Jewish World Review Feb 10, 2005/ 1 Adar I, 5765
Darfur: The genocide rages on
The U.N. special commission did admit that crimes against humanity and
war crimes are taking place in Darfur by government-directed Arab
Janjaweed and Khartoum's own soldiers and helicopters.
Yes, said the commission there is "killing of civilians, torture,
enforced disappearances, destruction of villages, rape and other forms
of sexual violence, pillaging and forced displacement. ... It is clear
that most attacks were deliberately and indiscriminately directed
against civilians." This is not genocide?
So far, at least 300,000 civilians have died from violence and disease,
and some 10,000 more are annihilated every month. Yet, says this
shamefully sophistic U.N. commission: "Generally speaking the policy of
attacking, killing and forcibly displacing members of some tribes does
not evince a specific intent to annihilate, in whole or in part, a group
distinguished on racial, ethnic, national or religious grounds." That's
the definition, in international law, of genocide.
Specifically speaking, international genocide is then, indeed, the case
At least 800,000 were massacred in Rwanda while Bill Clinton and Kofi
Annan (then the head of the U.N. peacekeeping division) deliberately did
nothing to stop it. How many more will have to be slaughtered in Darfur
before enough of the world is able to confront the horrifying face of
genocide and end it? A million? Two million?
Or, as Terry George director, producer and co-writer of the film
"Hotel Rwanda" says in the Jan. 18 edition of Newsday: "Is it that we
consider human life in Africa of less value than elsewhere?"
Is that how we feel in America? Where are the protests of the genocide
by religious leaders in the streets? Does Michael Moore or MoveOn.org care?
Now, the United Nations, increasingly useless in matters of life and
death, is debating where those its commission has accused of war crimes
and crimes against humanity should be prosecuted.
There is a movement, supported by Annan, to turn the suspects over to
the International Criminal Court. The United States vigorously
disagrees, for it has no confidence in that court, and instead suggests
a new tribunal run by both the African Union and the United Nations. It
would be installed at the war crimes court in Arusha, Tanzania, now
dealing with suspects in the Rwanda genocide.
The New York Sun's Benny Avni a persistently perceptive and candid
reporter on the United Nations wrote on Jan. 30 that this new debate,
as the killing goes on in Darfur, is "like arguing about the shape of
the prosecution table at Nuremberg while the gas chambers of Auschwitz
are still active."
Can anything be done while this next debate at the U.N. General Assembly
drones on and the Janjaweed enjoy their murderous assignments from
the Khartoum government?
The United States in a statement by then-Secretary of State Colin
Powell has been the only nation to explicitly and honestly declare
these atrocities in Darfur are genocide. And George W. Bush has shown
deeply felt concern. But is there anything more we can do beyond words?
As Avni says: "What is needed, instead, is action. Backed by an aircraft
carrier in the Mediterranean, Washington should immediately declare and
enforce a no-fly zone over western Sudan. A few British and American
military experts should then help organize a sizeable African Union
force on the ground, which will put an end to the slaughter and ensure
that villagers can go back to their homes, now occupied by
Khartoum-backed Janjaweed militias."
As of now, there are some 1,300 African Union observers in Darfur, and
they do not have the power or the authority to do more. They are without
a mandate to stop the genocide or whatever the slippery United
Nations chooses to call it. But the United States and Britain could
provide the funds to equip 10,000 or more African Union troops to go
after the Janjaweed and protect those black African Muslims who still
The English, however, want the International Criminal Court to prosecute
the war criminals; but if Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush
can transcend that disagreement, there is still a chance that Darfur
will not become more of a Rwanda-like nightmare than it already is.
Both Blair and Bush had the courage and determination that resulted in
the resounding elections in Iraq. Will they lead a coalition of the
willing to bypass the impotent United Nations and demonstrate to the
world that human life in Africa is of universal value? I see no other
hope for the remaining victims in Darfur.
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