The priest and I laughed knowingly. But he was dismayed, too. “It’s a sign of hopelessness,” he said of the joke, for he knew that behind it lay a critical aspect of Sudan’s war, and any chance of peace. After all, the art of manipulation-to draw a lifeblood from donated relief food-has long been an unscrupulous scientific pursuit in Sudan. Government garrisons have been kept alive for years by relief food, while rebels have shamelessly fed off the aid.