Jewish World Review June 20, 2005/ 13 Sivan,
Darfur: How many more will have to die?
A letter writer to the Times, Frank Skraly, after reading other such
reports from Darfur from Mr. Kristof, said: "Whether you lean left
or right, stopping the killing in Darfur seems like a no-brainer.
What political risk would there be in doing so? A leadership
position on this issue would earn President Bush accolades from the
holiest of the right, the crunchiest of the left and most everybody
in between. So what are we waiting for?"
On the same day that letter appeared, a United Press International
dispatch from Sudan's capital, Khartoum, might have explained why
the president's concern with the atrocities in Darfur has become
decidedly less intense. (For example, after the Senate
overwhelmingly passed the Darfur Accountability Act, establishing a
no-fly zone over Darfur and freezing the assets here of officials
involved in the genocide, a White House letter successfully stripped
these sanctions from a supplemental appropriations bill.) The UPI
story quoted Sudan's murderous President Omar Bashir as being
pleased that there has been a "positive change" in the Bush
administration's position on Darfur.
The same report also told of a meeting in Khartoum between U.S.
Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick and Sudan's Foreign
Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail. The latter said "the two agreed for a
Sudanese government delegation to visit Washington soon to discuss
bilateral relations in more detail in order to restore relations
between the two countries."
We are restoring relations with a government fully complicit as
Nicholas Kristof detailed in the June 5 New York Times in "a
systematic campaign of rape to terrorize civilians and drive them
from 'Arab lands' a policy of rape."
There have been many reports of Janjaweed gang rapes of women
leaving camp to gather firewood for cooking. The raped women, then
often ostracized for life in that culture, tell afterwards of the
government's militiamen, the Janjaweed, saying during the rapes:
"You are black people. We want to wipe you out."
Moreover, this genocidal government with which we are restoring
relations, Kristof notes, "has also imprisoned rape victims who
became pregnant for adultery. Even those who simply seek medical
help are harassed and humiliated."
I partially understand why President Bush, clearly a man of decent
instincts, is no longer publicly, passionately condemning the
Khartoum government. Sudan's intelligence agents have been providing
the CIA with valuable information on terrorists in Muslim countries.
Moreover, they have actually gone after Al Qaeda suspects and turned
them over to us.
This alliance with mass murderers and rapists is the very definition
of realpolitik, but at what price? Not only with regard to the
world's definition of the United States, but also to our definition
of ourselves? As Leonard Rubenstein of Physicians for Human Rights
asks: "How many people will have to die before we do enough in
Salih Booker, executive director of the Washington-based Africa
Action, says: "The President of the U.S. has recognized that
genocide is occurring, but apparently there are more pressing
matters requiring his attention. We must ask, what could possibly be
more pressing than genocide? Unless there is an immediate
international intervention in Darfur, up to a million people may be
dead by the end of this year."
But the Khartoum government refuses to accept ICC's jurisdiction and
has declared it will not permit any citizen to testify before the
court; and it will never turn over any Sudanese for a foreign trial.
Although alleged peace negotiations have now resumed between
Khartoum and rebel forces in Darfur, Khartoum has broken every
agreement it has made.
Congress has tried to act meaningfully. But only hundreds of
thousands, even millions, of direct messages to the president and
Congress from we, the people, can prevent this nation from again
being an accomplice of genocide as we were under President Clinton
in Rwanda. The voices of our clergy, of all denominations, should
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