Sunday, 13 January 2013

Samuel Totten’s letter from the Nuba Mountains

Dear All

Happy New Year! I hope all is well with you and your loved ones as 2013 gets under way.

I am extremely pleased to report that I just returned home from what was the toughest trip I've ever undertaken in my life. The heat, dust, body-breaking (in part, motor-cross like-) dirt “roads”, along with the irritant of daily flyovers by Antonov bombers and “the mail” (as the locals put it) they delivered, quickly took their toll on my poor body. That said, the information I gleaned in interviews and informal conversations  with civilians, rebel soldiers, rebel commanders, journalists from various areas around the world, the only surgeon (an American educated at Duke University Law School) at the only hospital in the Nuba Mountains, among many others, was in many cases nothing short of revelatory. 

A huge, huge thank you to all of you who took the time to write me with your kind words and sentiments. Believe me, they meant the world to me. The reason you did not hear back from me is that I only had email a single evening throughout the entire three weeks in the Yida Refugee Camp (where I was five days) and the Nuba Mountains (where I was for two weeks) and that was for a very short period of time during which I was trying to reach my wife, Kathleen, on Christmas Eve. As I unwind, get some badly needed rest and get focused, I will drop many of you individual emails. 

I am intent on getting the word out about what I experienced, witnessed, and gleaned in regard to the ongoing onslaught by the Government of Sudan against the Nuba Mountains people as well as the projection that they may end up facing widespread and abject starvation (not JUST widespread malnutrition and worse as they do now) once the rainy season hits IF the world does not truly begin serious efforts to address this matter in an efficacious manner  -- and not three or four or five months from now but ASAP. I should note that many, many people have already suffered terribly from the bombings  (not only those who have been killed but who have been terribly maimed, having arms and legs sheared off and worse) and the ongoing lack of food (including, in certain cases outright starvation but mostly malnutrition and severe malnutrition).

I am personally contacting radio and tv networks, university programs (particularly those dealing with human rights and/or crimes against humanity and genocide), and other organizations about  my availability. I am willing to speak at any time of the day or night to media across the globe and am willing to fly anywhere to give talks, take part in panel discussions, etc. 

Ideally, university programs would cover the cost of my flight and room and board. I’d also greatly appreciate it if the latter would contribute a donation (which is tax free) either to an ongoing effort by a small team of remarkable humanitarians with whom I am currently working to insert tons of food into the Nuba Mountains (notably, just this past month we inserted close to six tons of food into the Nuba Mountains, with an aim of getting it to those individuals in most critical need at this time) or the nonprofit foundation, The Post Genocide Education Fund (which I co-founded in 2008 with Rafiki Ubaldo, a close friend who is a journalist and survivor of the Rwandan Genocide, whose express purpose is to provide full scholarships for young survivors of genocide to gain a university education).  Generally, my fee for a speech is $3,000.00 but in order to get the word out about the Nuba Mountains situation I am willing to accept donations a third of that. 

This is all to say: if you have any solid contacts in the media, human rights/genocide-related organizations, or at one or more universities who you think might be interested in conducting an interview or having me present a talk, I would greatly appreciate (1) your contacting them on my behalf, and ccing me when you do so and/or (2) providing me with their key contact information (name, position, affiliation, email address and direct phone number). A personal introduction (via email) would also be extremely  helpful. I thank you in advance for your kind assistance. 

For the most part, the world is blind to the fact of the crisis in the Nuba Mountains and that must change. Those in the know (including the UN, U.S., EU, among others) need to be pressured to get serious about halting the daily bombings and killings and a food crisis  that could easily result in widespread starvation and mass death if greater attention and help is not undertaken immediately to ameliorate the situation. 

I’ve been up cranking away, wide awake, for several hours now but am beginning to fade so I shall close. 

With all best wishes,


Dr. Samuel Totten
Professor Emeritus
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Author of Genocide by Attrition: Nuba Mountains, Sudan (Transaction Publishers, 2012)

PS. If several universities in an area (i.e., UCLA, UC Irvine, Long Beach State, Fullerton State Uni or Harvard, Boston U, Boston C., MIT, et al) wish to have me speak at a general location or host me on each of their campuses then they may wish to share the costs of the flight/accommodations and honorarium and have me speak at each in one fell swoop. 

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