the guy.
As they were arguing, we went back into the truck and then
we just got out of there.
RAZAN AHMED: Most of the time, they break your camera first
and then they let you explain.
Other times, they don't just break your camera, they break
your bones.
They beat you up.
We could've easily gone to jail.
We were very, very lucky.
SHANE SMITH: When we finally got to the pyramids, I was so
happy that I was giddy.
I was giggling.
I couldn't stop laughing.
I was nearly in tears that we weren't
rotting in a pit somewhere.
Because when they arrest you in Sudan, you go to jail.
And you go to jail for life, no trial, no nothing.
We had to drive four hours through the Sahara to get to
these pyramids and nobody's here.
Surprise, surprise.
In Sudan, you're not allowed to travel outside of Khartoum.
No one's been here for months.
So there's just us and a camel guy.
Yes, hello.
SHANE SMITH: How are you?
These are the oldest pyramids in the world apparently.
Hold on, let me start again.
It's really hard to stay on up here.
But these pyramids are older than the pyramids in Egypt.
They're Nubian pyramids.
And it shows the state of affairs of tourism in Egypt
versus tourism in Sudan.
Because the pyramids in Egypt, it's basically Disneyland.
And here, as you can see, there's absolutely nobody.
SHANE SMITH: We've been in Sudan for about a week now.
And we've been afraid the whole time about police, or
getting caught, or getting our cameras smashed.
We couldn't really eat anything.
Water was hard to get, clean water.
We didn't sleep.
Our doctors had warned us of worms that fly out of the sand
into your eye.
We were worried about malaria.
We couldn't get boners because of our malaria pills.
We were just getting at the end of our rope.
And we're like, wait a minute.
We haven't even gotten close to Darfur yet, where it was
really dangerous.
So we're off to Darfur.
SHANE SMITH: Flying into Al Fashir, which is the political
capital of Darfur, you see the effects of the conflict
First of all, we weren't even allowed into Darfur.
They had made it illegal for any foreign press to go there.
The airport was as far as the UN could take us.
In fact, a National Geographic journalist and his crew had
just been thrown in jail days before for sneaking into
Darfur through Chad.
When we arrived in Al Fashir proper, we weren't allowed to
shoot any footage.
Because it was not only illegal to be there, but the
town was filled with Janjaweed, Sudanese armed
forces, and SLA.
The SLA are the rebel militia headed by Minni Minnawi, who
we had just snuck into Darfur to interview.
We're here in the headquarters of the SLF slash M to meet
Minna Minnawi, who is now the fourth most
powerful man in Sudan.
He was the main guy fighting Janjaweed.
And the government has made a peace agreement with him.
Minnawi, because he fought the Janjaweed, is a hero to some.
But others, like Amnesty International, accuse him of
raping and killing civilians as recently as last July.
So as I was rushed in to do the interview, I
sat across from him.
I looked into his face.
And it was totally, totally fucked up.
And what do you think--
I know that Al Jazeera reported that they found oil
in Darfur, which is why there's a
lot of these problems.
Because in the South, in the Unity State, they found oil.
And then paramilitary groups came to clear people out.
And now maybe they found oil in Darfur, and paramilitary
groups like the Janjaweed are clearing people out.
Do you know anything about that?

SHANE SMITH: I don't have a satellite myself.
And now that you're part of the government, do you see
that helping the problem in Darfur, political problem?

SHANE SMITH: I went out back to where Minnawi's troops were
singing SLA songs and realized that it was militia men just
like these who were responsible for the Lost Boys,
for the refugees in the IDP camps, for taking Rasheed's
two-month-old brother and throwing him into a fire.
And from what I've learned in Southern Sudan and seen in Al
Fashir, it looked to me like this conflict is going to
continue as long as it is profitable to do so.