The Vermont Cynic

Sudan: Shameful Absence of Action


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“We must never forget our collective failure to protect at least eight hundred thousand defenseless men, women and children who perished in Rwanda ten years ago. Such crimes cannot be reversed. Such failures cannot be repaired. The dead cannot be brought back to life. Let us not wait until the worst has happened, or is already happening. Let us not wait until the only alternatives to military action are futile hand-wringing or callous indifference. Let us be serious about preventing genocide. Only so can we honor the victims whom we remember today. Only so can we save those who might be victims tomorrow.” (http://www.preventgenocide.org).

Kofi Annan was referring to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the failure of the UN and able nations to stop the genocide. Yet, only a couple years after those words of insight, genocide is happening again and nothing is being done to halt it. I am hoping those same words are going to be heard again in the future after this genocide and that will be very interesting.

Sudan is supposed to be one country and I would think that the Security Council would combine the number of people that have lost their lives in the conflict and to make decisions accordingly. What do the nations with capacity of freeing the dying people not understand about the Government of Sudan?

The government uses the Arabs nomads to loot, terrorize and kill these communities because they are demanding a share in the national government. The Janjaweed (the government-sponsored Arab militias) are notorious in looting, killing, abducting people and enslaving them for their own good. They (Janjaweed) have no mercy for human life. They kill children, women and elderly alike.

What is disturbing is that the international community has been listening to the government as it denies involvement. The international community often says they have no evidence of government involvement in the killing. To me this is like saying that the Janjaweed has a government of its own different from the government of Sudan. However, this is not the case. It is only the government that owns modern weapons and it is only the government that owns the Antinov that bomb the hell out of civilians. In other words, it is only the government that owns the airplanes that are used to bomb Darfurians. The AU has documented these air bombardments that have occurred several times.

The UN Security Council and politicians in influential nations often cite the presence of the African Union troops in the region if they are pressured by the public. Yes, there are African Union Troops in Darfur and I would argue that there are enough troops to protect the civilians. However, the problem is that they (African Union Troops) are there to protect either aid-workers or the AU personnel within Darfur but not the civilians. This is very important for the public to realize. It looks good to have some troops in the region and to say, “Yes, there are troops in the region.”

However, they are instructed to do literally nothing. Here is the mandate for the African Union Troops in Darfur: “Currently, the mandate of the African Union (AU) troops is to oversee the ceasefire and protect the monitoring force on the ground. Their mandate does not extend to the protection of civilians whose lives are in constant danger; AU troops can only protect civilians from imminent threats during accidental ‘encounters'” (http://www.globalsolutions.org). What is your take from that mandate as a concerned citizen? Can you allow your representative to say something is being done because of the presence of African Union Troops? This is a clear indication that the able nations are not willing to help the forsaken people of Darfur and the people of Sudan as a whole.

Do give credit to few nations like the United States and the United Kingdom for having pressured both the Security Council and the Sudan Government for the many resolutions that have failed to go through the Security Council since the war broke out. The suffering people of Sudan do give credit to the international communities for the help they get. In particular, Norway has done a fantastic job over the years and so are other few nations.

However, for Darfurians it just gets more frustrating when democracy-loving nations cannot help save the many lives that have been, and continue to be, lost in southwestern Sudan. Furthermore, the US, the nation of good will that we were hoping would continue to help the suffering people of Darfur is, too, backing off. Three weeks ago, Congress voted to cut funds to the African Union Peace mission in Darfur. That in itself is no way a good move on the part of the president of the United States and Congress who voted for the cut. It is another clear indication that the international community is not willing to genuinely help the people of Darfur. There have been several briefings of the situation in Darfur since it was declared as a genocide both in the UN and in the White House for the American government and the House of Common of the United Kingdom, yet there is not much being done. The killings continue. In fact, it gets worse.

Currently, there is a bill in congress call the Accountability Act that is suppose to hold the perpetrators accountable for the crime against the humanity and authorized the president to call on the UN to take action and to fund any program he deems appropriate in combating what is evil deeds of the Janjaweed and the Sudan Government against the people of Darfur. I understand not many senators are sponsoring it. Find out if your senator is sponsoring it and if not, talk to them so that they too can sponsor it. The more senators sponsoring it, the sooner it will get acted upon and the sooner the responses.

There is no oil in Darfur and therefore they don’t deserve any help or maybe their (Darfurians) problems are nobody’s problems; they cannot affect the rich nations. China has effectively made use of their veto power consistently in the UN Security Council and so are Russia and Algeria and they will continue using their veto power to their advantage it seems. Sorry for the people of Darfur.

For God’s sake, we call upon the rich nations to help stop the killing. The peace talk that was supposed to bring the warring parties together has collapsed because the cease-fire that was signed last year was violated first by the government sponsored Janjaweed militias and then by the rebels. There are many attempts being made to bring the parties back to the negotiation table. Even with the peace talk, there are still massive killings going on.

Why is action not being taken? It is true that there is no oil in Darfur? Does that mean they don’t deserve any help?

I call upon the public to demand the United Nations to stop the killing right away.

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Sudan: Shameful Absence of Action