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The Silence of the Fascist Left

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The Silence

Silence over Sudan



Almost as if on cue, one decade after the killing fields of Rwanda, another genocidal campaign is being conducted in Africa. The latest victims are black Muslims in Sudan's Darfur region.

The perpetrators are a camel-riding Arab Muslim militia called the Janjaweed, previously financed by the Sudanese government to ethnically cleanse the region. In violation of every human norm the government is attempting to exterminate three tribes so that Arabs can take their land.

USAID satellite pictures reveal that over 2,000 structures in several villages have been destroyed in the fighting.

One million people from Darfur have been displaced within Sudan while another 200,000 have fled to neighboring Chad. The Sudanese government is preventing aid from reaching these people and some experts believe that up to 350,000 people could die in the next few months.

As Nicholas Kristoff pointed out in a recent New York Times op-ed, the numbers are barely comprehensible.

"The standard threshold for an 'emergency' is one death per 10,000 people per day, but people in [the Sudanese town of] Kailek are dying at a staggering 41 per 10,000 per day – and for children under five, the rate is 147 per 10,000 per day."

The international response to this has been disheartening. The media has left the slaughter largely unreported. Journalist Matt Thompson has calculated that since May 23 The New York Times has devoted 17,000 words to socialite Paris Hilton and just 10,000 to Darfur, and the major nations of the world seem to prefer to let the situation sort itself out.

If that means hundreds of thousands of dead, so be it. And if the world has its way, it will continue unabated.
The British government publicly rejected military intervention in the Sudan after the International Crisis Group suggested the UN Security Council consider authorizing force to disarm militias so food aid could reach refugees. London also rejected an American suggestion for sanctions against the Sudanese government.

"In the long term, threats of sanctions don't seem likely to produce immediate action and immediate action is what we need," stated Alan Goulty, Prime Minister Tony Blair's special envoy to Sudan, earlier this month.

A wag might be tempted to respond that this must be that famous European-nuanced approach to international issues. As hundreds die every day, Britain is weighing a response that is more immediate than sanctions, but less immediate than military action.

Regardless of how you parse Goulty's words and the behavior of the international community – particularly the world's Muslim political leaders, who stand by the Sudanese government – the end result seems to be that not much is going to get done unless it's unilaterally.

In one sense Goulty is right; direct military intervention isn't the only solution. The Bush administration's initial forays into diplomacy have borne fruit, as a peace accord earlier this month showed.

Promisingly, US Secretary of State Colin Powell was recently in Sudan to discuss the situation with Khartoum. Doubtless, if a major world leader publicly called on the Sudanese government to halt its genocidal campaign and demand unfettered access to refugee camps, there would be pressure on Khartoum to comply. If that eventually meant military action – whether unilateral or under UN auspices – then it's something that the world shouldn't be afraid of.

Some may decry this as neo-conservative adventurism, but the fact is that the genocide in Sudan must be dealt with and the people of Darfur protected. This should be done in partnership with other African nations, who must be just as concerned about having a highly unpredictable situation on their borders, and a concerned international community; but it should be done alone, if necessary.

The good news is that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the BBC that Sudan's government has promised to "remove all obstacles" to easing the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. And the Sudanese themselves reportedly say they will disarm the Arab tribes.

Implementation of these pledges must be carefully monitored.

The world failed Rwanda in the early 1990s and the result was 800,000 dead. If we fail once again, what explanation will we have for future generations – that we couldn't figure out the right approach to take?

The writer is a freelance writer in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.



This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull...


Re: The Silence of the Fascist Left

Jerusalem Post = badly written propaganda sheet. who cares what they fantasise about, or your illiterate and ridiculous 'titles'?

Re: why are we doing this?

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