Thursday, August 17, 2006

Darfur - It's now or never (Eric Reeves)

More bad news from and about Darfur from the indispensable Eric Reeves, who has aptly described the Darfur atrocity as "Rwanda in slow motion." Reeves goes straight to the heart of the matter. (Boldings are mine.)
Darfur continues its inexorable slide toward cataclysmic human destruction. Despite the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) signed in Abuja, Nigeria on May 5, violence continues to escalate. Indeed, much of the violence is a direct result of shortcomings in the Abuja agreement, particularly the failure to provide meaningful international guarantees and guarantors.
The most terrifying consequence of this violence is the threat posed to the world's largest humanitarian operation. Jan Egeland, head of UN aid operations, put the matter bluntly on August 10: "It's going from real bad to catastrophic in Darfur." Aid workers were attacked and killed in unprecedented numbers in July, and all signs are that this pattern will continue.
Humanitarian access has been severely attenuated, and more than 25% of those the UN classifies as "conflict-affected" are beyond the reach of all assistance; in some areas the figure is much greater. This affected population in Darfur, and eastern Chad, now approaches 4 million; in other words, a million people no longer have any access to food assistance, medical care, or adequate clean water. Wholesale humanitarian evacuations draw daily nearer.
All this occurs against a backdrop of rapidly rising malnutrition rates, especially among children under five; an outbreak of cholera, this in the midst of the heaviest part of the rainy season; continuing large-scale civilian displacement; and intolerable conditions amidst many of the camps for displaced persons. The camps themselves are cauldrons of rage and despair, now often turned against the African Union (AU) forces supposedly protecting civilians and humanitarians. [....]
Absent robust and urgent international humanitarian intervention, there is every reason to believe that we have entered the most destructive phase of genocidal destruction in Darfur. More than half a million people have already died; as many more could die in the coming months.
The world's choice is to look at Darfur through the lens of Iraq - or Rwanda. The expedient consensus is clearly to do the former; but Darfur's realities are shamefully closer to those of the latter.
And while most of the world essentially ignores the ongoing genocide in Darfur, the genocidal regime in Khartoum is being actively supported and protected in the arena of international diplomacy by the governments of China and Russia and the other Arab League countries, which have consistently helped to block any international efforts to end the carnage. Furthermore, international public opinion is mostly giving these governments a free ride. For example, every time an official from an Arab government travels abroad and holds a press conference on any subject, he should be pressed to explain why his government is actively serving as an accomplice in the largest mass murder of Muslims anywhere in the world. The appalling reality is that, in practice, this never happens.

So are the rest of us going to do anything serious to try to stop this massive atrocity?

--Jeff Weintraub
=========================
Guardian "Comment Is Free" Blog
Friday, August 11, 2006
Darfur's downward spiral
Violence continues to escalate in Sudan. Can we avert a catastrophe?


By Eric Reeves

Eric Reeves is professor of English language and literature at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. He has spent the past seven years working full-time as a Sudan researcher and analyst, publishing extensively both in the US and internationally. He has testified several times before the Congress, has lectured widely in academic settings, and has served as a consultant to a number of human rights and humanitarian organizations operating in Sudan.
Working independently, he has written on all aspects of Sudan's recent history. He is presently at work on a book surveying the international response to ongoing war and human destruction in Sudan (Sudan: Suffering a Long Way Off).

Darfur continues its inexorable slide toward cataclysmic human destruction. Despite the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) signed in Abuja, Nigeria on May 5, violence continues to escalate. Indeed, much of the violence is a direct result of shortcomings in the Abuja agreement, particularly the failure to provide meaningful international guarantees and guarantors.

The most terrifying consequence of this violence is the threat posed to the world's largest humanitarian operation. Jan Egeland, head of UN aid operations, put the matter bluntly on August 10: "It's going from real bad to catastrophic in Darfur." Aid workers were attacked and killed in unprecedented numbers in July, and all signs are that this pattern will continue.

Humanitarian access has been severely attenuated, and more than 25% of those the UN classifies as "conflict-affected" are beyond the reach of all assistance; in some areas the figure is much greater. This affected population in Darfur, and eastern Chad, now approaches 4 million; in other words, a million people no longer have any access to food assistance, medical care, or adequate clean water. Wholesale humanitarian evacuations draw daily nearer. [....]

[Read the rest HERE. --JW]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home