Monday, November 13, 2006

Sudan Part III

posted at Daily Kos as well

We come now to the end of our series on Sudan. Of course I cannot do Sudan justice in just three diaries. But I hope this last one, while much shorter then the other two, will give us some action items. Action items that are very good, now that we have a Democratic majority in Congress.

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Genocide is occuring in Darfur. That much is certain. It also appears that the conflict is spreading to the east into Chad, which today declared a state of emergency.

Chad's government has declared a state of emergency in most of the country, following a series of ethnic clashes.
At least 300 people have been killed this month, in violence between Arabs and black Africans, officials say.
The decree covers eastern Chad, across the border from Sudan's war-torn Darfur region, as well as the capital, N'Djamena, and other areas.
Chad accuses Sudan of exporting the Darfur conflict, while Sudan accuses Chad of backing Darfur's rebels.
The state of emergency covers the regions of Ouaddai, Salamat and Wadi Fira, where the violence has occurred.
As a "preventative" measure, it also covers three other regions, as well as the capital.

As the article at BBC states, Chad and Sudan do not get along and the recriminations fly back and forth.

I am reminded about the last time we ignored a spreading conflict in Africa. The Rwandan Genocide caused the deaths of nearly one million human beings. One million dead in one hundred days. The instability spread into neighboring nations, including Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and millions more died from warfare or starvation.

I am going to be honest and state that I abhor war. However, researching this series I've come to some of my own conclusions that you all may or may not share. I offer these conclusions up to discussion for the class:
Waiting for a diplomatic solution will cost more lives. 400,000 dead already and counting.
Sudan is using its considerable oil wealth to fund an internal terror war on the peoples of Darfur and it's beginning to spiral out of control, in much the way it did in East Africa.
At the same time Sudan is using its considerable oil wealth to build a shining, gleaming new Khartoum, attempting to shove the Darfur issue under the rug and out of sight.
The lack of concern for human rights from Sudan's major patron, China, is stunning. And the implications are clear, as China WILL be planet Earth's next superpower barring an asteroid strike or supernova or alien invasion, probably a lot sooner than we all think.

This is one of those areas where I don't know what to think. Regime change (complete with shock and awe over Khartoum's new luxury condominiums) would help Darfuris out a great deal but we all know that said action would only end up poorly for us.

In the political sense, the UN needs to get tough on Sudan. Peacekeepers need to be on the ground and they need to be funded. They need to have a mandate to use force when necessary unlike in Rwanda where they did nothing because the UN in New York dithered. We've stated the cause. We know it's happening. You can see the burned villages on Google Earth in images taken this very year.

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In the meantime there are things we can do. We can open our wallets and contribute to charities that are at least attempting to bring some relief to this war and genocide stricken region. I've found Charity Navigator to be a very good site to start from. And we can also get to writing our 6 new senators and 29 new congresscritters to keep the heat on Sudan. I'm not at all confident that the President can do anything worthwhile, as he's a pretty worthless president. But we cannot have another genocide on this planet again.

Never again must mean never again. And here is where our series on Sudan will end (for now).

We'll be traveling to the Horn of Africa in our next installment.

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Beyond the Horn of Africa is up to you guys. We can keep it on “The Dark Continent” or go elsewhere in the world. As an aside, National Geography Week is coming up and I'd like to do a little thing for each day. I won't put up a poll because I have a strong dislike for them, but you can leave your preferences in the comments (and don't forget our discussion questions!)

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Bye Bye Rick!


I am pleased to announce that Pennsylvania will not be sending the human stain known as Rick Santorum back to the US Senate.

Praise be to the Lords of Kobol!