April 20, 2005
Comments made during a recent trip to Sudan by US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick suggest a significant effort is underway by the Bush administration to downplay the catastrophe in Darfur. Not only did Zoellick make a series of comments that fully justify the Financial Times headline of April 15, 2005 (“Zoellick reluctant to describe Darfur violence as genocide”), but he offered a disturbingly, indeed untenably low estimate of human mortality in Darfur over the past 26 months of conflict. Zoellick also endorsed a level of troop strength for intervention in Darfur that clearly cannot address in adequate fashion any of the security issues defining the crisis; nor has Zoellick or the US State Department explicitly called for a peacekeeping mandate for forces operating in Darfur.
The ultimate purpose of this statistical and semantic lowballing of Darfur’s urgent requirements and brutal destruction is evidently to forestall any need for a US commitment to humanitarian intervention. Unable to fashion a policy that halts genocide in Darfur, the Bush administration has instead committed to a strategy of re-definition. The administration’s previous genocide determination—formally rendered by former Secretary of State Colin Powell in Senate testimony of September 9, 2004—has devolved into a “former Secretary of State” simply “making a point” to Congress (Financial Times, April 15, 2005). “I don’t want to get into a debate over terminology,” [Zoellick] said, when asked if the US believed that genocide was still being committed in Darfur against the mostly African villagers by Arab militias and their government backers” (Financial Times, April 15, 2005).
A determination that the ultimate human crime is being committed, with hundreds of thousands of victims to date, has been rendered a mere “debate over terminology.” No matter that the US is a contracting party to the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, with an explicit obligation to “prevent genocide” (Article 1). No matter that there hasn’t been any change in the character of evidence making fully clear the genocidal nature of human destruction in Darfur. Indeed, current evidence continues to be of the same nature as that which justified Powell’s fully researched genocide determination in September.
Given the rapid deterioration of security conditions in Darfur, and the likelihood of huge increases in human mortality in the coming months, the timing of Zoellick’s backtracking remarks could hardly have been poorer, even as they are entirely consistent with the views implicit in recent remarks to the Washington Post (March 25, 2005) by current US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (see analysis of Rice’s comments by this writer, March 31, 2005; http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=47&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0).
But reneging words on the part of the Bush administration cannot change Darfur’s ghastly realities. All indications are that insecurity for humanitarian operations in Darfur is accelerating, with armed attacks increasingly directed at humanitarian personnel (see below). The crisis is still defined by huge and increasing numbers of displaced persons, a decline in nutritional health in many quarters, the collapse of Darfur’s agricultural economy (with attendant food inflation), a failure to pre-position adequate quantities of food prior to the approaching rainy season, and famine conditions that are already evident in many rural areas.
All of these reflect the ghastly success of Khartoum’s National Islamic Front regime, and its Janjaweed militia proxies, in “deliberately inflicting on the [African tribal populations of Darfur] conditions of life calculated to bring about [their] physical destruction in whole or in part” (Article 2, clause [c] of the 1948 Genocide Convention). To date, approximately 400,000 human beings have died in the course of conflict (see March 11, 2005 mortality assessment by this writer; http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=44&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0). Given the extreme vulnerability of Darfur’s civilian populations, this number could double in coming months if insecurity forces the suspension of humanitarian operations.
What is especially disturbing about the weakening US moral and diplomatic commitment to halting genocide in Darfur is that it occurs amidst broad, bipartisan support for a stronger, more decisive US policy. The Congress declared last July—in a unanimous, bipartisan, bicameral vote—that Khartoum and its Janjaweed allies are guilty of genocide in Darfur. There are in the House of Representatives sponsors on both sides of the aisle for the Darfur Accountability Act. Senators Corzine (Democrat) and Brownback (Republican) were original sponsors of the Senate version of the bill. Republican and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist recently “urged the United Nations to recognize the killings in Darfur as genocide” (Associated Press, April 15, 2005):
“‘The Khartoum government will not stop this killing until it is faced with stiff international pressure, Frist said on the Senate floor Friday. ‘Every day the world fails to act, Khartoum gets closer to its genocidal goal, and every day the world fails to act it compounds its shame.'” (Associated Press, April 15, 2005)
But the Bush administration refuses to accept this fundamental truth about Darfur, and refuses to fashion or advocate an international, multilateral policy that reflects the urgency of ongoing genocidal destruction.
KHARTOUM’S ROLE IN SUSTAINING INSECURITY IN DARFUR
The most recent report to the UN Security Council by Secretary-General Kofi Annan highlights a number of important security issues, and Annan focuses squarely on the role of Khartoum:
“Sudanese officials fearful of being tried for war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region may be behind a wave of attacks on international aid workers in the turbulent area, the United Nations said on Monday. Among the rash of attacks in March were three that stood out because they appeared aimed at harming or killing relief workers, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in his monthly report to the Security Council on the situation in Darfur.”
“A UN panel of experts drew up a list of 51 war crimes suspects in Darfur that it sealed and turned over to Annan in January. The Security Council voted March 31,  to refer the suspects to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. ‘The possibility cannot be excluded that those who may believe that they are on the commission’s sealed list of war crimes suspects will resort to direct attacks against…international personnel, or will try to destabilize the region more generally through violence,’ Annan said.” (Reuters, April 18, 2005)
Annan also stressed more generally Khartoum’s refusal to end military activities that are directly responsible for insecurity in Darfur:
“‘The government continues to pursue the military option on the ground with little apparent regard for the commitments it has entered into to end its attacks and protect civilians,’ Annan said.” (Reuters, April 18, 2005)
“‘Reports of Janjaweed attacks against villages were received throughout the month [of March 2005],’ Mr. Annan says of the militia accused of committing atrocities in [Darfur].” (UN News Centre, April 19, 2005)
Annan’s monthly report also noted that, “March saw a rise in ‘banditry, looting and hijacking of vehicles.’ Three attacks in particular were troublesome, including one on March 22,  that seriously wounded a US foreign aid worker, Annan said” (Associated Press, April 18, 2005)
Other parts of Annan’s report were noted in The Washington File (April 19, 2005):
“In his monthly report to the Security Council, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he is ‘troubled by the rash of attacks during March on international personnel operating in Darfur. Three incidents stand out because of the apparent intent to do harm to, or kill, those who have come to help the people of the Sudan.'”
“The secretary-general said that on March 8,  suspected Jingaweit fighters fired on African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) troops guarding a military observer campsite in northern Darfur. On March 22,  two employees of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) were seriously injured during an apparent ambush on their convoy of clearly marked vehicles on a road in southern Darfur. On March 29,  an AMIS patrol was fired upon, in what appears to be an ambush, while investigating a report of fighting near Nyala in southern Darfur. One observer was shot and two others suffered injuries from flying glass when a bullet shattered a window.”
“Concern that international personnel in Darfur might be under increasing threat resulted in the relocation of UN staff from western Darfur to Geneina March 10-19, , Annan said.”
“Khartoum ‘continues to pursue the military option on the ground with little apparent regard for the commitments it has entered into,’ Annan also reported.” Even though the government has arrested some individuals alleged to have committed war crimes in Darfur, [Annan] said, ‘Reports continue to be received that government forces operate jointly with armed tribal militias.'” (The Washington File, Bureau of International Information, State Department, Washington, DC, April 19, 2005)
Given its ongoing genocidal ambitions, it is hardly surprising that the Khartoum regime issued yesterday a brazen warning to the feckless UN Commission on Human Rights, currently meeting in Geneva:
“Khartoum warned the United Nations on Tuesday against appointing a special human rights rapporteur for Sudan, arguing such an ‘irrational’ move would only complicate the Darfur crisis. The government issued its warning as the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission prepared to vote on a resolution aimed at piling more pressure on Khartoum over its responsibility in atrocities committed in Darfur. ‘The unwise tackling by the (UN) Security Council of the Darfur conflict now prevails in the deliberations of the Human Rights Commission as manifested in the insistence of the European group to place the Sudan under the special rapporteur article,’ State Foreign Minister Naguib al-Khair Abdel Wahab told reporters.”
“He described two UN Security Council resolutions passed earlier this month on Darfur as ‘irrational’ and warned that Khartoum would also refuse to cooperate with a rights rapporteur if one was appointed.” (Agence France-Presse, April 19, 2005)
Here the National Islamic Front regime can be taken at its word.
INSECURITY AND HUMANITARIAN OPERATIONS IN DARFUR
The consequences of Khartoum’s escalating violence against humanitarian operations in Darfur are as clear as the regime’s growing scorn for the UN. And as humanitarian operations are curtailed because of violence and direct attacks, genocide by attrition claims ever more tens of thousands of lives. As the rainy season looms closer, so too do hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths.
Even the most intrepid aid organizations are confronting insecurity that is directly and consequentially impeding humanitarian assistance. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which has been virtually alone in seeking to deliver food to distressed rural populations in Darfur that are beyond the reach of camp-based food aid, recently indicated a changed view of the security situation:
“Ongoing insecurity was impeding efforts to help people who lacked even the most basic necessities and were becoming increasingly dependent on external aid, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said. ‘Until now we have not changed our operations in Darfur, but we are very concerned about the ongoing insecurity,’ Lorena Brander, spokesperson for the ICRC in Khartoum, told IRIN.” (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, April 18, 2005)
Reuters also reports on the ICRC statement:
“Attacks on aid convoys in Sudan’s Darfur have increased over the past two weeks, stopping urgently needed food from getting through, the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Monday. Unidentified attackers ambushed and looted numerous aid trucks with essential items for remote villages and refugees forced to flee their homes by fighting in the western Sudan region, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.”
“The international relief group said the attacks were denying help to people who lacked even the most basic necessities. The attacks had been carried out against a number of aid agencies and had not targetted the ICRC itself, a spokesman said. ‘These attacks against humanitarian convoys are hampering the humanitarian activities that are taking place in Darfur,’ said ICRC spokesman Marco Jimenez, without giving further details of the attacks.” (Reuters, April 18, 2005)
Various other humanitarian organizations have also recently reported that “violence in Darfur has continued to affect humanitarian operations during the past two weeks”; in particular, “the Danish Refugee Council reported that a local staff member was shot and killed on Friday evening in Golo, in the Jebel Marra region of West Darfur state”:
“‘We don’t know who is responsible for this tragic incident, which happened when our staff member was off duty, but investigations are ongoing,’ Anne-Sophie Laenkholm, programme coordinator for the Danish Refugee Council, told IRIN. The [UN] World Food Programme reported ongoing insecurity in the region was adversely affecting its food distributions.” (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, April 18, 2005)
Senator Bill Frist, with high-level access to US intelligence, last week introduced into the Senate a statement on the March shooting of a worker for the US Agency for International Development. In the context of assessing the mayhem orchestrated by “Janjaweed death squads,” Frist says of the shooting:
“I am informed that the shooting was not random. The attackers intentionally targeted a humanitarian convoy in order to intimidate the world.” (Statement introduced into the US Senate, April 15, 2005)
Frist also notes that the four-vehicle convoy “ambushed” was “clearly marked.”
A recent UN “situation report” on Darfur (April 12, 2005) also reports on the effects of deteriorating security for humanitarian operations:
“One International Nongovernmental Organization (INGO) announced its withdrawal from East Jebel Marra until the security situation improves. Another INGO left the area in early March, leaving no healthcare in SLA-controlled Jebel Marra.” (UN “situation report” on Darfur; April 12, 2005)
Such reports are now coming with deeply ominous regularity.
INSECURITY AND CAMPS FOR THE INTERNALLY DISPLACED
Although the African Union has been able to provide marginal protection to some of the internally displaced persons in Darfur, 2,200 AU personnel cannot begin to provide meaningful security for the more than 1.85 million internally displaced persons the UN estimates are now registered in over 150 camps—in a region the size of France. The consequences are all too clear, as women and girls continue to face violent rape and assault if they leave the camps to collect firewood, water, or animal fodder. Men and boys continue to face execution.
Even in the camps insecurity often prevails, as UN High Commission for Refugees Wendy Chamberlin discovered in her visit to El Hamadya camp (one of four near Zalingei in West Darfur):
“Darfur women who said they were chased from their villages by Janjaweed militia told visiting Acting High Commissioner Wendy Chamberlin on Tuesday that they were terrified to go home anytime soon. In a women’s centre in El Hamadya camp for displaced people, some 50 women told her they don’t even feel safe inside the camp. El Hamadya is one of four camps in Zalingi, in Sudan’s West Darfur state, that together house nearly 63,000 displaced people. They have totally swamped the town’s original population of about 16,000.”
“When the women receive donations of plastic sheets and tents, armed men come into the camp in the middle of the night and steal the goods, the women said. ‘Midnight—that’s when the AU is not there,’ said Chamberlin, referring to the African Union troops who are spread throughout Darfur—the size of France—to provide a measure of safety for civilians traumatised by the two-year conflict.”
“About 25 of the 50 women said they had lost a husband or male relative to Janjaweed attacks. ‘We will stay here in the camp for 20 years until they collect the guns from the Arab troops,’ vowed one woman. ‘There are people who are armed and they kill us, they rape us and they rob us. They are the Janjaweed,’ one woman said.”
“On the one-hour helicopter flight to Zalingi, Chamberlin passed over numerous burnt-out villages in the barren desert which she said ‘graphically illustrate why these people left their villages and sought safety and security in the camps.'” (Release by the UN High Commission for Refugees, April 19, 2005)
This is but one of many scores of reports on insecurity encountered by displaced persons in the camps and urban areas. Most are reduced, if they appear at all, to line items of the sort we see in the UN “situation report” for April 10, 2005:
“South Darfur: Due to the continued harassment of Internally Displaced Persons [IDPs] in Kass, it has been reported that there is a renewed movement from Kass to Kalma camp, where five newly arrived families were registered on 9 April .”
“West Darfur: The Interagency Assessment mission to Tendelti on 4 April  confirmed a population of approximately 1500 IDPs (225 households), mainly displaced from Juruf village. The IDPs fled Tendelti approximately over a month ago as a result of heightened insecurity.”
Significantly, Kofi Annan’s report to the UN Security Council highlights the terrible fate of rape victims in camps for the displaced (where the rapes themselves often occur):
“In one case several pregnant rape victims were detained [by local officials] on adultery charges and, although eventually released, were beaten and sexually assaulted while in detention, thus discouraging others from registering complaints, [Annan reported].” (UN News Centre, April 19, 2005)
The National Islamic Front regime’s attitude towards internally displaced Sudanese has long been evident in its brutal treatment of people (mostly southern Sudanese) who have migrated toward the Khartoum area over the course of 21 years of civil war in the south. Recently there has been a spate of reports on this brutality, a defining feature of the regime for many years:
“As a new peace accord in southern Sudan opens up the prospect of the return home of millions of people uprooted by two decades of civil war, the top United Nations refugee official has called on the Government to live up to its duty to protect its own citizens after it demolished a camp [for internally displaced persons] and dumped its residents in the desert with no services.”
“‘We have seen conditions people are living in after their village was levelled, and we stress the Government’s responsibilities for its own citizens,’ Acting UN High Commissioner for Refugees Wendy Chamberlin said yesterday after visiting the squalid squatter camp of Shikan, near the capital Khartoum. About 30,000 southerners lived there until the end of December, when the Government evicted them, dumping them in a desert area. But 5,000 have now drifted back, living in cardboard and burlap structures.” (UN News Centre, April 19, 2005)
Reuters’ superb journalist Opheera McDoom reported in late March 2005 on the “dumping” ground known as the al-Fatha camp (which is also McDoom’s dateline):
“Almost 40 km (25 miles) past the [Khartoum] suburb of Omdurman, in the middle of the desert, is an emerging city. Row after row of makeshift housing and tents accommodate more than 300,000 people who have fled Sudan’s many conflicts to try to make a life in the national capital.
[Displaced persons] in al-Fatha are from the southern Dinka tribe or from Darfur, where a 2-year-old rebellion is raging, forcing 2 million to flee their homes. Al-Fatha has no running water, no food, no electricity, no schools or medical facilities. The top UN envoy in Sudan, Jan Pronk, calls its residents the forgotten people. ‘The people in these camps are probably worse off than the people of Darfur,’ he said.” (Reuters, March 23, 2005)
“All the inhabitants tell the same story. ‘The government came on December 28, , destroyed our houses and forced us to come here, where there is nothing,’ said Barbary Marjan, from the Nuba Mountains. Most of the people in al-Fatha come from Shikan, about 15 km closer to town and now a wasteland covered in rubble since the authorities bulldozed the houses last year because they were built without permission. Residents said nine children died in the move because they could not cope with the severe night desert cold after their houses were destroyed without warning.” (Reuters, March 23, 2005)
This important dispatch continues:
“Khartoum’s Arab-dominated government has a policy of demolishing what it calls slum housing, which stretches for miles around the capital, and moving the residents to planned areas further out to create satellite cities. Aid officials say the government moves people forcibly to areas where there are no services, even food or water, and the people are too poor to get back to town where they work. The UN estimates there are more than 2 million people living in the camps outside Khartoum and demolitions take place regularly.” (Reuters, March 23, 2005)
If we are to assess Khartoum’s attitudes towards the populations of camps in Darfur, we have no better guide than the regime’s brutally callous behavior in creating al-Fatha.
ONGOING VIOLENCE IN DARFUR: MILITARY OVERVIEW
The April 7, 2005 attack on Khor Abeche was a particularly well-reported military assault in Khartoum’s genocidal conduct of war in Darfur; but despite the proximity of African Union observers we are only now getting some of the horrific first-hand accounts:
“Arafa Abdullah Hadi hid for a week in a dry creek outside her Darfur village, fearing the Arab militiamen she saw shoot dead her two uncles and brother-in-law would come back. Arab militias, known as Janjaweed, rampaged through Hadi’s previously rebel-held town of Khor Abeche in South Darfur state 11 days ago, burning, killing and looting all in their path. ‘They came early, at 6 am. I heard the screaming first and then shooting,” Hadi,’ 19, said. She ran outside with her family to see the Janjaweed turn up on horses and camels and in vehicles with machine guns on top. They killed about 30 people that day, she said, dressed in a colourful wrap but shyly covering her face.”
“After hiding in the dry river bed with her family, Hadi walked for six days without food to the nearest safe camp, Otash, on the outskirts of Nyala town, South Darfur’s capital. No planes or helicopters were used in the Khor Abeche attack, but witnesses accuse the government of involvement and cooperation with the Janjaweed. Both army and Janjaweed use vehicles and they wear the same green khaki uniform, the Khor Abeche survivors say. But the Janjaweed wear red cloth bands around their heads. The bloodshed on April 7,  finished off Khor Abeche, which had come under attack many times, residents said. About 25,000 people were displaced.” (Reuters, April 19, 2005)
But the attack on Khor Abeche (see April 12, 2005 analysis by this writer, at http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=49&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0) is far from alone. As is inevitably the case in a region as vast, remote, and difficult as Darfur, we often learn only weeks afterwards of particular attacks. Real-time reporting of the sort that accompanied the attack on Khor Abeche is the exception rather than the rule. The Sudan Organization Against Torture (SOAT), an increasingly valuable source of news from the ground in Darfur, reports only on April 18, 2005 of a March 7, 2005 attack on Hejair Tono village, south of Nyala (South Darfur):
“On 7 March 2005, armed militias on horseback, camels and in cars numbering more than 200 attacked and looted Hejair Tono Village, 35 km south of Nyala town, Southern Darfur state killing three men and wounding a fourth man. The militias looted approximately 150 camels.” [SOAT provides considerable detail on the victims (all Zaghawa) and other features of the attack] (SOAT Press Release, April 18, 2005)
Another recent attack in South Darfur, on the village of Thor, is reported by Reuters:
“Survivors of militia attacks in Darfur have accused African Union forces of doing nothing to stop the bloodshed and demanded peacekeepers be sent into the war-torn region. Hassan Abdel Karim said African Union (AU) troops were just 5 km (3 miles) away when Arab militiamen rampaged through his home village of Thor, killing 22 people. ‘They were so close they would’ve heard the shooting but they did nothing,’ said Abdel Karim, who told how he fled for his life as gunmen burned and looted homes.”
“He said the militias, known as Janjaweed, caught the villagers by surprise by attacking early morning. He was sitting at home with his wife and two young children when he heard the shooting. ‘I panicked, ran outside—there were horses, camels, shooting, burning and more shooting—it was total chaos,’ he said. ‘My wife grabbed one child, I grabbed the other and we ran into the bush leaving everything we owned behind. ‘This attack could have been avoided had they (AU troops) intervened to stop it,’ he said, tears welling up in his eyes. ‘But they just come afterwards and make useless reports.'” (Reuters, April 18, 2005)
HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION? “NOT ON THIS WATCH”—
If we are to believe Deputy Secretary of State Zoellick, an increase in African Union personnel—from 2,200 to “7,000-8,000”—will stop such violence:
“Zoellick expressed his intent to keep pushing the expansion of the African Union force now serving as monitors in Darfur from roughly 2,000 to 7,000 or 8,000, and to persuade NATO or various NATO members to provide logistical support for the AU mission.” (Reuters April 15, 2005)
But no mention is made of a need for a peacekeeping mandate. Nor does Zoellick offer any meaningful enumeration of essential security tasks in specifying this force level. For to do so would reveal the complete inadequacy of even 8,000 AU personnel, were they available, and whose deployment speed could almost certainly be measured in terms of the many months it has taken to put 2,200 personnel on the ground in Darfur. (Unsurprisingly, Zoellick’s figure is conveniently congruent with those recently offered by the UN’s Jan Pronk, Kofi Annan’s special representative for Darfur, and Jan Egeland, UN Under-secretary for Humanitarian Affairs). And certainly no mention is made of using non-AU personnel, which is essential to any meaningful humanitarian intervention in Darfur—and not simply for “logistical support.” Instead, Zoellick is content with an entirely arbitrary number, as plausible in fulfilling its purpose as his estimate of total mortality to date in Darfur:
“Zoellick said the State Department estimated the dead at between 60,000 and 160,000. ‘There are numbers that are higher, and what I would emphasize in this is that nobody knows for sure,’ he said.” (Washington Post April 14, 2005)
Of course “nobody knows for sure” how many people have died in 26 months of extremely violent conflict and massive privation among the civilian populations of Darfur. Such surety will never come. But any credible analysis of extant data will surely reveal that an estimate of “60,000 to 160,000” obliges, among other examples of statistically irresponsible behavior, ignoring the very data that served as the basis for the original genocide determination which former Secretary of State Colin Powell offered as part of his September 2004 Senate testimony. The distinguished Coalition for International Justice, on the basis of an extraordinary 1,134 interviews along the Chad/Darfur border, presented data making clear that at least 200,000 people have died as a result of violence since September 2003 (again, see analysis of this data at http://www.sudanreeves.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=44&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0).
Data from a variety of other sources, including the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO), also work to demand of Zoellick and the State Department why a figure of “60,000 to 160,000” can be proffered so irresponsibly. For example, the WHO publicly reported that in camps to which there is humanitarian access, 70,000 people died in the period March-October 2004 from disease and malnutrition. This figure excluded mortality prior to March 2004 and subsequent to October 2004; it excluded mortality in Chad; it excluded mortality in inaccessible rural areas; and most significantly, it excluded nearly all violent mortality. And the WHO assessment still yields a figure 10,000 human beings greater than the lower end of the State Department assessment.
Absent a detailed account of methods and data, the figure offered by Zoellick must be regarded as a shamefully expedient lowballing of Darfur’s mortality for political purposes. It is as disgraceful as this.
The same must be said of Zoellick’s refusal, in which he has a great deal of Bush administration company, to re-affirm a determination of genocide. Here we learn too much of what we need to know if we simply observe that President Bush hasn’t mentioned the word “Darfur” publicly for over three months—and then only in passing. As Nicholas Kristof recently observed in a New York Times column:
“Incredibly, Mr. Bush managed to get through recent meetings with Vladimir Putin, Jacques Chirac, Tony Blair and the entire NATO leadership without any public mention of Darfur.” (New York Times, April 17, 2005)
But Darfur’s agony, and ongoing genocidal destruction, cannot be ended by silence, expediency, or contrived statistics. This is the moment for Presidential leadership, and it is nowhere in sight. To be sure, Mr. Bush has plenty of company in Europe and perhaps this is all that he requires, despite the determined maginalis that the President added to a memorandum on the Rwandan genocide that came to him early in his presidency: “Not on my watch!”
Without a meaningful and urgent commitment to ending genocide in Darfur now, these words ring hollow to the core.
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