Sunday, September 24, 2006

The good, the bad and the ugly

Recent weeks have brought some interesting developments to the crisis
in Darfur. Everything from increased attention to steadfast
dictators, September has been an eventful month. Allow me to recap:

-The level of awareness of the deplorable situation of my friends in
Darfur is reaching an all-time high. Pres. Bush addressed the issue
in his UN speech, the Global Day for Darfur was a success with
thousands of people coming together around the globe, media covered
George Clooney's testimony in from of the US government and more and
more groups across the world are raising awareness.
-These are all positive developments because the world leaders will
not take action on an issue that their constituents don't care about.
In order for the Western world to care about Darfur, they must learn
the truth.

-The Sudanese government has refused to allow UN peacekeeping troops
from deploying in Darfur. This is blatant disregard for the safety
and security of their own people. Each time they block what is best
for the preventing violence, they become complicit in the murders.

-For a while, it looked like Sudan was going to demand that AU troops
leave Darfur when their mandate expired at the end of September.
Thanks to political intervention at the UN last week, the Sudanese
have agreed to allow the African Union to extend the mandate of the
7,000 poorly equipped troops currently providing security.

Although the security is dismal, some security is better than no security.


Dan Eisinger said...

Scott, thanks for speaking up about these issues. I recently watched "Sometimes in April" about the Rwandan genocide, and it's heart-wrenching. I appreciate the efforts being made to raise awareness, including celebrity efforts like you mentioned. Don Cheadle gives an appropriate call to action on the "Hotel Rwanda" DVD, and I hope those things make a difference. You're right, unless it's something coming from the people, politicians probably won't do anything about it. That's sad.

Anonymous said...

Scott, Isaac Baker for high school. How's it going? I didn't realize you were into journalism. I went to j school in new york, worked as a reporter at the U.N. for a while and then moved to a daily outside of
Baltimore. There's definitely a need for awareness of the crisis in Darfur, as well as other conflicts in Africa. And grassroots organizing is the best way to tackle any proble, no matter how big or small. However, if I could chime in, I'm wary of the way the "peace" movement is leaning on Darfur. I've seen protestors with signs like "Out of Iraq, into Darfur." And large-scale military intervention is being considered, and many peace activists are all for it. I'm not buying that the U.S. government and some of these Sudan organizations, which have ties to extreme right wing think-tanks, really care about the violence in Darfur. The U.S. wouldn't have bombed a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan if it did. Powerful multinational corporations are looking for a way to exploit the area's vast natural resources. Western/corporate involvement in Africa always leads to massive violence, as securing resources is always the driving force, the people are just seen as expendable. Why hasn't there been such an outcry over the violence in Congo, which has claimed millions of lives? Because the Congo has already been opened up for exploitation by multinational mining corporations and their government friends, which are stealing the country's mineral wealth, impoverishing the people and fueling violence. While I'd love to believe the passionate speeches from govt. officials about how much they care about Darfur, it's not true. Something needs to be done, but that something needs to be done for the benefit of the Sudanese people, not corporate leaders and their servants in the government. It's a big challenge, but when there's money to be made and the real possibility of more death and exploitation as a result, we need to be careful how we tread. i just hope the people who really care about the people of Darfur, like the ones who read this page, aren't duped by the military/corporate propaganda masquerading as humanitarian concern. hope it's OK that I weighed in. peace, Isaac