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By Larry Pratt

February 12, 2004

Islamic apologists often deny the existence of slavery in the Sudan. The voice of the victims cries out against their version of reality.

For ten years Francis Bok was the slave of Muslim raiders who kidnapped him during a raid that saw his parents and many other villagers murdered in cold blood.

His account in Escape from Slavery is riveting and reveals the indomitable human spirit that seeks to be free.

Bok's recollection of his first seven years is idyllic. It was shattered when Arab raiders attacked his home and village center. The Arab thugs were armed with AK-47's, the villagers with spears. Bok observes in passing that the latter is no match for the former.

Arguably the racist Muslims would not have attacked if they had expected to be on the receiving end of AK-47 fire from the villagers. As it was, the Arabs slaughtered whom they wished and kidnapped the rest. The attack lasted for only a few minutes, but the horror of the aftermath was interminable.

What a pity that most U.S. foreign aid ends up as cash in the pockets of a few corrupt politicians instead of as guns in the homes of erstwhile helpless populations. In the case of the Sudan, the government has declared an Islamic holy war - a jihad - against the non-Muslims of the southern part of the country.

The first word that Bok learned from his Arabic-speaking captors was "abeed." This was the word they repeated over and over as they beat the cowering seven-year old boy who had just been added to their possessions. He soon enough realized that it meant slave. And in their eyes, slaves were akin to animals - to be kept alive only if useful.

After an aborted attempt to escape, Bok bided his time until years later when he was able to successfully get away from his tormentors. Were it not for the compassion of an Arab truck driver who did not believe in slavery, Bok might not have made good his escape.

In a refugee camp in Kartoum, the Sudanese capital, Bok learned that disarmed and dispirited fellow countrymen would betray one another in hopes of keeping the Arab rulers from oppressing them. Bok ended up in jail, beaten and dispirited. When he finally managed to gain his release, he fled to Egypt, and ultimately to the U.S.

Commenting on the religious roots of the persecution of the non-Muslim south, Bok observed: "While what the Taliban did to the people of Afghanistan may have seemed strange to you in the West, to us southern Sudanese, the terror and cruelty of such an extreme form of Islam is as familiar as our homes of wood, mud and straw, which our enemies enjoyed setting aflame, too often with woman and children inside."

And speaking to those who think that the U.N. is a vehicle for peace in the world, Bok has this to say: "Yet the United Nations - that same institution that heard my story and gave me refugee status and the opportunity to go to the U.S. - has been alarmingly silent on the issue. The UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has never publicly condemned Sudan's role in the slave trade."

In view of the tenacious resistance of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army resisting the Islamic jihad, it hardly seems necessary for any other country to send troops to the Sudan, let alone rely on the pro-dictator UN. Several planeloads of AK-47's, grenade launchers and shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles would likely calm the ardor of Islamic thugs in their pursuit of jihad.

Of course, such shipments of arms would drive the UN gun-control bureaucrats nuts. But then, that would be an additional reason for arming the victims of jihad.

� 2004 Larry Pratt - All Rights Reserved

Larry Pratt has been Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for 27 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their second amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.

GOA lobbies for the pro-gun position in Washington and is involved in firearm issues in the states. GOA's work includes providing legal assistance to those involved in lawsuits with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the federal firearms law enforcement agency.

Pratt has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs such as NBC's Today Show, CBS' Good Morning America, CNN's Crossfire and Larry King Live, Fox's Hannity & Colmes, MSNBC's Phil Donahue show and many others. He has debated Congressmen James Traficant, Jr. (D-OH), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Vice President Al Gore, among others. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country.

He published a book, Armed People Victorious, in 1990 and was editor of a book, Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Militias, 1995. His latest book, On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty was published in 2001.

Pratt has held elective office in the state legislature of Virginia, serving in the House of Delegates. Pratt directs a number of other public interest organizations and serves as the Vice-Chairman of the American Institute for Cancer Research.

The GOA web site is: Pratt's weekly talk show Live Fire is archived there at:   E-Mail: [email protected]









"What a pity that most U.S. foreign aid ends up as cash in the pockets of a few corrupt politicians instead of as guns in the homes of erstwhile helpless populations."