Friday, April 07, 2006

There's not enough time to vent irritation in full - here's a start

Most of us can just watch while our leaders do nothing, some are lucky enough to be able to use their position of influence to encourage failure to protect.

In focusing on the wars being played out, Paul "Khartoum have a point" Moorcroft avoids referring to the massive humanitarian crisis in Darfur and now Chad. Help is unable to get to people because it is too insecure and too big an area for the current troops to provide protection.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, raped and displaced. These are people who play no part in any conflict.

The whole point of intervention is not to bring a third party to the fighting, but to protect civilians. Only a large force of international peacekeepers can adequately achieve this. Fiddling around with racial or tribal definitions to say it isn't genocide is as stupid as the racism endemic in Sudanese society itself, but Moorcroft misses the point again. Hutus and Tutsis are all black, they all *look the same*. Western Jews don't look terribly different from the rest of us, unless you feel like emphasising difference to incite militias to kill and rape large amounts of people. Since September, genocide stopped being the point - the international community took on a responsibility to protect civilians if their own government could not.

This parallel with Iraq is deliberately unhelpful. Bush and Blair were wrong in that adventure, but you imply they are the only ones to want action. Millions of people around the world want to see protection for the people of Darfur. Of course a 'white, western force' would be innapropriate, but they would be joining the current AU force, which has included many Rwandans. Bush shouldn't be making the decision, it should be the UN, but force needs to come from countries who have the expertise and equipment to boost what the AU are already providing.

The world commuity have a responsibility to protect the people of Darfur immediately. Immediately, as in 2003. The International Crisis Group has made sensible recommendations about what should be done.

Simply, it should be 'whatever it takes' to protect, feed and heal people. Toppling the Sudan government does not need to be on the agenda here. But they should be held responsible if their continuing refusal to allow humanitarian oversight allows more people to die, whether by airstrike or starvation. Civil war is still used to distract and deny the genocide in Rwanda and this and other prevarications allow Moorcroft to support Khartoum's arguments to keep out.

After telling people all the reasons why 'we' shouldn't be involved, he quite rightly says that AU and Islamic troops should be strengthened. At least we can agree on this, but conveniently enough it will save us a lot of money and once again the West will be seen to do nothing while Africa and the Muslim world try harder. Given the strength of feeling in the West, this differentiation is ridiculous. This needs to be a cooperative effort.

With most of your arguments, you've probably convinced a whole lot of readers and policy-makers that we should sit this one out till its bitter end. May you be judged for it.

No comments: