Opinion | Pop Culture

With Children in Foxholes

Dodging election season airstrikes with Sudan's most vulnerable.
With Children in Foxholes
Image: Kimberly L. Smith
Students hide in a foxhole on the campus of Our Father’s Cleft, an orphanage and school in Sudan.

In America, I mocked politicians who plundered for votes by shaking hands and plopping kisses on baby’s plump cheeks. Who do they think they’re fooling? Now, after more than a decade of working in Sudan and South Sudan, I’d take those friendly baby-kissing politicians in a heartbeat.

In a region where armed forces drop bombs on the sick and helpless, the leaders don’t clean up their acts and put on a smiling face for elections, which took place last week in Sudan.

President Omar al-Bashir and the governing National Congress Party declined dialogue with the opposition, and he has shown no sign of ceasing the kind of violence that resulted in a 2009 indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly directing a campaign of mass killing, rape, and pillage against civilians in Darfur. He’s the first sitting president to face such charges.

Al-Bashir has continued his bombing campaign against the rebels, who say their recent offensive is ...

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