Fuze has a particular interest in the state of affairs in the two Sudans. Co-founders Hubbard and Tinsley’s fascination with and concern for the religious and economic conflicts between northern and southern Sudan fueled the plot of their CIA thriller, Satan’s Chamber. Described by the Island Sounder—a battle of good and evil in a haze of yellow dust; and by Gardner Peckham, former member, National Commission on Terrorism, consultant to the CIA–a spy novel with punch that sweats the details– Satan’s Chamber takes the real-life conflicts in Sudan around oil and power, weaves in the imagination, and offers a plausible story not only of corruption and conflict, but of hope and redemption.
Last year, in July, we alerted our newsletter readers to a dramatic vote that occurred in southern Sudan. It formalized a division that had already torn the country apart along religious and economic lines, by creating a separate and independent Republic of South Sudan. We were hopeful that peace might begin in a region historically plagued with conflict, although there was still the question of how to divide the benefits from the tons of oil discovered in the Republic of South Sudan. A tenuous compromise emerged, whereby RSS would pump their oil through a pipeline maintained and controlled by the north, for a fee, allowing both countries to profit from the oil reserves.
Brought to world-wide attention again last week by protesters, including actor George Clooney–longtime Sudan activist–and Martin Luther King III, both of whom police arrested at the Sudanese embassy in Washington DC, the struggle in the two Sudan’s continues. According to a recent New York Timesarticle entitled “Clooney Among Protesters Arrested at Sudan’s Embassy in Washington,”
President of North Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, continues to use “military force to block food and humanitarian aid intended for civilians in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile,” resulting in half a million civilians deprived of food, medicine, and other necessities. Susan E. Rice, American ambassador to the United Nations, calls the situation “one step short of full- scale famine.”
According to the recent Voice of America article, “Actor George Clooney Arrested During Sudan Protest,”
before his arrest, Clooney poignantly asked for two things. The first, with some urgency–“for humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Sudan before it becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.” And the second, “for the government in Khartoum to stop randomly killing its own innocent men, women and children. Stop raping them and stop starving them. That is all we ask.”
In a NYT’s article a few days earlier, “On Capitol Hill, George Clooney Testifies About Sudan,”
Clooney claims North Sudan’s military force and blockade not only create a dire humanitarian concern, but also affect American consumers, since they have shut down the Republic of South Sudan’s oil production, thereby causing China to seek oil imports elsewhere. According to US President Obama, the conflict is a significant cause of the recent spike in gasoline prices.
For centuries, fiction has described, among other things, politics and culture. But literature and art have the ability to shed light on new possibilities; the imagination can create new awareness, new doorways in our consciousness. Does Satan’s Chamber offer a new vision—one of hope in a region plagued by decades of conflict?
You be the judge.