In 1994 the world sat by as an estimated 800 000 people were killed in Rwanda. The powers that could have intervened to save so many lives did not. Many say the reason they did not is because Africa is of little consequence and the Rwandans had no oil...
Today the world largely sits by again as the genocide in Darfur continues. "Ethnically targeted violence, orchestrated by Khartoum, continues to be chronicled by human rights investigators, though it has certainly diminished since the height of massacres and village destruction from early 2003 through early 2005. Reports of ethnically targeted rape by Khartoum's Janjaweed militia are ongoing. The regime continues its indiscriminate aerial bombardment of African villages." (More here.)
Over a period of four years over 200 000 people have been killed by the Sudanese military dictatorship. What does this say about us, our humanity, our leaders?
The Avaaz organisation recently sent out the following message:
For four years, Sudan's military dictator, General Omar Bashir, has organized brutal militias to murder over 200,000 of his own citizens in the region of Darfur, all because a few of them dared to oppose his rule. After a massive global outcry, the killing has decreased and the UN is deploying peacekeepers - but what peace will they have to keep? Our leaders can seize this chance to press for the fair and lasting peace that the people of Darfur want, or they can appease Bashir, seek peace on the cheap, and abandon millions of Sudanese to the whims of a genocidal regime.The US role in Sudan remains one of irony. The following report from 2005 in the Los Angeles Times states:
The Bush administration has forged a close intelligence partnership with the Islamic regime that once welcomed Osama bin Laden here, even though Sudan continues to come under harsh U.S. and international criticism for human rights violations.The Sudanese government, an unlikely ally in the U.S. fight against terror, remains on the most recent U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. At the same time, however, it has been providing access to terrorism suspects and sharing intelligence data with the United States. Last week, the CIA sent an executive jet here to ferry the chief of Sudan's intelligence agency to Washington for secret meetings sealing Khartoum's sensitive and previously veiled partnership with the administration, U.S. government officials confirmed.While the US administration have been vocal in their condemnation of human rights violations,why, when they clearly hold such sway with the Sudanese government is the US unable, or unwilling, to prevent the ongoing genocide? Critics say: "We have not taken adequate measures given the enormity of the crimes because we don't want to directly confront Sudan [on Darfur] when it is cooperating on terrorism." So much for real action on human rights violations... the result of a conflict of interests perhaps...
You can read the rest of the article here.
Recently, Eric Reeves, an American academic and long time expert on Sudan condemned statements made by the US presidential envoy to Sudan Andrew Natsios to the Boston Herald in which he said that efforts by Darfur activists such as Save Darfur coalition were “more useful eight to 12 months ago” but are now outdated. Reeves said it was "not the advocates that are making peace more difficult: it’s the attitude of appeasement and accommodation represented by Natsios that is the real obstacle to peace."
Next Friday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will convene the "Darfur Contact Group" of 17 leaders to help set the agenda for Darfur's peace talks. This is the best hope yet for voices to triumph over violence.
Like Rwanda, the Darfur genocide is a stain on the conscience of the world. How is it that some lives are worth more than others - when surely all life is of equal worth? Or do we really believe that some of us are better than others of us? Isn't that perhaps what we say when we fail to take action when such instances of genocide unravel? Or do we think, it's far away, it's not our problem, we have problems of our own.... can't be bothered to try and make a difference, got to pay for my new SUV... Do we fail to realise and appreciate our interconnectedness, that what we do to one part of ourselves does not harm another part of ourselves...?
If the Darfur genocide bothers you and you feel the need to speak up go to Avaaz.org or Save Darfur - Take Action. If world leaders won't do the necessary or sufficient then let the people take action - or at least try to do so.
(Image courtesy of the internet.)