Uncover Your Eyes
Last fall President Bush declared the slaughter here in Darfur to be genocide, and then looked away. One reason for his paralysis is apparently the fear that Darfur may be another black hole of murder and mutilation, a hopeless quagmire to suck in well-meaning Americans – another Somalia or Iraq.
We’re again making the same mistake we’ve made in past genocides: as in the slaughter of Armenians, Jews, Cambodians, Rwandans and Bosnians, we see no perfect solutions, so we end up doing very little. Because we could not change Nazi policies, we did not bother to bomb rail lines leading to death camps; today, because we have little leverage over Sudan, we do not impose a no-fly zone to stop the strafing of civilians or even bother to speak out forcefully.
Can anyone argue with this? They can’t because he is right. I don’t know what all we (as in America) are actually doing to end this crisis but whatever it is it is not nearly enough. I don’t agree with everything that Nicholas Kristof says but I’d be hardpressed to disagree with him on the core of his argument here.
The Zogby poll says that 80% of Americans support a tougher stance on Darfur
80% agreed that the Janjaweed attacks on civilian populations in Darfur can accurately be called “genocide” or “crimes against humanity”, with response higher among Republicans (82%) than Democrats (79%);
84% said the U.S. should not tolerate an extremist government committing such attacks and should use its military assets, short of putting U.S. troops on the ground, to help stop them;
91% said the U.S. should cooperate with the International Criminal Court to help bring to justice those accused of crimes against humanity;
Strong majorities supported tough sanctions on Sudanese leaders who control the militias (81%), a no-fly zone over Darfur (80%), and NATO logistical and troop support for an expanded African peacekeeping force (76%).
Support like this is rare and yet instead of spurring us into action we’ve chosen to spend the majority of our time castigating ourselves over abuses of the Koran.
People continue to die, women and children are still being raped, 10’s of thousands have been forced from their homes and by all indications starvation and disease are what the future holds for the Darfur Sudanese but our National debate centers around who put urine on the Koran.
If we had half as much compassion for human beings as we do that book and no I don’t care how holy it is, it is still a book we might actually be able to do something constructive and fix this mess.