07 May 2005

genocide-related program activities

I think I liked the State Department's previous politically-motivated exaggerations of the deaths in Darfur better than their new politically-motivated minimizations of those deaths. So far probably 400,000 have died, and if aid stops because of insecurity, 100,000 deaths/month are possible.

The NYT recently published pictures drawn by kids in refugee camps on the border of Chad.

Top:Rashid, 13, from western Darfur "I saw janjaweed coming quickly, on horses and camels. They were shooting guns and yelling, 'Kill the slaves. . . . ' I saw people falling on the ground and bleeding. They chased after my brother; he is 12. One girl I saw -- they tied her up, put her on a camel and went away. All our animals were taken. Then the planes came and bombed our village."

Bottom:Salim, 13, from northern Darfur "We returned from school. . . . We are all looking, and not imagining bombing. The first bomb landed in our garden. The bombs killed six people, including a young boy, two women, a boy carried by his mother and a girl. Now my sleep is hard because I feel frightened."

Unfortunately, even if Western governments are pressured into action, it's not clear that what they do is likely to be productive. I'm not sure what I think is the right thing to advocate for, but am sympathetic to this argument by Alex de Waal, which is vaguely reminiscent of what Republicans said about Clinton's intervention in Bosnia:

Sudan is back at the top of the UN Security Council agenda and a focus for concern in Washington and London. Much of this concern is framed by the ICI report and the agenda of prosecutions. But these issues are marginal to the central challenges of Sudan and are indeed a distraction from investing the necessary political and diplomatic energies in the search for long-term solutions. The call for sanctions is similarly a response to the pressure to be seen to be ‘doing something'. There are no realistic scenarios in which sanctions would have a major positive impact: they are simply a means of expressing outrage. This is symptomatic of the way in which international engagement in Sudan has become focused upon short-term management rather than strategic thinking. In turn this reflects the predominance of activist agendas, and the lack of strong material interests in the outcome for Sudan.

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