“What are the responsibilities of the international community to Darfur?
Reuters and Reuters AlertNet gathered a distinguished panel to debate the Darfur crisis as concerns mount over the effectiveness of peacekeepers and aid workers.
Apart from the Sudanese Ambassador to the UN, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad, there are no African voices on the panel. I believe Reuters and GV could have made an effort to invite some continental voices (there are many) to contribute their understanding and knowledge on Darfur.
In an attempt to provide a better understanding of the conflict and to place it in an historical context, Pambazuka News has recently published a number of articles by Pan-African voices.
In “The politics of naming: genocide, civil war, insurgency” Mahmood Mamdani compares the violence in Iraq to that of Darfur and questions the naming of the violence in Darfur as genoicde
The similarities between Iraq and Darfur are remarkable. The estimate of the number of civilians killed over the past three years is roughly similar. The killers are mostly paramilitaries, closely linked to the official military, which is said to be their main source of arms. The victims too are by and large identified as members of groups, rather than targeted as individuals. But the violence in the two places is named differently. In Iraq, it is said to be a cycle of insurgency and counter-insurgency; in Darfur, it is called genocide. Why the difference? Who does the naming? Who is being named? What difference does it make?
In “There is no Genocide in Darfur” Andile Mngxitama takes Mahmood Mamdani to task on his assertion that there is no genocide in Darfur and describes him as an apologist for the Khartoum regime.
Has Mahmood Mamdani the pre-eminent African scholar become an Arab supremacist apologist? A careful reading of his much circulated “The Politics of Naming: Genocide, Civil War, and Insurgency”, provides more than enough evidence to suggest that this great progressive thinker has succumbed to the charms of tribe and perhaps religion. Mamdani employs strange logic, dubious sources, and nonsensical devices to arrive at his denialist conclusion- there is no genocide in Darfur! If that was his only project, we could perhaps leave him to stew in his new found prejudices. But when he denies the victims of Khartoum’s project of subjugation of Black Africans through elimination and displacement then we are compelled to speak up or be complicit in this deletion of a people under the guise of a crusade against imperialism and Islamophobia. The progression of Mamdani to his current despicable position has been gradual but certain, see his 2004 “Darfur Crisis”.
In “The Dirty Political Underbelly of Darfur” Ayesha Kajee
argues that there is a national and international dimension to the conflict.
No consideration of the political underpinnings of the Darfur situation can be complete without a consideration of international interest in Sudan’s immense natural resource base and indeed, that of the region. Given the political environment in the Middle East and the insatiable demand for oil by nations such as the US and China, substantial oil reserves in both Chad and Sudan make them vulnerable to political manipulation from outside. Sudan’s Muglad Basin alone reportedly contains three billion barrels of crude. Both Chad and Sudan have used oil revenues to purchase arms that sustain conflicts within their countries and across borders, a factor that is ignored by most consumers of oil in the region.
Joseph Yav, “From Rwanda to Darfur – Never Again or Never Say Never Again”
writes that the world community has failed to learn from the Rwandan genocide as it sits by and watches the developing genocide in Darfur.
Even if there is controversy about the definition of genocide in Darfur, there is little doubt that despite the hair-splitting of the proper description of the unfolding tragedy, there is a developing genocide in Darfur which is being met by a similar reaction or lack of action from the world community. Equally, the current situation in Zimbabwe – where the state is oppressing its own people – is another case for the agenda of actions to end this cycle, and move us to finally realise the call of ‘never again’.
The politics of apologetics: genocide denial, Darfur version Kwesi Kwaa Prah critiques Mahood Mamdani’s writings on Darfur which essentially deny genocide is taking place and provide solace to the Khartoum regime.