the Disillusioned kid: More on Darfur
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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

More on Darfur

This thing seems to go in cycles. I don't write about an issue for ages and then I post about it several times in a handful of days. And so it is with the situation in Darfur, although I think its serious enough to merit the time being spent on it.

As you'll know if you read this regularly I've come to the conclusion that military intervention might be justified in the region, but expressed concerns about what form this might take. Planetshift over at Pessimistic Leftist (clearly someone after my own heart!) has an analysis of the situation and potential responses which tries to say a lot of the things I wanted to, but does it much better. Well done that man.

In the interests of balance I should also point out this article by Simon Jenkins. By far the best argument against intervention I've read so far. It makes a lot of points with which I agree wholeheartedly and somehow I wonder if his conclusions are actually as far from my own as they may initially appear.

There may be some light at the end of the tunnel though. Even as I write I've found this report suggesting that the African Union (AU) may be about to dispatch a "full-fledged peacekeeping mission" to Darfur, with the emphasis on "neutralisation of the Janjaweed militia, the protection of the civilian population and the facilitation of the delivery of humanitarian assistance." Assuming this does happen, it's probably about the best realistic scenario and in my humble opinion should be financially supported by western governments (according to Mandisi Majavu, the AU had $6 million in its peace fund last year, a tiny fraction of the $2.3 billion spent by the UN on peacekeeping on the continent).

In the meantime there are somethings you can do as an individual. Obviously, get informed. It may be a cliche, but knowledge is power. Secondly, look out for protests in your local area and get involved. Thirdly, many commentators allege that oil is either the motivation behind the massacres or at least fuelling conflict within the country. Either way, those of you who drive may want to check out which oil companies operate in Sudan and consider buying elsewhere (of course, you'll probably have to tell them for it to have any impact). Oh, and you can make donations to humanitarian organisations (here, here and no doubt elsewhere as well).

Well? What are you waiting for?

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