June 08, 2004

Genocide - present tense

A while back we talked about the New York Times' decision to acknowledge that the Armenian Holocaust is properly referred to as genocide. It took them 89 years. I guess better late than never. Other than a few Turkish heroes who defied their government to save Armenians, no one did anything. With the exception of Denmark, no government acted specifically to stop the Holocaust in World War II. Ten years ago in Rwanda, no one stopped the Tutsi Holocaust.

In the Darfur region of the Sudan the Holocaust is happening again, and no one is doing a damn thing to stop it. Sudanese Arabs are killing and driving out Africans. According to USAID Administrator Roger Winter (Testimony before the US House of Representatives, April 1, 2004):

The government is arming Arab militias to systematically attack civilians, while engaging in a policy of terror, murder, rape, and devastation. This is forcing a mass migration of hundreds of thousands in what amounts to an ethnic cleansing campaign.
The Janjaweed "militia", more accurately "death squads" or "bandits", controlled and supported by the Sudanese government, has made one million people homeless and killed at least 30,000. Estimates of the number who will soon die, as a result of violence or through hunger, thirst, and disease, range from 300,000 to 1,000,000. The Sudanese campaign is directed especially at women. This article in the Montreal Gazette describes the systematic mass rape and kidnapping of women carried out by the Janjaweed. A really comprehensive and detailed report on the situation is available from Human Rights Watch.

The European Union finally got around to issuing a mild declaration on May 26th. The Arab League managed to issue a press release expressing concern over "gross human rights abuses" though they tiptoed around the fact that the Sudanese government is responsible and blamed "inter-tribal warfare". UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has expressed concern, as have some other organizations and politicians, but nobody is actually doing anything. By the time they get around to issuing a strongly worded declaration, thousands more will be dead. The only way to deal with a rabid dog is to shoot it; talking about it doesn't help. What is needed is immediate military intervention.

Genocide is an obscene word that should be used only in reference to the past. We have the chance to bring that about. Let's do it.

[Upadte 2004/06/12: Pressure to take action is growing, but there is still no real action. There is a lot of information here.]

Posted by Bill Poser at June 8, 2004 01:09 AM