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Adelante Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 03:30 PM
Original message
The "Two Darfurs": Redefining a Crisis for Political Purposes

The "Two Darfurs": Redefining a Crisis for Political Purposes

Friday May 20th, 2005 17:43.

The "Two Darfurs": Redefining a Crisis for Political Purposes; Amidst genocide by attrition, expedient misrepresentations are proliferating

By Eric Reeves

May 20, 2005 -- Despite the unrelenting genocidal destruction that continues daily in Darfur, there is a growing effort in various quarters to re-define the crisis in ways that would make it less urgent, less demanding of international humanitarian intervention---less the deliberately engineered catastrophe that will now inevitably produce obscene human mortality in the months and years to come. But the grim realities of the actual Darfur make clear that despite the efforts to create a factitious, less demanding "Darfur," the crisis continues throughout the region and in many ways deepens. Thus we may be sure that if this contrived "Darfur" comes to govern the response of the international community, the real Darfur will have been dealt its deadliest blow since the outbreak of major hostilities in February 2003.

A survey of recent reports and data appears below, including figures from the most recent UN Darfur Humanitarian Profile (No. 13; representing conditions as of April 1, 2005 but released May 12, 2005). Also discussed are the most recent report on Darfur by the Secretary-General; news dispatches from the ground; evidence of growing insecurity for humanitarian operations, as well as shortfalls in humanitarian capacity; and the recent African Union decision to ask that NATO augment AU deployment in Darfur only with enhanced logistical support.

But first an assessment of the "new Darfur."


What does and doesn't characterize the new "Darfur"? Conspicuously, the new "Darfur" is not the site of genocide, despite massive evidence that the five particular acts of genocide specified in the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide have all been committed, both by the military forces of the Khartoum regime and its Janjaweed militia allies. Though this was unambiguously declared by former US Secretary of State Colin Powell in testimony before the US Senate on September 9, 2004, there is now on the part of the Bush administration only word-mincing and hesitation. Most conspicuously, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick pointedly refused to confirm the US genocide determination (Khartoum, April 15, 2005). President Bush, who had also previously declared the realities of Darfur to be genocide, hasn't mentioned the word "Darfur" in over four months---this despite Mr. Bush's now well-known maginalis concerning genocide in Africa: "not on my watch!"
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bennywhale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 05:38 PM
Response to Original message
1. It makes me feel sick, manipulated, and guilty.
Sick because power and money take precedent over lives and suffering
Manipulated because they purposely keep this off our screens until they want support or want to act, then its everywhere, and the worlds most pressing concern.
And guilty, because i fall for it, and haven't thought about the poor people of Dafur for a while, and haven't pressed the world to act.
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Adelante Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I know the feeling, it's horrible
Please sign this petition:

Please Sign PETITION Demanding U.S. Action to Stop Genocide in Darfur!
We seek 400,000 signatures demanding President Bush take action

Dear Friends,

Recent reports confirm that up to 400,000 people have died in Darfur as a result of the government-sponsored genocide. More than 2.5 million people have been displaced from their homes. A deadly government-engineered famine is imminent, and it threatens to kill many more people. Nothing short of international intervention can protect the people of Darfur. We must demand that the U.S. government do everything necessary through the United Nations (UN) to ensure an urgent multinational intervention to protect civilians in Darfur.

In commemoration of the 400,000 dead in Darfur, we are launching a petition drive to raise 400,000 voices of conscience across the country demanding immediate action to protect the vulnerable people of Darfur. The Darfur genocide petition calls on the President to assert U.S. leadership by taking every step necessary through the United Nations to:

- Establish a mandate for an international force to protect civilians

- Deploy such a force in support of existing African Union efforts in Darfur

The United States has a unique capacity and clear obligation to take immediate action. Unless there is an urgent international intervention in Darfur, up to a million people may be dead by the end of this year.

We are hoping not only that you will sign the petition, but also actively help secure signatures from your friends, families, colleagues and strangers. We are seeking at least 400,000 signatures. Every signature can help stop the genocide in Darfur. Government officials who remained silent during the Rwandan genocide regularly claim that if Americans had clamored for more government action, the U.S. would have been forced to work with the UN to intervene, and could have saved thousands of lives. We have the power to guarantee protection for the people of Darfur.

You can sign the petition online by filling out your information below and sending your demands directly to the President. Please forward this email to solicit signatures. You can also download a copy of the petition to use for collecting signatures. If you want hard copies mailed to you, email us at .

Last year, Africa Action sponsored a petition drive aimed at former Secretary of State Colin Powell demanding the Darfur crisis be recognized as genocide. That petition drew 30,000 signatures in three weeks, and directly contributed to the acknowledgement by the Administration that genocide was occurring in Darfur.

Now the United States has started to backtrack on its statements. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick recently refused to describe the crisis as genocide and has actually been engaging the genocidal regime in Sudan. In March, a White House official insisted the President was still very focused on Darfur, but added, there are other issues that the president finds more pressing. What could be more pressing than genocide?

Sign Here - Africa Action

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bennywhale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Thanks for that. I've signed it and feel a little less helpless. However
there is another aspect of Dafur that gets me so angry. If America nd Britain hadn't invaded Iraq, Iraq would not be the main media story. In Iraq there are hundreds of thousands of troops, hundreds of media correspondents, score of government employees and diplomats from around the world, thousands of aid workers.

If they had not gone in there, Dafur would have been top of the agenda. Even if America hadn't acted Britain could of. Sudan is still considered a British "responsibility due its colonial history there. Britain sent troops to the Ivory Coast just before the Iraq war on a humanitarian mission, and i believe they would have been at the forefront hear yet they are tied up in Iraq. Even if they hadn't, the media coverage would have been intense and diplomatic pressure may have stopped it. Failing that at least more aid workers would have been there.

When we are calculating the total cost to human life of the Iraq war we must include the complicity in the genocide of Dafur.

Damn them
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Adelante Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 09:31 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I know
But there are 70,000 troops in Germany who are scheduled for Texas. Surely some of them could be placed under NATO to help meet this crisis. I wouldn't want the US to go in unilaterally, but as part of an international force. The African nations are prideful and won't accept military or peacekeeping help, even from Canada who offered. They are considering the wishes of the Khartoum regime, who deserves prison at the very least, and who is denying this is even happening.

It is very frustrating. It's hard to find any heroes and easy to be mad at the whole damned world. If we all could pull together, for once, without politics and ego-stroking and political correctness, people's lives would be saved. Save them first and sort it out later.

And then, of course, there's the oil, which stops everything in its tracks.

But the only thing that is working to any extent is public pressure, so we can't let up.

Did you hear the state of Illinois legislature voted to withdraw $1 Billion in Sudan investment? That's gotta hurt if the Governor signs off on the bill.
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Adelante Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 08:43 PM
Response to Original message
3. Mods please note - from website for public use - uncopyrighted

Africa Action Talking Points on How to Stop Genocide in Darfur

March 31, 2005

Nothing short of international intervention will stop the genocide in Darfur. Africa Action believes that the U.S. must, therefore, do everything necessary to secure a United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution authorizing a multinational intervention force, under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, to stop the genocide and protect humanitarian efforts in Darfur.

1. What is Genocide?

The international legal definition of the crime of genocide is found in Articles II and III of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. Article II describes the two elements that constitute the crime of genocide:

(i) the mental element, meaning the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such", and
(ii) the physical element which includes five types of violence described in sections (a) through (e) as follows: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

2. What is happening in Darfur is Genocide

(i) Genocidal Intent: The intent of the Sudanese government to destroy, in whole or in part, three African ethnic communities (the Fur, Zaghawa and Massaleit), is clear from at least four categories of evidence: (a) Documentary evidence; (b) Legal inference based upon the systematic perpetration of culpable acts directed against specific targeted groups; (c) Testimony of witnesses who are survivors of the genocide; and (d) Government efforts to eliminate all traces of mass graves.

(a) Documentary Evidence: Sudanese Government documents obtained and released by Human Rights Watch, make clear government intent through its actions of arming, equipping and transporting Arab militias to destroy, in part, targeted groups. In violation of UN Security Council Resolutions, the government has withheld other documents requested by the United Nations such as flight logs for aircraft (planes and helicopter gunships) used by the government in Darfur, as well as the minutes of meetings of government security officials on Darfur. Such documents would likely provide further documentary evidence of genocidal intent. According to The New York Times on February 23, 2005, African Union observers have also uncovered a document that indicates a policy of genocide on the part of the government.

(b) International legal precedent (from the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia) holds that genocidal intent can be inferred from the context of the perpetration of culpable acts when they are systematically directed against a group. For more than two years the government has established a pattern of atrocities including mass killings, mass rapes, bombings, burning and pillaging villages, and destruction of water wells and crops, systematically directed against the targeted groups.

(c) The testimony of survivors of genocide in Darfur consistently reports that the perpetrators of the atrocities frequently and clearly stated their intent to destroy these groups as part of a broader government-inspired effort.

(d) According to both witnesses and documentary evidence, the government of Sudan has sought to erase all trace of large mass graves of executed civilians from the targeted groups. It has prevented researchers from obtaining forensic evidence from such sites.

(ii) Genocidal Actions: In Darfur during the past two years, the physical acts of violence have included all five categories of violence listed in the International Genocide Convention, and have resulted in the deaths of nearly half a million people*.

The following letters correspond to the five categories of genocidal violence listed under the legal definition of genocide at the beginning of this document.

(a) up to 215,000 people have been killed by government forces and militias from 2003 to the end of 2004, and the killing continues;

(b) bodily and mental harm has been inflicted upon thousands of women and young girls raped by soldiers and militias. Such physical and mental harm will continue to affect these women and their families for years to come; ;

(c) an additional 200,000 lives have been lost through the deliberate destruction of homes, crops and water resources and the physical displacement of more than two million people which have resulted in conditions of famine and disease epidemics, both in inaccessible areas and in camps for displaced people;

(d) the killing of pregnant women; and

(e) the use of rape as a weapon of genocide. Indeed many perpetrators have stated while raping women that their intent is to change the ethnic identity of the child conceived by rape.

3. The Humanitarian Crisis

* It is now estimated that 15,000-35,000 people are dying each month in Darfur and that this figure could rise to 100,000 per month, according to Jan Egeland, the UN Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs, if humanitarian assistance is unable to reach people due to the continued violence.

* Genocide in Darfur has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today, and it is getting worse. There are an estimated 2 million people in camps for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Darfur and another 200,000 in camps in neighboring Chad. There are an unknown number of additional IDPs in inaccessible regions of Darfur. There is a shortage of food and shelter, and there are real fears of massive outbreaks of cholera and other diseases. It is now estimated that up to 1,000 people are dying every day in this crisis as a result of these conditions and the ongoing violence, and the mortality rate could increase substantially if there is insufficient relief.

The Khartoum government cannot be trusted to address the humanitarian crisis. For more than a year, the Khartoum government systematically obstructed outside access to Darfur and blocked international efforts to establish a relief campaign. It continues to severely restrict access. It has denied the existence of a humanitarian crisis altogether. The government of Sudan is the author of the ongoing genocide in Darfur, of which the current humanitarian crisis is but one consequence, and Khartoum cannot be trusted to provide security to humanitarian operations there.

* Security is Essential for Humanitarian Efforts. Adequate humanitarian assistance cannot be provided to vulnerable and displaced groups in Darfur without military protection. Multinational intervention is necessary to provide security and logistical support to urgent humanitarian efforts; otherwise as many as one million people could be dead by the end of this year.

4. The U.S. Government Acknowledges Genocide, But Fails to Act

* The U.S. is the only government to have acknowledged that what is happening in Darfur constitutes genocide. On September 9, 2004, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell declared on behalf of the Bush Administration that, "genocide has been committed in Darfur, and that the government of Sudan and the Janjawid bear responsibility." The White House issued a statement the same day confirming this determination.

* At the same time as he acknowledged that genocide was being carried out in Darfur, Powell also denied logic, declaring, "no new action is dictated by this determination."

* President Bush has failed to make a public statement about the genocide in Darfur. He did not even mention this crisis in his State of the Union address in January 2005.

* The U.S. has a clear moral and legal obligation to prevent and punish genocide as a signatory to the Convention on the Prevention & Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948).

* The U.S. has provided some transportation and logistical support to the African Union troops on the ground in Darfur, and has introduced UN Security Council resolutions calling for sanctions against the Sudanese government, but its actions remain wholly inadequate as a response to genocide.

5. The UN Acknowledges Crimes Against Humanity, But Fails to Act

* The United Nations International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur officially delivered its 176-page report to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on January 25, 2005.

* The report found that the Sudanese government has committed major crimes under international law, including a pattern of mass killings, rape, pillage and forced displacement and these constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

* Although the report actually provides ample evidence of genocidal intent and actions on the part of the Sudanese government, the commission concluded that it did not find a government policy of genocide in Darfur. This harkens back to the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, when the international community avoided using the term genocide because countries were unwilling to take the action that such a serious charge would require.

* The report recommends that the UN Security Council refer the Darfur crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for prosecution.

* The first conclusion of the report states that the people of Darfur have been living a nightmare of violence and abuse and that they need protection, but the report fails to recommend any measures to provide such protection.

6. The African Union Cannot Respond Alone

* The African Union has just over 2,100 troops on the ground in Darfur, but they lack the financial and logistical support, and the force size necessary to stop the ongoing genocide. Furthermore, the AU has no mandate to protect civilians.

* The African Union is sponsoring peace talks between the Sudanese government and the rebel groups, but progress has proven difficult as the ceasefire they agreed to in April 2004 continues to be violated.

* Genocide is not an African problem, it is an international problem and, as such, it requires an international response.

* The African Union is a young organization (established in 2002) and it is not equipped to respond to a crisis of this magnitude. Faced with such a grave challenge, the international community cannot allow the African Union to fail, but rather must support, reinforce and expand upon its efforts in Darfur.

7. What is needed is an Urgent International Intervention

* While it is important to ensure that those responsible for crimes in Darfur are held accountable and brought to justice, stopping the genocide in Darfur must be the first priority for the international community.

* Unless there is a rapid intervention in Darfur, up to a million people could be dead by the end of this year. Nothing short of an international intervention will stop this genocide.

* In light of the ongoing genocide in Darfur, and the inability of the U.S. and UN to force a change in Khartoums behavior or to take action to stop the genocide, the U.S. government must press the UN Security Council to immediately authorize a multinational intervention force in Darfur, under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.

* Such a multinational force must have a mandate to protect civilians in Darfur and to enforce (not just observe) the ceasefire that the government and rebels agreed to in April 2004.

* The quickest way to realize such a multinational force would be to provide the African Union troops that are already on the ground in Darfur with a Chapter VII mandate, and then to immediately begin reinforcing their efforts by expanding that mission with troop contributions from additional countries from within and outside of Africa. Ideally, a UN Peacekeeping Operation would fulfill this role, but that would take at least 3-6 months to assemble, and countless lives would be lost in the intervening period.

* The U.S. has a unique capacity and clear obligations to help support international efforts to secure the region. The U.S. has unique satellite intelligence capacities that allow it to track the government forces and militias activities in Darfur as well as the movements of the displaced. The U.S. also has the greatest capacity in the world to transport troops and supplies to Darfur from African and other countries, while asking the European Union and NATO to do the same. The U.S. also has almost 2,000 troops in nearby Djibouti, several hundred of which could be quickly mobilized to support a multinational force.

* An intervention would serve four critical purposes: (1) Stop the killings, rapes and pillaging in Darfur; (2) Provide security to facilitate humanitarian assistance programs for displaced people and refugees until a formal UN Peace Keeping Operation can be mounted; (3) Enforce the African Union cease-fire between the Khartoum government and the two rebel groups in Darfur to allow meaningful political negotiations to move forward, and (4) facilitate the return of IDPs to their land and the reconstruction of their homes by providing a secure environment. Such a Multinational force could also facilitate the work of investigators working on the prosecution of the crimes against humanity already committed by the government.

8. What the U.S. Should do at the United Nations

* The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will not act without leadership, and the U.S. must assert the necessary leadership to ensure UN action to stop the genocide in Darfur.

* The UN Security Council continues to hesitate on Darfur, largely because of the economic and diplomatic interests of its permanent members especially China and Russia, who dont wish to antagonize Khartoum. China is the single largest investor in Sudans oil sector, while Russia is Khartoums major arms supplier. The U.S. must expend the necessary diplomatic capital to overcome their objections to a multinational force to stop the genocide.

* Many UN member states are also skeptical about U.S. intentions given its un-sanctioned intervention in Iraq under false pretenses. The U.S. must convince the members of the UN Security Council that the genocide in Darfur requires their urgent attention and immediate international action.

* Unless the U.S. or another permanent member of the Security Council insists that this is genocide and demands that the Council address the matter, the African Union and Sudans African neighbors will continue to be left to bear the brunt of this growing catastrophe without adequate resources to stop it, and they will likely be blamed for failing to act sufficiently & in time to save hundreds of thousands of lives.

* A decade ago, the U.S. blocked UN action as genocide unfolded in Rwanda. Now, the U.S. must do everything necessary to ensure the passage of a UN Security Council Resolution authorizing a multinational intervention force to stop the genocide in Darfur.

*Accurate estimates of the death toll in Darfur have been difficult to ascertain because of obstruction on the part of the Sudanese government and because of UN unwillingness to offer an official estimate. The best regular estimates of mortality rates in Darfur have been provided by Prof. Eric Reeves of Smith College (among others), who makes use of extensive data and scientific formulae for projecting death rates in comparable conditions. ( /)

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Adelante Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-20-05 09:53 PM
Response to Original message
6. Calendar of local events against genocide in Darfur
Calendar of local events

Local Activism - Ideas and Resources

You can take huge steps towards stopping the genocide in Darfur by acting locally. Below, we've pulled together some ideas and resources to help you make an impact in your area.

Don't forget to tell us if you're organising an event! Send us the details at and we'll post it on the site.

Ideas and Resources for Local Activism

*Organise a Protest:

Tips - as well as raising awareness about Darfur, ensure your protest has a "demand", e.g. that the international community intervene to secure aid supplies;
- pick a time and place where the maximum number of people will be able to participate, e.g. city center during workday lunch break, or at the weekend;
- contact local media to publicise and cover your protest;
- try to carry colourful/powerful banners or pictures;
- ask people to dress in costume (e.g. all black);
- stage a "Die-In";
- get a local band to play music;
- do street theatre (e.g. symbolising the death in Darfur).

*Raise Money for Humanitarian Relief:

Tips - decide which of the organisations working in Darfur you want to fund, see our Donate Page;
- hold a bake sale, a car boot sale, a T-Shirt sale, or show a video or slide show on Darfur to help raise money;
- contact local media to publicise and cover your event.

*Write to Local Newspapers:

Tips - click here for a directory of local newspapers in the US;
- click here for a sample letter from an activist in California, USA
- if you're working as a group, divide up the newspapers in your area between you;
- write a letter, or submit an article;
- write as an individual, or on behalf of your local activist group etc.
- key facts and points you may want to make in any letter or article
(please also use our "Info Page"):

** Its genocide. The Arab Janjuweed militias, backed by the Government of Sudan, have bombed and burnt the black, muslim population of Darfur from their homes. They've destroyed their crops and poisoned their water supplies. Now they're preventing life-saving food and medicine from reaching them.

** Over 130 countries, including the US, Canada, the UK and most other EU countries (Full List) have signed an International Convention committing them to act to prevent genocide anywhere in the world. Thats why no government wants to call Darfur a genocide.

** 1,000 people are dying every day. Over 400,000 have already died or are passed saving; the death toll could reach over 1 million.

** Time is the worst enemy. In a matter of months the disease and starvation will have done their job. We must act now.

** Only an international humanitarian intervention to protect the civilians and ensure aid reaches them can save the people of Darfur.

** Publicise what you're doing locally, and the international campaigns.

* Contact Local Media

Try to get the local media to publicise and cover any events or actions you organise. Local press are always interested in things happening "on their patch", particularly if they link into a broader national, or international issue.

Here are lists of local media in the US:
Television Stations
Radio Stations

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