President Omar al-Bashir's objectives are three-fold: to maintain control of Sudan at all costs; to steal the resources of the country for his benefit and for the benefit of his narrow base of supporters and allies; and to change the multicultural identity of Sudan into a single Arab Islamic identity.
Berends's work put him in great peril back in 2008, when he was detained by the Nigerian government while filming Delta Boys, a firsthand look at rebels in the river oil towns of that resource-rich yet vastly impoverished country -- Africa's most populous. Securing his freedom after 10 days of captivity required the intercession of New York Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton. He was never in fear for his life, he says -- but his status as a documentarian offered him no particular protection whatsoever, he realized. Delta Boys was released in 2012 having received financing and support from the Sundance Documentary Film Fund, the Gucci/Tribeca Documentary Film Fund and Cinereach. Berends's most recent film, Madina's Dream, provides an unflinching glimpse into a forgotten war as it tells the story of rebels and refugees fighting to survive in Sudan's Nuba Mountains. The film will have its world premiere next month at South By Southwest International Film Festival.
If we want moral clarity in understanding the Khartoum -- as opposed to the political "complexities" adduced whenever the regime is the subject -- then let us look to Frandala. This deliberate bombing attack on an MSF hospital, by an advanced military jet aircraft, is the very face of the Khartoum regime.