The BEAST - Buffalo's Best 58 9/15/04--9/30/04


Genocide in Darfur Must End...Eventually

by Al Uthman

A new and damning World Health Organization report has set off yet another round of condemnation and hand-wringing over the living nightmare that is the Sudanese crisis. But don't worry everyone-we're on the case. Never mind that we've been "on the case" for years, and even Roscoe P. Coltrane from "The Dukes of Hazzard" would have had it figured out by lunchtime.

The death and famine, of course, continue in the Sudan, but how long have we been hearing about that? It's been old news for a long time now, but every time we hear about it, it's more of the same. The same piles of dead bodies, the same emaciated children, the same insane mounted death squads, and the same general hubbub and inaction in the global community, followed by no action. After all this time, it's simply indefensible for the nations in power to do nothing, especially ours.

According to the WHO, 10.000 people a month are dying in Darfur refugee camps. 10,000 a month. And the pathetic, dithering response of the global community is to threaten the Sudanese with an oil embargo. An oil embargo. The Sudanese Government, as any idiot can see, is up to its eyeballs in the blood of over a million people, and the combined power and wisdom of the developed world is to gently but firmly nudge these murderers into shape with an economic disincentive? It's like turning on your backyard sprinkler because your neighbor's house is on fire, after watching it burn for a few hours.

The world seems to care little about the massacre, but, as usual, the America cares even less. Today the news broke that the US has produced a revised version of its UN draft resolution, weakening the threat even further. Now, rather than stating definitively that an embargo will be levied if the Darfur crisis doesn't improve, we're only willing to consider it. We're putting on a show, and we're not going to do a damn thing if we can help it. We'll drag our feet until there's no one left to save.

Just look at this Bush statement from back in April:

For more than two and one half years, the United States has been working closely with the Government of Sudan and the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) to bring peace to Sudan. This civil war is one of the worst humanitarian tragedies of our time, responsible for the deaths of two million people over two decades. Achieving peace, and reaching a just and comprehensive agreement, must be an urgent priority for both sides.

My ass. Two and a half years? How long exactly would it take for the Sudanese Government to call up their buddies in the Janjaweed and say, "dudes…chill?" There have been no improvements. Peace is clearly not an "urgent priority" to the Sudan or Bush.

Our inaction is beyond despicable and it's further proof, as if any were needed, of the cavernous hollowness of the Bush Administration's claim of compassion for the plight of foreigners, especially Iraqis. They pitch Iraqi liberation as a moral compulsion, but Sudanese leaders might as well be feasting on the corpses of their victims for all the White House cares. God knows how many there will be by the time we're done stonewalling and negotiating the details of "Operation Embargo."

If ever there was a need for "regime change," this is it. The humanitarian crisis is the direct result of a racially motivated ethnic cleansing plan. The reason for these deaths is simple: systematic extermination. No studies were ever needed to affirm the naked truth of genocide in the Sudan. An embargo is a half-measure, a moral failure, and America's backpedaling will surely bolster the killers.

If, as it would seem, we truly don't intend to do much of anything to stop the genocide, why not just admit it? After all, they're almost all done over there; might as well let them finish the job. It's not like anyone here's paying attention anyway. At least it's not a religious war: while those in the Southern region are primarily Christian, Blacks in Darfur are exclusively Muslim, and it hasn't impeded their extermination one bit. The slaughter is about race, and the arable land in the south, as well as the oil reserves beneath it. And so is the world's callous disregard for it.

Where there is oil, we can be sure the White House has plans for it. Bush's flip-flop on the oil embargo, an incredibly weak response in the first place, provides a clue what those plans might be, and who they're counting on to put them into action.

The conflict, like so many in Africa and Asia, can be traced back to a ludicrous practice so often engaged in historically by haughty superpowers: drawing national borders with nary a thought to the cultural divisions of a given area. The English were particularly fond of this practice, as was Stalin. All of the internal struggles throughout Central Asia, Africa, and the former Soviet Union have incredibly stupid borders as their root cause.

But was it ever really a mistake, or was it a deliberate tactic? As long as these people fight each other, they can be played off against each other, dissipating what meager resources they have in hopeless and bloody civil war, remaining forever powerless and dependent on more powerful nations for arms and aid. Perhaps the people who drew these borders were smarter than they seem to have been.

But it's time for us to rethink the matter. Some people just don't get along, it seems. Imagine how different the story might have been had there been a border between the two warring tribes in this case? What if the map of Iraq followed the clearly established cultural lines which have been established there for a very long time? Partition may seem like failure to some, but it really represents the rectification of an old and grave failure, one which has impeded the progress of the world as a whole.

2004 The Beast