Saturday, June 20, 2009

On the Re-writing of the Darfur Narrative

The historical narrative of the Darfur genocide is presently being re-written. Despite dozens of human rights reports that have established the basic realities of ethnically-targeted human destruction in Darfur and Eastern Chad over the past seven years, an effort is being made to minimise the scale of that destruction, elide the role of ethnicity in the conflict and downplay the responsibility of the Khartoum regime.

This large-scale revision has been taken up by those – particularly on the left – with an ideological aversion to humanitarian intervention. If the catastrophe can be portrayed as non-genocidal and essentially local in character, then advocacy efforts – initially for humanitarian intervention and currently for robust support of a weak and ineffectual UN/African Union peace operation – are misguided and misplaced.

The most conspicuous effort at re-writing history is Mahmood Mamdani’s “Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics and the War on Terror.” The book focuses on the purported misperceptions and distortions of the American-based Save Darfur Coalition, which Mamdani argues is an unwitting supporter of the “war on terror”. “Darfur [has become] not just an illustration of the grand narrative of the War on Terror but also a part of its justification,” Mamdani writes. He would have us believe that in turning the Darfur conflict into a moral rather than a political issue, Americans in SDC can “feel themselves to be what they are not in Iraq: powerful saviors.” “Darfur is a place of refuge. It is a surrogate shelter. It is a cause about which they can feel good.”

It is true that some advocacy efforts have been prone to oversimplification, naïveté and occasionally misguided policy initiatives. Some corrective is no doubt needed. But Mamdani’s points are tendentious and overstated, and should not distract from the substantial consensus about events that has been authoritatively established by human rights reporting, UN investigations and some excellent on-the-ground news reporting. Perversely, human rights reporting on Darfur is invisible in Mamdani’s text. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

1 comment:

jaya said...

When I visited your blog then I am very exciting to see your blog. Also just visit our blog and website for Social Network and Friends Online Community to reach more girls, boys for fun and entertainmnet and to reach their goal with good friendship.

Indian Friends Online Community

Social Network website

Make Money Online