New hams may not remember the story of what is likely the most disastrous DXpedition in the history of the hobby.
In 1983, DXpedition members were fired upon with small artillery by inhabitants of the small island in the Spratly group that they had planned to activate. The attack left two team members (DJ4EI, DJ3NG) dead and others adrift in the South China Sea in a small boat for 10 days.
Details of that event from the team leader are available here as a 3MB pdf file.
More recently, a team that had been planning to operate a major DXpedition from Afghanistan wisely decided to cancel that operation due to the murder of 9 people by a “trusted” Afghan pilot two months ago. Included among the dead was James McLaughlin WA2EWE/T6AF.
In a little over two weeks from now, the same group will be activating the new country of South Sudan on the 1st day of its existence. In April, Sudan’s president has stated that he will not recognize South Sudan’s independance if it does not give up its claim to the contested Abyei region. As recently as May, the two sides were again clashing over the region.
A cease-fire agreement soon followed…..and was soon broken, as new fighting broke out between the future ”two Sudans” on June 6 (2 weeks ago). As of June 14, aid offices and churches had been looted and destroyed as a bombing campaign forced 140,000 people to flee the area.
And from reports yesterday, it appears as if preparations are being made for a major offensive.
Don’t they realize there’s a DXpedition scheduled and that it would be most neighborly of them to have a cease-fire for its duration? I mean, we’re hobbyists, dammit – is it too much to ask for them to postpone their socio-political agenda so we can all work a New Country?
I’m being sarcastic of course. The reality of it is that I don’t need South Sudan next month. Or even next year. Yeah, I’ll try to work them (but likely won’t get a card after this post!) but why the need go now? A shrink would have a field day with that one…
Fortunately, the disputed area is nowhere near the area where the DXpedition is to take place. Unless Sudan (the author of the Darfur massacre) considers the idea of succession itself to be verboten. Then it’s anyone’s guess.