Archive for Darfur

Oh No, Not Again…

Another Darfur? I still don’t give a [bleep] about the old Darfur:

Soon after the Nuba Mountains region of central Sudan exploded in war two weeks ago, a patrol from the United Nations peacekeeping force was detained by Sudanese government soldiers and subjected to a mock firing squad in the soldiers’ divisional headquarters.

First the peacekeepers were lined up. Then an officer cocked his AK-47 and pointed it at them. He demanded that they leave South Kordofan state, the ancestral home of the Nuba people, and warned: “We will kill you if you come back here.”

The U.N. mission in South Kordofan is the only international protection for the Nuba people, the forgotten victims of Sudan’s 22-year civil war. South Sudan will finally earn freedom from the Khartoum regime when the South becomes independent on July 9. But the Nuba, trapped along the North-South border, will remain within Khartoum’s reach.

I have no problem with the Nuba people. Ain’t no Nuba ever called me cracker, so to speak. But dang it, what does Mia Farrow want me to do?

Remember, part of the reason Darfur was in the sights of Khartoum and the disgusting janjaweed was that South Sudan was in revolt against the rest of the country: it was a civil war. Innocent people get hurt in civil wars, but Bashir’s regime was only doing what regimes do—putting down an insurrection.

Hundreds of thousands of Nuba are already on the move, fleeing from tanks, artillery and aerial bombardment. Humanitarian access has been shut down. A week ago, U.N. peacekeepers warned of a humanitarian crisis that they are “not sufficiently prepared to counter.”

Apart from a couple of statements in the U.N. Security Council, the international community has failed to put the plight of the Nuba people on its agenda. President Obama must understand that the conflagration in South Kordofan has the potential to bring down the whole edifice built by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The Nuba Mountains require an immediate ceasefire with unconditional humanitarian access, followed by a robust monitoring mission on the ground and resolution of the grievances that caused conflict in the first place.

Thank God, she seems to get that the UN is less than useless. But Obama isn’t going to do her much good either. Or the Nuba people.

And while Michelle’s over there, she seems to have other things on her mind:

Just don’t fast again, Mia. You didn’t like it much last time you tried it.

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Hell Hath No Fury

Like a “human rights activist” scorned:

And then there is Darfur–where, since 2003, government-supported militia have left 300,000 dead and 2.7 million people internally displaced. The situation was so dire that in April 2007, Susan Rice, now the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, wrote, “The U.S. should press for a Chapter VII U.N. resolution that issues Sudan an ultimatum: accept unconditional deployment of the U.N. force within one week, or face military consequences . . . If the U.S. fails to gain U.N. support, we should act without it as [we] did in 1999 in Kosovo.” The International Criminal Court then issued arrest warrants for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, the first for a sitting head of state, and other Sudanese leaders implicated in the atrocities in Darfur.

Through all of this, we have been waiting and wondering what the outcome would be to save the people of Sudan and help break the cycle of impunity.

The Obama administration recently unveiled its new policy of engagement with Sudan, aimed first at securing the full implementation of the treaty that ended the north-south Sudanese civil war. While the administration maintained it will not deal with al-Bashir or any other official charged with arrest, it has not yet announced any serious moves to enforce the decision of the ICC and execute its warrants.

There will be pressure on the United States and its partners to bring stability to Sudan, even at the expense of criminal accountability. Regardless of the rationale, the end would be the same: victims left without justice while perpetrators walk away.

Angelina, sweetie—they don’t vote. Trust me, if ACORN could register Darfurians, they would, faster than you can say “janjaweed genocide” (three times, fast), but they can’t. So “victims left without justice” get what the rest of us get who don’t trust, believe, like this president of ours: a heaping, steaming pile of bubkes.

I’m sorry. And I have a shoulder to cry on if you need one.

Mia Farrow is similarly disillusioned (sorry, honey, no shoulder for you):

The Enough Project at the Center for American Progress today released the following statement in reaction to news that the government of Sudan had arrested several members of the opposition political party, the SPLM:

“It was fanciful of the United States and other donor nations to think that the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), which has ruled Sudan with an iron fist and tolerated no peaceful dissent, would suddenly loosen its grip and allow peaceful elections and their necessary precursor: peaceful freedom of assembly,” said Enough Co-founder John Prendergast. … “President Obama should recognize that any benchmarks-based policy of incentives and pressures will have no credibility unless consequences are imposed immediately when such an obvious benchmark like today’s denial of a basic element of the existing North-South peace deal — freedom of assembly for the elections — has been violated.”

We’ll excuse the convoluted syntax—but the wooly-headed thinking is inexcusable. President Obama can recognize only his reflection in the mirror, nothing else.

BTW, I don’t include the link, because Mia has the tendency to post upsetting pictures of starving and deformed children—I understand why, even if I don’t approve—as well as one-sided and ignorant attacks on Israel—which I understand (bleeding hearts tend to bleed a lot less for bleeding Israelis) and don’t approve.

Why am I so dismissive of well-intentioned, big-hearted people, with nothing but kindness and empathy in their souls?

Oh, I don’t know. You tell me:

THE NON-GOVERNMENTAL human rights watchdogs that were created to offset the unethical behavior and biases of anti-democratic governments, have become accomplices. Superpowers like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), and similar groups work closely with and support the agendas of the UNHRC and other international frameworks.

They joined officials from Arab countries in campaigning on behalf of the Goldstone Report. Instead of speaking truth to this blatant abuse of power, officials of these self-proclaimed human rights groups are part of the problem, and most journalists blindly follow their lead. The past year has seen even greater cooperation between the UN and NGOs in distorting human rights values beyond recognition. Human Rights Watch was caught raising funds from wealthy members of Saudi Arabia’s elite. Instead of leading the campaign against the abuses imposed by the Wahhabi religious police, this “watchdog” hosted a member of the Shura council at a dinner which featured more Israel-bashing and sinister warnings of the power of the “pro-Israel lobby.” And HRW’s “senior military analyst” and author of numerous attacks on Israel was suspended, while questions were raised regarding his professional qualifications and credibility.

In parallel, Amnesty International and other groups continue to warp human rights and international law into ideological platforms for fighting Western democracy and open societies. Like HRW, a highly disproportionate percentage of Amnesty’s reports and campaigns focus on criticizing the United States and NATO countries for alleged infractions in Iraq and Afghanistan, while terrorists and their state supporters get relatively little attention.

BUT IN 2009, there were also some signs that the “halo effect,” which protects human rights frameworks from scrutiny and criticism, has begun to deteriorate. Robert Bernstein, the founder of HRW, published an op-ed in the New York Times in which he denounced his own organization for betraying its moral principles. Although HRW officials launched a campaign to discredit Bernstein and other critics, the charges are too serious to be ignored, and HRW will need an entirely new and unbiased leadership to restore its credibility.

In addition, the April 2009 attempt to reproduce the catastrophic 2001 Durban NGO Forum – in which 1500 radical NGOs used a UN anti-racism conference to promote anti-Semitism – was defeated. Canada led the way, and this process highlighted the need to redesign the entire UN human rights structure.

I don’t have any clever or conclusive remarks about Darfur, or any of the other butt-holes of humanity for that matter. If President Obama can pretend they don’t exist, so can I. And I’ll be damned if I can think of a single “consequence” (as the director of the Enough Project calls for above) that people would be willing to impose that would change a damn thing.

We’re not willing, and Sudan won’t change. What else is on?

PS: Here’s what (how could I forget?):

I have been in Oslo, Norway the past few days working with the Oslo peace community in their opposition to Barack Obama being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

I sat with my hosts and watched the speeches given by the Chairman of the Nobel committee (who seemed like he was going to bounce off the platform and float over to Obama and begin french kiss him in ecstasy), and the Laureate and we were shocked and appalled at the way the speeches gave legitimacy and Robber Class honor to the “necessity” of war.

The protests today were large, energetic, youthful, and angry! It is nice to see some international rejection of the “hope-nosis” that has been infecting our world with rosey-colored violence and gold-plated oppression.


I know it’s not original with her, but still…


Darfuther Nonsense LXIV

You know me, I hate to bum anyone out: Rebecca of Sunnybrook Blog.

So could someone see that Mia Farrow is spared from this news?

Sudanese women who escaped the Darfur conflict to eastern Chad are facing high levels of sexual violence, an Amnesty International report says.

Despite the presence of a UN force, women and girls are being attacked when they leave 12 designated camps in search of water, the report says.

It also documents cases of refugees being attacked inside the camps by Chadian aid workers.

Since 2003 about 250,000 Darfuris have fled the conflict in Sudan, where mass rape of civilians had allegedly been used as as strategy to displace entire villages.

“The rape that countless women and girls experienced in Darfur continues to haunt them in eastern Chad,” Tawanda Hondora, Amnesty’s Africa programme deputy director, said in a statement.

How’s that hunger strike over Darfur going? I know Mia had to give it up, since she looked like she was in week three of a hunger strike at the beginning. Didn’t Richard Branson take it up? That couldn’t have taken long either. Why don’t any fat liberal moonbats put down the cheeseburger and take up the cause? Michael Moore, are you listening?

Can’t understand you, Michael. That’s a microphone, not a drumstick.

Honestly, I don’t mean to torture anyone (which means I have no future as a leader in most African and Asian countries), but the world is a horrible, nasty place. A beautiful place, to be sure—Eden—but populated by the vilest form of life. Most humans make pond scum look like Alan Alda.

But on the rare occasions and in the rare places where we treat each other with a modicum of respect and brotherhood, we should be overjoyed and proud. The last thing we should feel is shame.

Darfur is the rule, Burma is the rule, Iran is the rule; we are the exception.

Anyhow, here’s your happy ending:

Chad’s government has denied that any Chadian has attacked a Sudan refugee.

See? Nothing to worry about. Have another slice of sweet potato pie, Michael.

Comments (1)

Darfurther Nonsense LXIII [Update]

You’re going to hate me (I don’t feel proud of it myself), but I have to take another swing at Mia Farrow. Darfur deserves better.

Bless her sunken cheeks, she means well—but meaning well and doing well just aren’t the same thing. She’s been on a hunger strike for 12 days now, and what strikes me about her campaign is her naivete and the complete present-tense of her perspective.

Two days ago, she marveled at how well she felt (other than the listlessness and the occasional hunger pangs); a day later, all she could write was “I’m really struggling today,” and today: “Feeling awful. Blood sugar under 40. Muscles hurt. I won’t be able to continue much longer.”

Honey, we care, we really do—but it’s really not about you.

Also, she exhorts her followers to call up the White House, and urge President Obama to keep his campaign promise to help the starving Darfurians—a laudable, if laughable goal—and seems puzzled and perplexed that Obama has taken the phone off the hook. (At least, that’s how I interpret the busy signals everyone complains they get.)

So she writes down a web link and holds it up to the computer camera, crookedly, and too close to read the whole thing.

Again, the girl is on the right side of the issue—better to be fer Darfur than agin’ it—but who’s running this operation, Ted Mack?

And she asks sarcastically why China, Sudan’s biggest backer, isn’t doing more to help. Honestly, if she’s not serious, why should we be?

Still, in interest of full disclosure, I will report that the hard heart of Omar al-Bashir has softened, if just a touch:

Sudan announced earlier that it was inviting new aid groups to work in Darfur in a move welcomed by the UN.

It expelled 13 foreign aid groups in March after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

But on Thursday, the Minister for Humanitarian Assistance, Haroun Lual Ruun, said Khartoum would invite new non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to Darfur and allow UN agencies and NGOs currently operating there to “expand their existing operations”.

Has Mighty Mia stared down the Lion of the Desert? Draw your our own conclusions.

Aggie here with an update. We’ll all be relieved to learn that Mia Farrow has given up her hunger strike and that Richard Branson has taken over for her for the next three days:

Richard Branson made this statement
“I’m honoured to be taking over the fast for the next three days from Mia Farrow in her courageous stance to support the people of Darfur. Over a year and a half ago, I travelled to Darfur and was horrified by the stories that people of all ages shared with us. Young children had watched their entire family get killed and then had to survive on their own in unimaginable conditions. I was humbled and inspired by the courage of the Darfuri people and the commitment of the aid organisations that were working on the frontlines. Now, with 13 aid organisations expelled from the country, over 1m people are at grave risk. We cannot stand and watch as 1m people suffer. We all need to stand up and demand that international aid is restored and that the people of Darfur are protected and given the chance to live in peace.”

Day 12
I have been instructed by my doctor to stop my fast immediately due to health concerns—including possible seizures. I am fortunate. The women, children, and men I am fasting for do not have that option.

When beginning this fast twelve days ago, I said that when I could go no longer, I hoped another would take my place, and another, and another, until the expelled humanitarian agencies are readmitted and finally there there is finally justice and peace for the people of Darfur. Richard Branson has stepped forward and so I have ended this fast.

I think that the doctors have been reading BTL’s posts and realized that she needed some food. I marvel at her ability to tolerate the coffee headache myself.

- Aggie


Darfurther Nonsense LXII

I may tease, taunt, ridicule, and mock Mia Farrow’s hunger strike for Darfur (an eating binge would have been safer and more sustainable in her case), but at least I’ll let her speak for herself:

What I like: she calls out President Obama for being nowhere on this story. It’s as if all Darfurians are half-brothers to him, embarrassing reminders of where he comes from.

What I don’t like: she has no answers. None. Her pleas are filled with “maybes”, and “I-don’t-knows”. She starts down one avenue of hope—maybe countries friendlier to Sudan than we are could send aid workers—then expresses doubt that China even has any aid workers. I don’t know either, honey, but I expected the (gaunt, wizened) face of Save Darfur to know. Anyway, China’s just there for the oil. I promise you they don’t give a damn about any starving Darfurians.

It’s not like I enjoy any of this—I take my schaden without much freude. I just wish people who actually expended any energy on this thought smarter about it.

Or directed it somewhere else, perhaps just as hopeless, but just as worthy of the empty gesture:

Myanmar’s junta has rejected an appeal to free pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose most recent period of detention will expire May 27, her party spokesman said Tuesday.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has spent more than 13 of the last 19 years — including the past six — under house arrest in Yangon despite international pressure for her release.

Nyan Win said he is still hopeful Suu Kyi will be freed later this month when her six-year detention expires, although there were no indications that she would be released.

She won’t be—bank on it.

There is one hunger strike I actually approve of:


For nearly two weeks, Roxana Saberi has been refusing food. The jailed Iranian-American journalist, who was sentenced by Iran’s Revolutionary Court to 8 years in Tehran’s Evin prison on charges of spying for the U.S., continues to proclaim her innocence while both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continue to call for her release. So far, the case’s presiding judge has not been moved, calling the fast a ploy for propaganda purposes.

Stay hungry, Roxie. Stay hungry.


Gumming the Hand That Feeds

This will not end well:

Actress Mia Farrow, a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador, announced on Tuesday that she will begin a hunger strike next week to show solidarity with the people of Sudan’s conflict-torn Darfur region.

“On April 27 I will begin a fast of water only in solidarity with the people of Darfur and as a personal expression of outrage at a world that is somehow able to stand by and watch innocent men, women and children needlessly die of starvation, thirst and disease,” Farrow said in a statement.

A spokesman for Farrow said she would stick with the hunger strike as long as possible, which her doctors estimate is a maximum of around three weeks given Farrow’s slim build.

Three weeks? I wouldn’t give her three hours:


And if she were in true solidarity with the people of Darfur, she’d sprinkle a little cholera in every glass. Of course, it looks like she already has.

If you looked behind our sarcasm and our cynicism about Darfur, you’d find we actually care. (You’d have to look pretty hard, admittedly, but it’s there, in the attic, somewhere behind the old futon and boxes of LPs.)

But as our voluminous coverage demonstrates, nobody else cares. At least not enough to do anything about it. The UN is powerless, other African nations are indifferent, and even President Obama—the man who said Darfur is a stain on our souls—is nowhere to be found.

Some may look upon Darfur as a failure of Western morality to act; we look upon Darfur as a failure of Western morality to act. Entirely different thing.

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Darfurther Nonsense LXI

We’ve been at this a long time, as the roman numeral count would imply—but the nonsense just gets more nonsensical:

Ever since the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan’s president two weeks ago, the government has been stepping up pressure on the international community

First, Sudan kicked out more than a dozen aid groups that were helping people in the Darfur region in the west of the country. Now, President Omar al-Bashir says he wants all foreign aid groups out within a year. The situation is quickly becoming a test for the Obama administration, which came in talking tough about the genocide in Darfur.

John Norris of the Enough Project called on President Obama to lead a concerted diplomatic effort to make it clear to Khartoum that its behavior is unacceptable. Jerry Fowler, who runs the Save Darfur Coalition, is also waiting to see the White House act.

“Why is there a disconnect between how passionately and articulately candidate Obama addressed the issue of Darfur and said that the genocide there is a stain on our souls — and what President Obama is doing and saying now with millions of lives at stake?” Fowler says. “We need presidential engagement and we need it now.”

Good question. How ’bout someone ask him at his next press conference and see what the Human TelePrompter has to say?

But all you aid groups are wearing my ass out. I thought you needed urgent action last year—and the year before that, and the year before that. We’ve had this thread going for two and a half years!

You’ve had presidential engagement: Bush called the situation in Darfur genocide, and got no love for speaking truth to autocratic power. The ICC indicted Bashir as a war criminal, and now the situation is worse than ever. Maybe you guys should back off for all the good you seem to be doing.

Pity the poor liberal mind: to learn in the same day that bad people behave badly no matter how good your heart; and that presidents bear no resemblance to the candidates they once were—even clean, articulate, black presidents.

I’m sorry, I really should be more understanding. It’s okay guys: maybe Zimbabwe could use your help. It couldn’t get any worse… could it?

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Well, What Did You Expect?

You treat a homicidal maniac like the homicidal maniac he is, how did you expect him to behave?

Like something other than a homicidal maniac?

The UN secretary general has urged Sudan to rethink its decision to expel aid groups from its Darfur region.

Ban Ki-moon said the decision could cause “irrevocable damage” to the humanitarian operations in Sudan.

The order came after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir over alleged war crimes.

Aid agencies have expressed concern over the potential impact of the move on thousands of displaced people.

Of course Omar would starve the poor little darlings of Darfur—that’s essentially what you’re accusing him of. What did you think he’d do, put his hands in the air and come out peaceably? That must be some other Omar al-Bashir you’re thinking of, not this guy.

I still say the dirtiest trick that could ever be played on anyone is to leave them to the defense of the UN. I wouldn’t do that to a garden slug.

But it suits the Palestinians!


Darfurther Nonsense LX

Hey, Mia Farrow.

I know you want to save Darfur, but how do you want to do it? You want to send in the UN?

Think again:

The International Criminal Court prosecutor told the United Nations yesterday to prepare to arrest Sudan’s president if he is indicted on genocide charges, and not to protect him in a “coverup.”

ICC judges in the The Hague are considering a request by the prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Campo, for a warrant to arrest President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for crimes in the war-torn Darfur region. A decision is expected next month.

Moreno-Ocampo told the 15-nation UN Security Council it “must be prepared. If the judges decide to issue an arrest warrant against President Bashir, there will be a need for united and consistent action to ensure its execution.”

“Genocide continues. Rapes in and around the (refugee) camps continue. Humanitarian assistance is still hindered. More than 5,000 displaced persons die each month,” he said. Sudan’s UN envoy dismissed the allegations as “blackmail”.

Bashir would try to win Security Council protection but his “criminal actions should not be ignored,” the prosecutor said. “The international community cannot be part of any coverup of genocide or crimes against humanity.”

Moreno-Ocampo was apparently taking aim at Article 16 of the ICC statute whereby the Security Council can delay investigations for a year or more.

African and Arab states have proposed invoking the article, saying Moreno-Ocampo’s attempt to bring Bashir before the ICC is likely to damage attempts to halt the five-year-old conflict in Darfur, western Sudan.

Wow. African countries backing criminal Sudan and an indicted genocidist: this ain’t your daddy’s UN. But it’s sure as hell ours.

BTW, I’m no fan of the ICC, either. They’ve never heard a complaint against Israel they haven’t embraced. Two Jew-hating institutions doing battle—what’s not to love?

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Darfurther Nonsense LIX

The election has been good to our numbers here, but it’s time to start sprinkling in the kind of stories we used to follow around here: Israel, Palestine, China… Darfur:

How can such brazen cruelty be inflicted upon our fellow human beings? How is it that a military assault on displaced civilians in a refugee camp creates barely a ripple in the news cycle? How does such outrageous human destruction prompt so little outrage? How is it that those who have been tasked with protecting the world’s most vulnerable population have failed – and failed, and then failed yet again – in their central responsibility? What does this say about the United Nations and the powerful member states? How have we come to such a moment?

That’s Mia Farrow, in her most Woody-Allenesque panic attack mode, after recounting yet another atrocity in Darfur.

I have a question for her: does she read the papers?

Four million people have died in the Congo, and they’re just getting their second wind. And the world couldn’t give a hyena’s heinie.

North Korea is in the midst of its twelfth famine (or is it twenty-seventh?). Are there any more people there to starve? Does anybody care?

Burma is still under the jack-booted heel of the junta. Aang San Suu Kyi hasn’t seen daylight since the Partridge Family last had a hit, and the dead Buddhist monks are stacked like cord wood. But when was the last time you read about Burma?

Take a number, Darfur. We’ll get to you. If Barack Obama is half as good for Africa as George Bush was, you should be okay.


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