Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

The new narrative on Darfur

The political and media language on the Genocide in Darfur is changing.  Eric Reeves writing in the Sudan Tribune "Genocide in Darfur: A growing international strategy of equivocation" writes that

Darfur is being transformed—from an episode in massive, ethnically
targeted human destruction into an essentially humanitarian crisis that
is being impeded by an impersonal, almost abstract "insecurity." There
are no longer non-Arab or African victims of genocide and Arab
genocidaires, but rather generic "civilians at risk."

As the attacks on villages in Darfur, rapes and roaming Janjaweed militia continue to harass the people it seems the UN, AU and the West are beginning to ignore the "historical truths" and "underlying grievances that originally gave rise to the insurgency". 

Reeves sees this change being expressed in the "increasingly cited analogy to Somalia".  In other words a reductionist explanation meaning that the problem with Sudan is that it is " an ungovernable land
degenerating into chaos, uncontrollable violence and warlordism".  By changing the "story" and reducing it to a problem of chaos and uncontrollable violence, obscures the reality of what is taking place in Darfur – genocide.    The policy of the UN is one of appeasement and I would add that also applies to the AU.   Reeves quotes Mukesh Kapila, former UN humanitarian
coordinator for Sudan who prior to his departure from office said

"’The only difference between Rwanda and Darfur now is
the numbers involved’ [said Kapila]. ‘This is more than just a
conflict, it is an organised attempt to do away with a group of
people.’" (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, March 22, 2004)

"’There are no secrets,’ U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator
for Sudan Mukesh Kapila said. ‘The individuals who are doing this are
known. We have their names. The individuals who are involved occupy
senior positions [in the government of Sudan].’" (Reuters [Khartoum],
March 26, 2004)

"The pattern of organised attacks on civilians and
villages, abductions, killings and organised rapes by militias was
getting worse by the day, [Kapila] said, and could deteriorate even
further. ‘One can see how the situation might develop without prompt
[action]…all the warning signs are there.’" (UN IRIN, March 22, 2004)


Reeves also asserts that it is not only the UN, AU and western governments who are ignoring the reality. 

Even humanitarian organizations have become complicit. Doctors Without
Borders/M㩤cins Sans Fronti㨲s (MSF), which has performed superbly in
the field, has not only made extremely ill-considered public comments
on the issue of ethnic crimes in Darfur, but continues to bleach out of
its reports virtually all data and observations that reflect the ethnic
character of human destruction.

Reeves  concludes that the "UN, US and various other international actors" are betrayers of justice and moral responsibility.  He does state that some of the actions by insurgents must be criticised but these cannot be measured against what he describes as "the massive, deliberate
destruction of the African peoples of Darfur". 

I agree with Reeves’s analysis that the narrative of Darfur is changing and that genocide is taking place.  Where he fails is his own reductionist view or at least inference of a racialised interpretation of the facts.  Here I refer you to re-read the excellent essay by Mahmood Mamdani (HOW CAN WE NAME THE DARFUR CRISIS: PRELIMINARY THOUGHTS ON DARFUR) published in Pambazuka News

Second, all parties involved in the Darfur conflict – whether they are
referred to as ‘Arab’ or as ‘African’ – are equally indigenous and
equally black. All are Muslims and all are local. To see how the
corporate media and some of the charity-dependent international NGOs
consistently racialize representations, we need to distinguish between
different kinds of identities.

Other references: 
Amnesty report – Dec 04 , The use of rape as a weapon of war in the conflict in Darfur