Sunday, October 01, 2006

Wole Soyinka attacks the Arab League, the African Union, and the UN for complicity in the Darfur atrocity

The Nobel Prize-winning Nigerian writer, political activist, and public intellectual Wole Soyinka has repeatedly called Darfur " a blot on the conscience of the world" and denounced the lack of outrage about the Darfur atrocity, particularly in the Arab world (see Wole Soyinka decries lack of outrage over Darfur 'pogrom'). In fact, the situation is even worse than that, since Arab governments have played a key role in actively supporting and defending the genocidal Khartoum regime in the arena of international diplomacy.

In a recent address in Paris to the 50th anniversary of the First Congress of Black Writers and Artists, Soyinka again condemned the "studied indifference" of the world in general and the "Arab family" in particular to this massive atrocity. "The African family, for its part, manifests a shaming impotence that permits a re-enactment of a history that forged the chains of colonial bondage."
In the emotional text, he questions why the United Nations (UN) has been able to do nothing in Darfur when it reacted "with speed" to bring about a cease-fire in Lebanon.
[....] "it is depressing to observe the studied indifference of the Arab family to the criminality of one of its members, a nation historically placed as a cultural bridge between two races". "The Arab family," says Soyinka, "has steadfastly refused to call Sudan to order, indeed placed obstacles in the way of sanctions."
The writer says the Janjaweed, the militia accused of waging campaigns of ethnic cleansing in the Darfur region, are the "arrowhead of a state policy of ethnic cleansing," who have a "naked language of racial incitement" with "claims of race superiority, complemented by the language of contempt and disdain for the indigenous African". [....]
Soyinka also points to the ineffectiveness of the UN in the face of the crisis. "When a deviant branch of that family of nations flouts, indeed revels in the abandonment of, the most basic norms of human decency, is there really justification in evoking the excuse that protocol requires the permission of that same arrogant and defiant entity?"
According to Soyinka, those who refuse to stand up to the Khartoum regime should be regarded as collaborators in its crimes. That's correct.

--Jeff Weintraub
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allAfrica.com
September 20, 2006
Soyinka Lashes Arab League Over Darfur

Business Day (Johannesburg)
September 20, 2006
By Jonathan Katzenellenbogen
Johannesburg

Nobel prize winning author Wole Soyinka accuses the Arab League of "studied indifference" to the situation in Darfur, Sudan, in a speech to be delivered in Paris today.

In a text prepared for delivery he says the world community has not acted with enough speed and will to prevent atrocities in Darfur.

In the emotional text, he questions why the United Nations (UN) has been able to do nothing in Darfur when it reacted "with speed" to bring about a cease-fire in Lebanon.

Soyinka will make the remarks in an address to the 50th anniversary of the First Congress of Black Writers and Artists. The speech says "it is depressing to observe the studied indifference of the Arab family to the criminality of one of its members, a nation historically placed as a cultural bridge between two races".

"The Arab family," says Soyinka, "has steadfastly refused to call Sudan to order, indeed placed obstacles in the way of sanctions."

The writer says the Janjaweed, the militia accused of waging campaigns of ethnic cleansing in the Darfur region, are the "arrowhead of a state policy of ethnic cleansing," who have a "naked language of racial incitement" with "claims of race superiority, complemented by the language of contempt and disdain for the indigenous African".

Soyinka says should the African Union's (AU's) peacekeeping mission in Darfur depart, it would be "preparing to abandon the peoples of Darfur, leaving them to the mercy of murdering, raping and burning gospellers of race doctrine".

His speech comes on the eve of a meeting in New York of the AU's Peace and Security Council, which could pave the way for the AU's observer mandate in Sudan to be extended.

It may also provide for assistance for the force from the UN.

Sudan has resisted the conversion of the mission into a UN one, and China and Russia, which have veto rights, have refused to consider more effective action in the Sudan.

Soyinka also points to the ineffectiveness of the UN in the face of the crisis.

"When a deviant branch of that family of nations flouts, indeed revels in the abandonment of, the most basic norms of human decency, is there really justification in evoking the excuse that protocol requires the permission of that same arrogant and defiant entity?"

If the UN were to enter into Sudan, it would require the permission of the government in Khartoum.

Soyinka goes on to say that those who did not stand up against Khartoum would be stigmatised as collaborators.

====================
AngolaPress
October 1, 2006
Soyinka slams AU, Arab League, UN over Darfur

Lagos, Nigeria, 09/21 - Nigerian Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka has accused the African Union (AU), Arab League and the United Nations of inaction in Sudan`s western Darfur region, where a three-year conflict has claimed some 200,000 lives and made over two million homeless.

He also accused the Sudanese government of engaging in ethnic cleansing and `Arabisation` of the country, which he said belongs to two families of the world community - Arab and African.

Soyinka`s criticism, at a lecture he delivered at the first congress of black writers and artists in Paris, France, Tuesday, was reported widely in Nigerian newspapers Wednesday.

Referring to the Arab League and the AU, the world renowned writer said: "It is depressing to observe the studied indifference of one - the Arab family - to the criminality of one of its members, a nation historically placed as a cultural bridge between two races."

"The African family, for its part, manifests a shaming impotence that permits a re-enactment of a history that forged the chains of colonial bondage," Soyinka said.

He also criticised the UN, saying the world body had failed the endangered African community in Darfur, chiding it for basking in the solace of protocol-related excuses when it should have intervened in a fundamental manner.

"One finds it odd that this alibi for inaction was not invoked before the rigorous intervention in former Yugoslavia, an intervention that not only brought a rogue regime to heel, but oversaw the return and rehabilitation of the dispersed populations of ethnic Albanians and Muslim Croats," Soyinka added.

The UN Security Council has authorised the deployment of 20,000 blue helmets to take over from the 7,000 AU peacekeepers, whose mandate runs out at the end of this month.

But Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir has rejected the deployment of any UN force in Darfur, slamming such plan as a "Zionist plot".

AU leaders are due to meet in New York, on the sidelines of the current General Assembly of the UN, to decide on the knotty situation.

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