Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Time to act

THE GENOCIDE IN Darfur has carried on for seven years, approaching the lifespan of Hitler’s Third Reich.

Emporia residents and dedicated officials like Sen. Sam Brownback have garnered attention to this issue worldwide and the suffering has not been forgotten. However, despite President Barack Obama’s March 18 statement that “Sudan is a priority for this administration,” the White House has failed to demonstrate the sense of urgency portrayed in the campaign.

Although many of us were delighted by the President’s promises for urgent action in Darfur, the administration has failed to release a long-overdue policy review of Sudan and our special envoy appears to focus on undeserved rewards for Kartoum.

Ten years of the regime should have taught us to trust deeds over words. The policy review must clearly state objectives in Sudan: a peace process for Darfur, a comprehensive peace agreement between North and South Sudan and a Chad-Sudan peace process. Until robust action has occurred, the Obama administration must abandon the moral high ground that gave the campaign such a clear view of the White House. Read more >>>>>>>>>

Former senator fasts for Darfur

By John Beifuss; Michael Lollar

WASHINGTON - Former Senate majority leader and Tennessee Republican Bill Frist fasted on three days this month and will fast again on Sept. 21 to bring attention to the genocide in Darfur in the Sudan.

Frist held a water-only fast on Aug. 14, Aug. 19 and Aug. 21 in solidarity with the 1.1 million refugees after 13 humanitarian aid organizations were banned from assisting them earlier this year, according to the group Darfur Fast For Life.

Various celebrities and activists have been fasting for one or more days since actress Mia Farrow began a 17-day fast in April. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., a key member of the Gang of Six senators working on health care reform, was fasting on Monday, according to the group's spokeswoman April Lassiter. Read more >>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, August 20, 2009

ANALYSIS-Frustrated Darfur activists slam US envoy Gration

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Frustrated by the world's failure to end the humanitarian crisis in Sudan's western Darfur region, some advocacy groups have turned on the new U.S. envoy, accusing him of helping Khartoum thwart peace.

The unusual public censure highlights a growing divide on Darfur. One side are those who feel more engagement with -- and less criticism of -- Khartoum is needed to end the suffering in Darfur. On the other are those who support more pressure, more sanctions and possibly military action if Sudan blocks efforts to secure peace in the region.

The Darfur conflict has been going on for more than six years. The United Nations says as many as 300,000 people have died since 2003, compared to Khartoum's official death toll of 10,000. The world body also says some 4.7 million people in Darfur rely on aid to survive.

In an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama's special envoy to Sudan, retired Air Force General Scott Gration, actress Mia Farrow and other activists said that Gration's strategy with Sudan was prolonging the crisis.

"We believe that your conciliatory stance and reluctance to criticize (Khartoum) both excuses and emboldens (it), thereby facilitating its ongoing reign of terror and well-known strategy of 'divide and rule,'" the letter said. Read more >>>>>>>>

Monday, August 17, 2009

Jewish leaders criticize Mubarak for receiving Sudanese president

A hundred rabbis and Jewish organizational leaders from North America have signed a letter reproaching the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak for hosting his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir in Cairo. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court in connection with the genocide in the Sudanese region of Darfur.

The letter, organized by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, was handed Sunday to the Egyptian Embassy in Washington. "As Jewish leaders living in the aftermath of the Holocaust, we are keenly aware of the need for swift action against the perpetrators of genocide. Bashir should be brought to justice, not treated as if he is a respected international leader," it read.

The letter comes on the eve of Mubarak's visit to Washington. The White House wants Egypt to help press the Palestinians back to the table and to persuade other Arab nations to make conciliatory gestures to Israel. In Washington, Mubarak was to meet with US Jewish leaders. Read more >>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Where is the Muslim anger over Darfur?

By: Ed Husain

As war raged in Lebanon in the summer of 2006, people around the world called for international intervention to stop the shelling of civilians. In January this year, millions shared similar feelings of horror and anger witnessing the bloodshed in Gaza. Both events were especially painful to Muslims watching other defenceless Muslims being killed. But why have the deaths of vastly more unarmed Muslims in Darfur caused so little concern among co-religionists?

The Khartoum regime, brought to power in a highly ideological and fundamentalist Islamist coup 20 years ago, has killed an estimated 400,000 of its fellow Muslim citizens. Yet, there is near silence about massive human rights abuses in the remote western corner of Sudan. As Tareq Al-Hamed, editor of the Asharq Alaswat paper, has asked, "Are the people of Darfur not Muslims as well?"

When the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the Sudanese leader, President Bashir, in March, Muslim politicians from Senegal to Malaysia rallied behind him. The same people who demand international justice for war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza abruptly changed their tune. Instead of denouncing Bashir as the architect of ethnic cleansing, they congratulated him for defying the "conspiracy" to undermine Sudan's sovereignty so the West can take its oil. The Iranian Parliamentary Speaker, Ali Larijani, said the ICC warrant was "an insult to the Muslim world". Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, August 09, 2009

National fast draws attention to Darfur tragedy

By Judy Hellman,

On Thursday, I will join concerned people from across the country in a fast of solidarity with the people of Darfur. The Jewish Community Relations Bureau/American Jewish Committee invites the community to participate.

Many thousands of people from 35 countries have participated in a rolling fast since Mia Farrow started the fast on April 27. The purpose of our fast is to call the world’s attention to the tragedy in Darfur and to demand the restoration of humanitarian aid to the people of Darfur and to the whole of Sudan.

It has been more than three months since humanitarian groups were expelled from Sudan, and the situation remains unresolved. Across Sudan communities that relied on aid groups now suffer without adequate food, sanitation or medical supplies.

The imminent onset of the rainy season is likely to lead to mass migration and water-borne disease epidemics in internally displaced persons camps, risking the lives of more than one million people. Children will be disproportionately affected.

Reports also have shown sharply escalating instances of rape as a weapon of war. Read more >>>>>>>>>

Saturday, August 08, 2009

After six years, Darfur genocide still a reality

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof once described Darfur as a “genocide in slow motion.” Slow motion, because the international media were so lax in reporting the mass rapes of women and girls, the international community so meek in responding to each successive campaign of ethnic cleansing.

Year after year, the numbers added up — 100,000, then 200,000, then 400,000 dead, and 2.5 million refugees. Satellite images show a region nearly the size of Texas that has been scorched and depopulated. The fewer people who are left, the fewer there are to kill.

That led to some unusual semantics. The U.S. government officially describes the systematic elimination of the black African population of Darfur as genocide. But Andrew Natsios, President George W. Bush's special envoy to Sudan, told a group of journalists in 2007, “The slaughter in Darfur is over.”

That depends of course on your definition of slaughter. Thousands more would still perish — are still perishing — since Natsios made his remark. Later, former President Jimmy Carter said that referring to the post-slaughter in Darfur as genocide is inaccurate and unhelpful.

Now President Barack Obama's special envoy to Sudan is echoing both of these sentiments. “There's significant difference between what happened in 2004 and 2003, which we characterized as a genocide, and what is happening today,” Gen. Scott Gration told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Gration's comments reflect a debate within the Obama administration about Sudan policy. Facing the “remnants of genocide,” Gration and others argue, the United States should lift sanctions on Sudan and remove it from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

That would be a profound mistake. As long as the perpetrators of the atrocities are still empowered in Khartoum, as long as millions of refugees continue to live and die in squalid refugee camps, the genocide in Darfur cannot be airbrushed out of history. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Monday, August 03, 2009

Genocidal Linkage

By: Kenneth Levin

The world’s media have given scant coverage lately to the ongoing genocide in Darfur, and - despite extensive reporting on Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict - they have likewise offered little on the continuing campaign of genocidal incitement against Israel by her enemies. While seeming very separate issues, the two campaigns, and the choice by media and world leaders largely to ignore both, are, in fact, connected.

On one level, of course, the connection is obvious. Israel-hatred is spearheaded by the Arab world; in virtually every Arab nation, demonizing and delegitimizing of Israel, and often of Jews, is a staple of government-controlled media, schools and mosques. This is true even of the Arab states with which Israel is formally at peace. At the same time, the Arab world is the chief support of fellow Arab leader Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his Sudanese regime's genocidal assault on the Muslim blacks of Darfur. Illustrative was the Arab League’s unanimous, effusive embrace and defense of al-Bashir at its meeting in Doha, Qatar, in March, shortly after his indictment by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Tunisian human rights activist Mohammed Bechri several years ago argued that to understand Arab support for the genocide in Darfur, one has to recognize the "twin fascisms" - Bechri’s term - that dominate the Arab world: Islamism and Pan-Arabism. The first rejects the legitimacy of any non-Muslim group within what the Arabs perceive as their proper domain; the latter takes the same view towards any non-Arab group. The genocidal rhetoric, and efforts at mass murder, directed at Israel, and the genocidal assault on the Muslim but non-Arab people of Darfur follow from this mindset. (Bechri’s "twin fascisms" also account for the besiegement of Christians across the Arab world and backing for Sudan’s murder of some two million Christian and animist blacks in the south of the country. They help explain as well broad Arab support for the mass murder of Kurds - a Muslim but non-Arab people - in Iraq by Saddam Hussein and for the besiegement of the Kurds of Syria and the Berbers - another non-Arab Muslim group - in Algeria.)

But the connection between animosity towards Israel and coldness towards the victims in Darfur extends beyond the Arab world. It embraces, for example, all those European leaders who bend their consciences to accommodate Arab power - in oil, money and strategic territories - and who may pay lip service to recognizing the murderous incitement and related threats faced by Israel or to deploring the crimes suffered by Darfur but refuse to take serious steps to curb either. Read more >>>>>>>>>

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Concern about Darfur

By Emmett Orr

Concern about Darfur
I am a 12-year-old boy with a concern about the Darfur genocide crisis in Sudan. The year of 1945 was the end of the Holocaust and we, as a country, decided "never again," but it is happening once again right in Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of people have died, yet this horrific genocide is being ignored.

In this government-sponsored horror, peace has been elusive and deaths and violence continue to increase. Read more >>>>>>