Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Darfur: All they are saying is, "give genocide a chance" (Ami Isseroff)

July 28, 2004

Darfur: All they are saying is, "give genocide a chance."
Ami Isseroff

Believe it or not, the conflict in Sudan has really been going on for at least 15 years . It claimed 2 million lives before it was officially declared to be "over" in May of 1994. As many as 40,000 have died in Darfur alone, where rape camps are established for the purpose of ethnic cleansing.

If this were happening in Europe, the whole world would be up in arms. When it happened in Bangladesh, artists organized a "Save the people" campaign. They sang "All we are saying, is give peace a chance." If Israelis were murdering Palestinians in this way, there would long ago have been a ruling by the ICJ about the genocide and ethnic cleansing, there would be UN Security council resolutions, sanctions and worse. When it happened in Kossovo, Nato intervened.

But the Sudan is not in Europe, but in Africa. The conflict began as a struggle for a secular society (the same secular society that is so beloved of some Palestinians for Israel) in Sudan. Ahmed Ibrahim Diriage, a Muslim leader of the opposition, said in 1989 :
And then we from Darfur with all Muslims came with our brothers from the south and formed the New Forces Congress. We did not care whether they were Muslims or not. So, I think, if we look at the issue in this way - true, I am a Muslim myself, but I don't agree with the National Islamic Front. I think the Sudan should be a secular country and I would fight for that and would like the people to do it. So it is not only the southerners, who are Christians, that have to fight for their rights. There are Muslims who would fight for their rights as well.
Apparently, there were not enough people willing to fight for a secular Sudan. That battle was lost long ago. Now the issue is one of simple survival, but even that is not to be allowed.

Understand, that because this is occuring in Africa, and perhaps because it is Arab Muslims who are committing genocide, nobody is in a big hurry to do anything about it. There is no doubt at all of what is happening. Hair-raising reports pour in every day. For example:
Sudanese militias have burned civilians alive in the Darfur region, say African Union military observers.Men rode into a village on horseback, looted the market and chained people up before setting them on fire, they say.
They are "believed to be Janjaweed" - the pro-government militias accused of ethnic cleansing against non-Arabs.
It is nothing new. It has been going on for years, whether it was done officially by the government, or unofficially by the militias, whether it was done in Darfur or in South Sudan. Here is a report from 1998, when the US was busy saving lives in Kosovo. If it has gone on for so long, then it is no wonder that nobody is in a hurry to do anything about it, is it?
Aside from a few righteous people who cry out about the silence ( eg here and here ) nobody cares. You don't really care, either, do you? Or perhaps you do care, but not enough to get anyone to do anything about it.
Here is another example of what we are condoning by our silence:
In the past 16 months, the conflict opposing the Sudan government and its
militia allies to the rebels of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice
and Equality Movement (JEM), has killed at least 10,000 people and displaced
more than one million across the large western Sudanese region.
appears to be a feature of most attacks in Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa areas of
Darfur," says the latest Human Rights Watch report on the Darfur conflict.
Many witnesses say the population of Kaileck was held hostage by the
Janjaweed for two months, despite repeated appeals to the commissioner of Kass.
Men were also picked up daily and killed.
If you are indifferent, you are in good company. US Secretary of State Colin Powell isn't in a hurry to do anything about the Sudan either: "Powell, too, cautioned against "premature" military intervention in Darfur."
Good for you Colin. We mustn't be hasty. Fifteen years is not enough time time for Sudanese to finish their genocide program. True, the Nazis had much less time, but the Germans had better organization. Good old Colin was agreeing with the Arab League, who also want to give the Sudanese government more time:
The Arab League has urged the UN Security Council to "avoid precipitate action" in the Darfur crisis.
The 22-member bloc on Tuesday also said the UN should give the Sudanese government time to honour its commitments.
All they are saying, is give genocide a chance. Very good. We mustn't be hasty. Fifteen years is not enough time to stop the murders. More time is needed, because the rapes and murders are not complete. But don't worry, they are hurrying up the job. According to the UN , the security situation is deteriorating:
The United Nations' top emergency relief official has warned that the security situation in Sudan's Darfur region is becoming more difficult.
Jan Egeland, who has just visited Darfur, said relief supplies had been looted and humanitarian workers attacked by militia.
More than one million people have been forced from their homes and thousands more killed by Arab militia since 2003.
So you see, for their part, the Janjaweed militia are doing their best to expedite matters, and the Arab League wants to help them also:
The bloc also distanced itself from international condemnation of the Janjawid, calling on the ethnic minority rebels in Darfur to take the initiative.
Presumably, when all the men are dead or enslaved, and there are no non-Muslim virgins over the age of eight in all of Sudan, the Arab League and the UN and Mr. Powell and the EU people will declare that their intervention was a big success, and the matter is now completely resolved. So you understand, there really is no hurry at all. Give genocide a chance.