Nation of Sudan categorically prohibits slaveryThe...

LETTERS

July 11, 1996

Nation of Sudan categorically prohibits slavery

The three-act drama on slavery and human rights in the Republic of the Sudan flamboyantly featured by The Sun (June 16-18) might be likened to a performance of "Hamlet," without the Prince of Denmark. The most prominent omissions include the following:

The Republic of the Sudan is a blossoming democracy. Last March, scores of respected international observers vouched for the fairness and legitimacy of elections in Sudan to the office of the presidency and the National Assembly.

Voter turnout was an impressive 75 percent despite the urging of a boycott by political figures opposed to the incumbent government of the Republic of Sudan and the turmoil of an ongoing civil war in the South. The government has recently negotiated peace accords with all rebel groups but one.

The Southern Region, which consists of 10 of the 26 states of the country, is totally exempted from the application of Sharia laws.

The Republic of the Sudan categorically prohibits slavery, and scrupulously seeks to identify and punish violators.

The Republic of the Sudan lacks the riches, however, to field a law enforcement team comparable to the Federal Bureau of Investigation with 20,000 agents or the New York City Police with 30,000 officers.

Thus, some incidents may except detection by the government of the Sudan, especially in southern territory outside its control at present.

It speaks volumes that nowhere in The Sun's three-part slavery drama was there any specific evidence that the government neglected to pursue a slavery allegation.

And the vague, generalized allegations of the government involvement in slavery accepted at face value by The Sun came exclusively from southern rebel secessionists, which would be like reporting on the human rights of the Lincoln administration during the United States Civil War by only interviewing Jefferson Davis or Jeb Stuart.

The Sun reporters who authored the slavery drama studiously declined to visit the North or any official of the popularly elected government of Sudan to unbutton their ears to views that might differ from their leitmotif.

The Sudanese ambassador personally extended an invitation to them or any other Sun reporters to visit the Republic of the Sudan without restriction on movement, with a guaranteed meeting with the minister of justice, and a possible interview with the president.

The invitation was refused without explanation.

Does The Sun fear that facts might be less sensational than its slavery drama?

Eltayeb A. Ahmed

Washington

The writer is counselor at the Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan.

Jail not preferred for juveniles

I was pleased to note your June 20 article of the Rand Corporation's study showing the cost-effectiveness of juvenile crime prevention programs. As you reported, the study demonstrates that prevention efforts targeting youth who can still be diverted from crime and violence are not only highly effective but also cost far less than reducing crime through incarceration.

This is an extremely important message -- for policy-makers and all Marylanders who are concerned about our alarmingly high juvenile crime rate. In a report I issued earlier this year, "Maryland vs. Crime: Battle Plan for a New Year and a New Century," I relied on an earlier version of the Rand study to sound the same theme: We must continue to imprison and punish those who have already succumbed to criminality but we cannot ultimately win our war against crime and violence until we stop our kids from becoming the adult criminals of tomorrow.

We must do it by giving at-risk youth a chance through cost-effective programs like those studied by Rand and those I have called for in Maryland vs. Crime. Such programs include home visitation for single, teen-age parents, after-school recreation and academic enrichment opportunities, parent training, anti-truancy initiatives, substance abuse treatment and graduation incentives.

We must commit our collective will and resources to launch a full-scale campaign of prevention and early intervention to save our youth. I am now in the process of traveling around the State to build consensus for this approach and to identify those existing prevention programs which have been successful. I will also be urging all State and local leaders in the coming year to address this critical issue head-on. We must act now, and together, before we lose another generation.

J. Joseph Curran Jr.

Baltimore

The writer is Maryland's attorney general.

Government not blind to discrimination

KAL's political cartoon of July 2 uses some specific incidents of white racism to point out that America can hardly be called ''color blind.''

This is an excellent cartoon, and whites need to be ready to address racism of these kinds when they emerge on a zero tolerance level.

However, the cartoon seeks to use these incidents to justify black racism in the form of affirmative action.

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