Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Empty promises

Almost four years ago, both President Bush and his opponent, Senator John Kerry, stood in front of a crowd declaring that the atrocities being committed in Sudan's western Darfur province were indeed genocide. The international community decided that action needed to be taken. The phrase "never again" was invoked on numerous occasions. Advocacy groups took root, and promises were made that the people of Darfur would not be abandoned.

Then why, may I ask, is this happening:

From AllAfrica.com:

Five years after fighting first erupted in Darfur between Sudanese Government forces and rebel groups, the world has still not found a durable solution to the suffering of millions of people in the region, the United Nations humanitarian chief told the Security Council today, warning the situation will only deteriorate unless urgent measures are taken.

John Holmes, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, told a Council meeting that he was saddened and angry to inform them that the situation inside Darfur had only worsened in the past 12 months, despite the efforts of the international community.

"We continue to see the goalposts receding, to the point where peace in Darfur seems further away today than ever," he said in a statement. "Further progress in the deployment of UNAMID [the hybrid UN-African Union peacekeeping force], equipped to protect civilians and improve security, will help.

"But only an end to all violence and concrete steps towards a political settlement will make the fundamental difference needed, as the rebel movements themselves above all need to recognize. Otherwise the reality is that the people of Darfur face a continued steady deterioration of their conditions of life and their chances of lasting recovery."

Maybe its time for an end to the empty promises and false pledges of action. How many hopes of peace have been fluttered about only to be smashed beneath the boots of Sudanese government soldiers and Janajaweed militiamen as they burn villages and bury the corpses of innocent villagers in sandy mass graves.

Is an example of "false hope needed"?

From CNN in 2004:

The Sudanese government and rebels in the country's Darfur region have signed security and humanitarian agreements in Nigeria after two weeks of talks, the press officer for Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo has said.

More than 1.5 million people have been forced from their homes because of fighting in Darfur, creating what the United Nations has termed the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The government abandoned its objection to a no-fly zone in the area to make the security agreement happen.

The agreement moves the government closer to disarming the brutal Janjaweed militias, and it calls on both sides to allow monitors to observe the cease-fire.

But this is not the most recent example. Let us never forget the infamous "Darfur Peace Accord" of 2006. At this stage, there are really only two options left. First off, we can do what needs to be done and take a stand against the regime of Omar Al-Bashir and his hired thugs, or we can be honest with the people of Darfur and declare that, judging by our actions, that we do not care about them and are only worried about the problems happening inside of our borders. Why make meaningless and empty promises of action if we have no intention of following through with it?

It is a moral tragedy that after five years, nothing has been done and no one is putting forth any serious solutions to solve this conflict. Has the world completely lost its nerve? Even in the parts of the world that have had severe repercussions for the west, such as Afghanistan, western countries have become more reluctant than ever to confront those who pose a threat to peace and stability.

During these last five years, this tragedy has been brought up during campaigns and political events. It has been the focus of rallies calling for action...it has been featured on the nightly news, and it has been the subject of many debates. But let's remember one thing: at the end of the day, this is still happening...and no matter how many pledges of action and support we make to those who are suffering, it will not go away if it is followed by inaction and becomes an empty promise.


Ian said...

Good post. It is fun to play the "what if" game and suppose what would've happened if we would've went to Darfur after Afghanistan (and left Iraq to itself). It would have been something we could've taken the lead on and even countries such as France and Germany would've went in with us. Imagine the moral authority we would have if we actually did something because it was the right thing to do--no oil involved. Maybe next time?

C.H. said...

Yes, I strongly believe we would have moral authority if not only the United States, but the western world, actually followed through on their pledges of action and stopped the savage acts of genocide being committed against the most innocent of all people.

However, I must disagree with the notion of "leaving Iraq to itself". While the effort was planned poorly, standing up to a genocidal madman like Saddam Hussein was indeed the right thing to do. Personally, I think we should have finished the job in 1991, instead of leaving the Shiites (who we called on to rise up against Saddam) at the hands of the Republican Guard while declaring a false victory.

M said...

I agree, C.H. I can't see how it would be preferable to have peace in Darfur but genocide in Iraq. And as much as I love Africa, the money and jihad ideology flows north to south, so it makes sense to take care of the Middle East first. The genocidaires of Sudan get money and support from other jihadists from the Middle East. Unfortunately we often have to fight the greater of several evils.