Sunday, September 10, 2006

History repeats itself as West turns blind eye to plight of Darfur

A former UN peacekeeper speaks out as Khartoum-backed rape and murder stir up memories of unchecked ethnic cleansing in Rwanda

FIVE years ago, in a visionary cascade of words designed to rally hearts and minds for a better world, Tony Blair declared: “If Rwanda happened again, we would have a moral duty to act.”
Two years later, Rwanda did “happen again”, this time in the huge Darfur region of western Sudan. The country’s Arab government and its Nazi-style brownshirt militia, the so-called Janjaweed (“armed men on horseback”), began slaying and raping black African Sudanese citizens. It didn’t matter that they shared the Muslim faith of the country’s leadership – they did not share the ethnicity.

The US administration and human rights organisations classified the slaughter as genocide, and nigh on everyone agreed that something must be done. It wasn’t until May this year, when a peace agreement of extreme fragility was signed by the Sudanese government and one of Darfur’s three rebel groups, that the world’s great nations, including Tony Blair’s Britain, could finally relax and hope they had been relieved of their “moral duty to act”. Read more >>>

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