the Disillusioned kid: Darfur Redux
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Friday, June 10, 2005

Darfur Redux

Via the Human Tide an "opinion piece" from satirical website The Onion on the situation in Darfur, westrern Sudan:
I was pretty worried a year or so ago when the news came out that thousands of people had been indiscriminately slaughtered in Darfur. It was unsettling to hear that citizens of one ethnicity (Arab, maybe?) were systematically mass-murdering the population of some other ethnicity (Was it the Ganjaweeds? It's been so long since I've read their names!) But lately, the main stories in the news seem to be about Deep Throat, the new summer blockbusters, and something about stem cells. Since I'm sure I would have remembered if the U.S. had intervened in some way to stop it, I can only assume that the whole genocide-in-Darfur thing has somehow worked itself out.
The rest here.

As you are no doubt aware the situation in Darfur has not resolved itself. It's simply disappeared from the mainstream conciousness (and I must confess mine, to a large extent). Human Rights Watch reported on May 25:
Gross human rights abuses continue in Darfur, where Sudanese government-sponsored militia known as Janjaweed are attempting to consolidate “ethnic cleansing” by attacking internally displaced persons—mostly farmers—who try to return to their homes. The Sudanese government at the national and state level has taken no serious steps to rein in or prosecute those forces despite several U.N. Security Council resolutions since July demanding such action.

“The security situation remains clearly unsatisfactory for the whole population. Six million people in Darfur are faced with banditry, militia attacks and a devastated economy,” said Takirambudde. “Two million Darfurians have already been displaced, and most farmers will not be able to plant for yet another year.”

The United Nations has estimated that as many as 3.5 to 4 million people in Darfur will not have enough to eat in the next few months. The Sudanese government has recently stepped up its bureaucratic war on the vast humanitarian relief effort that is attempting to help millions of Darfurians. Since December, the Sudanese government has been trying to intimidate some humanitarian agencies in Darfur through arbitrary arrests, detentions and other more subtle forms of harassment.
On the same day the World Food Programme warned that hunger persisted in the region, however, "WFP's Humanitarian Air Services – providing vital passenger and cargo services throughout Sudan for the humanitarian community, donors, and the media – will have to cut back services if contributions of US$5 million are not received immediately. Overall WFP-HAS has a shortfall of US$14 million for 2005."

Last November I suggested that the rhetoric about Darfur and the possibility of Western intervention, which had reached a crescendo the previous summer, had been intended primarily for domestic consumption, perhaps in order to distract people from the turn for the worse which the occupation of Iraq was taking. Six months (and some) later this remains a difficult conclusion to avoid.

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