The Power of One

Isha Sesay of CNN News recently sat down to talk to long-time CMMB volunteer, Dr. Tom Catena from the Mother of Mercy Hospital in Sudan. They were joined by Ken Carlson, the director and producer of the explosive documentary, The Heart of Nuba, that sheds light on the atrocities of war in this region and the remarkable work of Dr. Tom Catena.

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CNN Episode

In addition to Dr. Tom Catena and Ken Carlson, Nicholas Kristof, columnist of the New York Times and Senior Policy Advisory of Enough Project Omar Ismail were also featured.

The 20-minute segment sheds light on the impact of Sudanese President Omar Hasan al-Bashir’s bombings and attacks on civilians in the Nuba Mountains. Bashir is the only sitting head of state wanted for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

Thanks in part to mounting pressure from the film, Bashir agreed to meet with Ken Carlson in Sudan. Segments of this interview where shared publicly for the first time during this CNN episode.

When Ken asked Bashir about his knowledge of the bombings at the Mother of Mercy Hospital, Bashir responded: “Of course no human being would ever target a hospital, but during the war mistakes take place and this is known as a military term, ‘friendly fires.’”

Later in the program, when Omar Ismail was asked why he thought Bashir— who has refused interviews from numerous Western journalists— agreed to talk to Ken, Ismail said, “Because he knows the impact of this movie. He knows that this documentary will air and the world will see. So he wanted to be part of it. Bashir doesn’t care about the Nuba Mountains or about what Dr. Catena is doing down there. All he cares about is that this is an opportunity to say what he wants to say to the world. That is why he is denying his army targeted the hospital. He is saying that is just collateral damage…in a war zone.”

Sesay then directed a question to Kristof about the obsession with the Trump administration and how it stops stories like Dr. Tom’s and the atrocities in the Nuba Mountains from being heard. Kristof responds, “I think there are two things going on that are both very unfortunate. One is that the Trump administration has retreated from what had been a bipartisan commitment to human rights, and the state department is much less staffed and aggressive on these issues than it used to be. But we in journalism can’t simply lay blame on the state department or on the Trump Administration because we have essentially dropped the ball as well.”

There is hope in this place, in these lives. The lives of people here matter as much as anywhere in the world. – Tom Catena

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