Tuesday, October 03, 2006

On Thursday, Do Something Useful For Darfur

When a deviant branch of that family of nations flouts, indeed revels in the abandonment of, the most basic norms of human decency, is there really justification in evoking the excuse that protocol requires the permission of that same arrogant and defiant entity?

That's the question the Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka recently asked at the First Congress of Black Writers and Artists, about the United Nations' indifference to the ongoing genocide of the Darfuri people of Sudan.

Canadian senator Romeo Dallaire, the former peacekeeper-commander whose hands were tied by the UN during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, which left almost a million people dead, says the world should not wait for Khartoum's permission to bring peace to Darfur. Dallaire says the African Union's ill-equipped, hobbled and outgunned forces there should be augmented by a multinational force with a mandate to protect Darfuri civilians, even if it means fighting not only Sudanese rebels, but Khartoum's butchers as well.

Dallaire also says Canada has a special duty (having pioneered the UN's "responsibility to protect" doctrine) and a unique opportunity (as an influential middle power with experience in Sudan) to bring peace and justice to the people of Darfur. He's not alone:

This is the moment for Canada to prove itself and its ideals to the people of Darfur, to the international community and, most importantly, to us -- Canadians at home who know our country can and should be doing more.

What needs to be done is pretty straightforward: The immediate deployment of the peacekeeping force that has already been authorized by the UN; Financial and logistical aid to the African Union force already in Darfur; A peace agreement binding the combatants; A lot more humanitarian aid for Darfur's refugees.

The obligation the world owes the people of Darfur is not a cover for American imperialism, and it's not a conspiracy engineered by Zionists. Jeff Weintraub is someone who has taken pains to tackle all that, head on, and he makes it crystal clear that we can no longer afford to let fashionable pseudo-left bullshit stand in the way of getting serious about the duty of solidarity we all owe the people of Darfur.

If Canadians can't make multilateralism work in this crisis, then we can't bitch if all that's left is Yankee unilateralism. You can read a sound argument for leaving the UN in the dust, if it comes to that, here: Some 450,000 innocent human beings are already dead, and more than 2.5 million have fled their homes. Now Sudan is launching a major offensive in Darfur. After three years of fruitless negotiation and feckless rhetoric, it's time to go beyond unenforced U.N. resolutions to a new kind of resolution: the firm resolve to act.

If you're a Canadian student, sign up with the Canadian Students for Darfur, or at least support their work. Their cross-country contacts are here.

It's time to protect the people of Darfur. You can start on Thursday, October 5.

It works like this:


Blogger Dirk Buchholz said...

Terry,first let me say,I am not here for an argument,just to share my opinion and views,indeed I can understand your position and anger concerning the crimes being perpetrated against the people of Sudan and Darfur.
But I don't understand all the accqusations being made about the "left",as if some how they are totally off base for being wary of so called "western(or at least led) humantarian interventions"
After all there is much reason for many people to be suspiciuos of american motivations and their supposed calls for "humantarian interventions".One need only look at the history of US interventions,to see that most if not all was based on self intrest,often of the most base kind.Even if 99% of the world is opposed the US still goes ahead.Hiding behind moralistic and self-rightous rhetoric.
It's rich indeed for the US govt to be talking about humantarian anything,with their long history of support for some of the most brutal dictators ever known to humankind.
That said,there is a case to be made for somekind of action to help the suffering people of Darfur.
The UN has got to be the means by which this issue is dealt with.The same U.N the U.S undermines at every turn,then turns around and say's to the world see how ineffective the UN is.
I fail to see how another war,or intervention against another Muslim govt will make things better,war it the acknowledgment of the ultimate failure,the price of war is usually paid by the innocent,mostly women and children.
Indeed at this point in time such a move seems to me unwise and might further inflame Muslims or give the impression that this but another attempt of the "West" to "attack' muslims.
By demonizing the govt of Sudan is but to ensure that any diplomatic appeals will fail.
Such talk has complicated an already complicated situation.With many believing or attempting to portray this as a situation between blacks and arabs,or Muslims and Christians or Muslim and African.
In the end it will be the people involved who must find ways to live and work together.This should be the priority,rather than adding more ammo for one side or the other to hate or distrust the other sides even more.A war or intervention on one side or the others will surly add to the mistrust or hatred.Who's side will the intervention take,who will they recognize as the govt,whos point of view will they support?
I have included a link to an article ("Counter-Insurgency on the Cheap")you or your readers might find of intrest,by Alex de Waal,a fellow of the Global Equity Initiative at Harvard University, and programme director at the Social Science Research Council in New York
....from article...
"The biggest help would be peace. In theory, there's a ceasefire; in practice, the government and Janjawiid are ignoring it, and the rebels are responding in kind. The government denies that it set up, armed and directed the Janjawiid. It did, but the monster that Khartoum helped create may not always do its bidding: distrust of the capital runs deep among Darfurians, and the Janjawiid leadership knows it cannot be disarmed by force. When President Bashir promised Kofi Annan and Colin Powell that he would disarm the militia, he was making a promise he couldn't keep. The best, and perhaps the only, means of disarmament is that employed by the British seventy-five years ago: establish a working local administration, regulate the ownership of arms, and gradually isolate the outlaws and brigands who refuse to conform. It took a decade then, and it won't be any faster today. Not only are there more weapons now, but the political polarities are much sharper"...
read full article.....

9:49 PM  
Blogger Scout said...

i'd be interested to know WHERE intervention has worked anywhere in the last few decades....any idea, as bosnia has backfired along with a few others.

i'm not knocking the idea of somehow helping dafur....but what are u.n. or nato interventions doing anywhere? we have to start asking questions like this and the traditional methods employed.

and i don't see your connection to the 'left' either (and i'm non-partisan). what has any political party here been doing for dafur? let's look at afghanistan, the majority of canadians don't support it, that's left, right and center....how do you expect canadians to support dafur?

i think people are just getting sick of an eye for an eye methods.

12:48 AM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

Yes, Canada should be at the forefront of a UN intervention in Sudan, and this is a useful reminder to keep it at the forefront in our government's face.

I'd also like to mention Africa's other forgotten humanitarian crisis right now in the DR Congo, where an estimated 1,000 people are dying every day due to the ongoing conflict.

11:24 AM  
Blogger tglavin said...

"i'd be interested to know WHERE intervention has worked anywhere in the last few decades."

I'd say you could go back to the defeat of fascism in Europe, but you don't have to go that far back. There was India's intervention to stop the near-genocide in East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh; Tanzania's intervention in Uganda, which ended Idi Amin's regime; The Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia and overthrow of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime. . . none of these were UN supported, and I'm not even mentioning anything the U.S. or Europe was involved in, just to avoid the usual "yes but" arguments.

You might also consider how well things have "worked" in the absence of humanitarian intervention. As in the Congo, which DPU mentions. Or Rwanda.

And I might also point out that all these things are beside the point of the post, and are debating-society bullshit, in light of what's happening in Darfur.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Scout said...

'debating society bullshit'. hmm, interesting way to get around things.

the examples you use are interesting becaue genocide continues in those countries, abeit on a slower basis through the class system. starvation, innnapropriate medicare, all are too reminiscent of the continued genocide in canada on indigenous people and indigenous people the world over. conqueror mindset only perpetuates war.

that's why i question you on the very tactics advocated ....it's myopic to continue in the same veing we've been doing.

come thursday i will light a smudge and send prayers to dafur.

7:04 PM  

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