Saturday, September 09, 2006

Journalist freed, millions still suffering

In an "about face" for the Sudanese government, the US journalist (and
adult Third Culture Kid) Paul Salopek was released after being accused
of spying in Sudan. This release came after pressure from US
diplomats and Paul's wife. This release is welcome news, especially
as Paul is an innocent man.

What sickens me about this release, however, is the fact that the
Sudanese government claimed it released Paul as a "humanitarian
gesture" according to news reports. This is utterly hypocritical.
For the last three years, Sudan has had the option to extend a
"humanitarian gesture" to the more than 2.5 million citizens that have
been forced to flee. Since 2003, over 400,000 people - my friends -
have been murdered as a result of the Janjaweed's ethnic cleansing
campaign. The Sudanese government is complicit in these crimes no
matter what they say, because either they have control over the
Janjaweed and order them to stop (which they haven't done) or they do
not have control over the Janjaweed but could give permission for UN
peacekeepers to stop the violence (which they haven't done either).

This release of the journalist is a good move because it was the right
move - the other right move is to bring peace back to Darfur, allow
the refugees to return home, and bring the perpetrators of rape and
murder to justice. This is truly the only "humanitarian gesture" that
will matter in the years to come.

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