Uncover Your Eyes

Kristof on Darfur

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.

It’s not.

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

Key Crisis Group/Zogby findings:

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.

4 Responses to Uncover Your Eyes

  1. Hey Sherry. Well…actually compared to anyone else the US is doing quite a bit. No one else even is bringing it before the Security Council, or providing lots of food aid, or sending congressmen to investigate and report. Aside from reports by humanitarian groups, no other countries seem to care. France, Russia, Pakistan, and China regularly block our efforts in the UN do do anything (another reason to dump that corrupt organization) If by bombing or a naval blockade is your standard (as it is mine), then we’re not doing enough, no doubt. I agree, Sherry, stronger action is required (and I’ve said so on my own blog several times), but the US is not doing nothing. As for the opinion poll, people are willing to do more in the abstract – but wait until the body bags start coming home.

    But I salute you for keeping this issue alive with your post.

  2. Sherry says:

    I actually do know that Tom and I shouldn’t have excluded it from my post. I have no excuse other than that I was frustrated by it all and posting in anger.

    Thank you for calling me on it – I needed that

  3. ohhh, maybe I was a bit hard on you there. My apologies. I certainly don’t want to disuade anyone from taking up the plight of the Sudanese who are so under attack from their own government. And I don’t at all blame you for being upset. I ask myself, what will people say fifty years from now, will they “understand” that we “couldn’t” do anything because we were blocked in the UN? I hardly think so. They’ll say, you had all that power and didn’t use it. Of course, they’ll blame others too, but us primarily. A sobering thought.

  4. Sherry says:

    don’t apologize, after some thought I realized that I shouldn’t discount what we are doing even if I’m concerned that it’s not enough