Transcript: Ellen Ratner calls Thom Hartmann from Sudan 24 Mar '10.

Thom Hartmann: Ellen Ratner is in South Sudan right now where I was with Ellen a year and a half ago and Ellen calling by satellite phone I assume, welcome.

Ellen Ratner: No actually I’m calling by a cell phone, actually in Aweil now, the city, which you and I were never in. Actually have cell phone services, it’s quite astounding that they do at all.

Thom Hartmann: You are where?

Ellen Ratner: What’s interesting is that there… in Aweil which is actually the city or county seat of where we were.

Thom Hartmann: In Gok Machar…

Ellen Ratner: It’s right on the border of Darfur.

Thom Hartmann: Yeah okay. So you are calling… wow.

Ellen Ratner: Right and I just saw commissioner Monica who told me that she’s running as an independent. And that she believes that the current governor is not going to win, although a lot of people are believing that this is not going to be a fair election, she says that she believes that what’s going to happen is that the international community will come in and try and make this a fair election. However, the governor has been known to tell people that he actually thinks he’s going to win because he’s going to win. Meaning it may not be a fair election.

Thom Hartmann: Right, commissioner Monica, by the way, please…

Ellen Ratner: So of course the issue is…

Thom Hartmann: Pardon me..

Ellen Ratner: Yes?

Thom Hartmann: Oh okay, please, we have a bit of a delay because of the satellite phone. We’re talking with Ellen Ratner, she’s in South Sudan right now on the border with Darfur and please tell commissioner Monica greetings from me. When our listeners who were listening back a year and a half ago march when Ellen and I were together in South Sudan, in Gok Machar where Monica is based, may remember the day that a group of slaves who had escaped from the, from North Sudan, from Bashir’s people, had shown up in the town and one of them was this old man and he walked up to Monica and started telling her stories from her youth and she was absolutely horrified and delighted to discover that he was, she thought her entire family had been murdered in the years of war and he was her brother’s, her father’s brother, her uncle. The only, now the only member of her family who had survived who had been a slave all these years. Anyhow, give her my best regards. So what else is going on?

Ellen Ratner: Okay well so the issue is that the elections here and whether there’s going to be violence in southern Sudan because people are not perceiving this as a fair election on a local level although It's also interesting, Bashir was actually in this county the other day, campaigning.

Thom Hartmann: Whoa, Bashir from north Sudan?

Ellen Ratner: Yes.

Thom Hartmann: Oh my goodness. Is the International Criminal Court, we have a minute to go Ellen. Is the International Criminal Court still trying to take Bashir in as a war criminal for Darfur for the genocide in Darfur?

Ellen Ratner: Well he’s been in, he’s sort of been indicted, he’s been indicted in absentia, but don’t know whether they’re gonna pick him up. My guess is that they’re not. One or two other things, just let me tell ya going on in Washington too, and that is, well, first of all, in Bashir there’s the newspaper here which is controlled by the south was saying that they’re going to be you know that the North was arming people to come in the South. A lot of people don’t believe that, but it’s certainly a possibility. And in Washington Republicans are trying to put forth an amendment to the reconciliation bill, something that would dismiss the gay marriage in Washington DC. They’re just adding, adding, adding as much as they can in terms of amendments to keep this thing going.

Thom Hartmann: Yeah. Absolutely. The Republicans are trying to blow it up and that’s one of their more recent ones. Ellen Ratner, in South Sudan, in central Africa, Ellen keep safe, please.

Ellen Ratner: Thank you.

Thom Hartmann: And thanks for the call today, great to hear from you, it brings back so many memories. Ellen Ratner with the Talk Radio News Service.

Transcribed by Suzanne Roberts, Portland Psychology Clinic.

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