April 10, 2006
Crawling Toward ‘Never Again’
I visited Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam some time ago. There was overcast that entire day–which I found fitting to match the somber mood of the exhibit and its visitors. I think when visiting memorials in general–be it Ground Zero, the Holocaust, or Irish Hunger Memorial, we walk away feeling sad and reflective, but hopeful in some way. Hopeful because we know as a society we would never allowed such tragedies to happen again. There are stronger mechanisms in place and an international community today which would prevent genocide or gross human rights abuses.
Or maybe people just like repeating the phrase ‘never again’ but never really do anything about it. The conflict in Darfur is in its third year and not much is being done to stop it.
Today’s Washington Post has an article on the US supporting a limited NATO role in Sudan’s Darfur region.
“The NATO forces would assist in logistics, communications, intelligence and other areas but would not intervene on the ground in Darfur, the officials told the Post.”
Up to 100,000 people in Darfur have been killed since October 2004 by government-backed Arab militias. So mass murder in a post-Rwanda era doesn’t get the AU troops reinforcement?
The African Union recently had their mandate extended to keep its 7,000 poorly-equipped troops in Sudan until September 2006. What can this accomplish? The AU mission has been unable to stop the violence and support from the West and neighboring Arab countries is desperately needed.
Militia groups, such as the “Darfur Jihad Organization” and the “Blood Brigades” are threatening attacks against the deployment of an UN peacekeeping force. In addition the BBC reported last week, the UN’s top humanitarian official, Jan Egeland, accused Khartoum of attempting to hide the dire conditions in Darfur after the government prevented him for visiting the region.
It’s a shame after what happened in Rwanda, more African governments don’t pressure Sudan to allow a UN mission. Of course, with the threat of Russia and China in the Security Council blocking possible sanctions against Sudan, let’s see how long it will take before something is accomplished through these channels…