Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive


Later today, Reuters and Global Voices are facilitating a debate on Darfur as part of it’s Newsmaker events. The debate asks the question

“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’.

Other Links

Podcast by Sudanese Women’s Movement and the Conflict in Darfur

Darfur Archives

Update tomorrow

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.


  1. Thats unbelievable. I just want all the wars to end.

  2. I have always maintained that we Africans are our greatest enemy. When was the last time the Darfur crisis made headline news on Nigerian or African major newspapers? The gross apathy towards issues relating to Africa by Africans is appalling. Do you know how much South Africa – the largest African economic and military power has invested in peace in Sudan? Even Rwanda appears more visible and vocal in the peace keeping efforts.

    Lasting peace in Darfur and elsewhere in Africa can only be effectively brokered by Africans – supported of course either logistically or cash-wise by western democracies.

  3. Comment by post author


    Imnakoya@You are right in that African leaders and world leaders in general have failed Darfur. But there are voices in Africa are have spoken up and continue to do so. It is up to us as citizens of countries like Nigeria and South Africa to put pressure on our media and governments.

  4. I’ll take curtain Nr. 2 (what’s her name, Andile Mngxitama) in the “Is this genocide or not” Sweepstakes. Who cares if it can be labelled genocide or not, what is evidently clear to any sensible human being is that this is mass murder of people in order to take control of their ancestral lands and the natural resources that lay beneath that land.

    It’s an age-old story in human history and the outcome will be the same as it has always been. Government leaders won’t do anything to stop it unless they can see some benefit in it for themselves and the “national interest” (companies and business leaders) of their respective countries.

    Darfur is lost and has been for many months. The only satisfaction that the “international community” can get out of the crisis now is some sort of revenge against the Khartoum regime and their financial/military backers. Justice, true justice, will never be served there because She is being held hostage by dubious international players (China, Russia, the Arab League, Maylasia, Libya, and so on…)

    What’s this I hear about you quitting? I knew that was just a rumor (a lie). Now a sabbatical from the blog, that would be acceptable…

  5. Comment by post author


    BRE@Glad to see you hear. Andile is a he btw! Yes it was a rumour – should have been a sabbatical but just got pissed off one morning – it happens sometimes but am back now as you can see!

    I do think it is important to name what is taking place in Darfur because the denialist only serve the interests of Khartoum and all their backers you list. Justice may never be served but all is not lost because there are people who are still alive and have a chance of a future. Now it is up to us global citizens to really come out and put pressure on all our governments.

  6. Take the Pledge

    All Presidential Candidates should make pledges like those below. If they refuse, then you should refuse to vote for them.

    1. No More Oil Wars.

    2. Work for independence from foreign oil on day one.

    3. No more wars for corporate profit.

    4. No more secret deals for $4 per gallon gas.

    5. No more Chicken Hawks promoting wars of choice when they themselves avoided combat.

    6. Make government green–if you can’t make what you have the most control over green, I don’t care about your plans to make the country green.

    7. No more torture.

    8. No more lying about torture.

    9. No more re-defining torture.

    10. No more drunken hunting.

    11. No more secret deals with big corporations to divide up the spoils before the war even starts.

  7. zawadi

    Thanks sokari, for this information.

  8. Good point on the total lack of diversity at the Reuters event, Sokari. Just to be clear – we didn’t have a hand in organizing it, in choosing speakers, topics, etc. – Reuters asked if we would cover the event, and we made it possible for Ndesanjo Macha and Georgia Popplewell to be there. I’m glad Ndesanjo was there, as it doubled the population of Africans in the room, but it’s a clear reminder that groups like Reuters could use quite a bit of help in getting more diversity at these events…