Tue 9 Aug, 2005 05:37 pm
I hope with all my heart that this war is over. After 21 years, after so many dead and displaced and terrorized, people are starting to return.
BBC photo journal of the Sudanese return.
Diary of Sudanese return by Bill Lorenz on the BBC.
Too soon for optimism, in my opinion
You're probably right to be cautious.
The (African Union) AU isn't working. The UN wants to step in.
And now the militaristic dictator of Sudan has put in a bid to become the new leader of the AU! Reports say that he may be withrawing his bid.
Sudan was addressed today on On Point.
Now the rebels are enticing citizens of Chad to join their forces in their quest for total genocide. This just keeps getting worse and worse. I have a hard time understaning why no big powers have stepped in, whether the AU wants them to or not.
As far as I know, it's too far to talk about the peace in Sudan; I have been to both South and North of Sudan. For the north, they care about peace very much, there have better infrastructures, better condition and richer; but for the south, they are hoping to fight for the natural resources especially gas in the south-middle of Sudan, they don't fear to fight because they have nothing and can move from one to another place freely. Not to mention the situation in the West where there people are hoping to be independent from the North.
When I was about to go to the South from Khartoum(capital of North), the southern customer cautioned me that don't take anybody from north to south, otherwise I couldn't promise you his safety.
But there're hopes.
Welcome to A2K.
Yes, hustrunner, welcome! Thanks for your input. I'll drink to hope!
From last Monday's Herald Tribune:
When Genocide Worsens
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
July 9, 2006
A genocide by its nature would seem to be the rock bottom of human behavior. But in Darfur, we see a genocide that is growing worse.
The Darfur Peace Agreement, signed on May 5, signaled a ray of hope in a desperate land. But on the ground, its deadlines are not being met, security is deteriorating, and the violence is rippling from Sudan ever wider into both Chad and the Central African Republic.
One measure of how awful the situation has become in eastern Chad is that at least 15,000 villagers have fled ... into Darfur!
In one broad swath of the Chad border region, the only Westerners brave enough (and crazy enough) to stay are French doctors with Doctors Without Borders. Hats off to them.
In just the last six months, aid groups in eastern Chad have lost 26 vehicles to armed hijackers. A Spanish woman working for Unicef was shot and nearly killed in May when her vehicle was stolen Â and the car was later spotted in Sudan, sailing through government checkpoints. This insecurity puts relief agencies in a terrible situation, for they don't want to risk having their aid workers murdered or raped, and yet if they pull out many thousands of Darfuris will die.
"We cannot play with the lives of our own staff beyond a certain limit," frets Jan Egeland, an under secretary general of the United Nations, adding, "Our people in the field are increasingly desperate."
"I think we're headed toward total chaos," he said. "Will we have collapse in nine days, nine weeks, nine months? I don't know. But the situation is unsustainable."
One problem is that provisions of the Darfur Peace Agreement aren't actually being carried out so far Â and in the meantime it has inflamed tensions among the African tribes that have been victimized by the genocide. The Fur tribe, one of the biggest in Darfur ("Darfur" means "Homeland of the Fur"), has mostly opposed the deal, and so there has been fighting between Fur and men of the Zaghawa tribe, whose top commander signed the agreement.
"There is a significant risk that the Darfur Peace Agreement will collapse," the U.N. special envoy for Sudan, Jan Pronk, wrote in his blog. "The agreement does not resonate with the people of Darfur. ... It is not yet dead, but severely paralyzed."
Meanwhile, Sudan is as adamant as ever that it will never accept United Nations peacekeepers, and the international community isn't prepared to push back hard.
The two most important Bush administration officials on Darfur, Robert Zoellick and Michael Gerson (who has been the conscience of the White House), have both announced their resignations, so there is a vacuum in Washington as well. President Bush should address this vacuum by appointing a top-level envoy for the crisis. Mr. President, how about calling in James Baker, or else Colin Powell?
In talking to experts about Darfur over the last three years, I usually have encountered both optimists and pessimists. These days, I just can't find an optimist. The range of opinion is between those who think the crisis will deteriorate slowly and those who think the situation will disintegrate so precipitously that soon 100,000 people will be dying each month, unless the peace agreement can somehow be revived.
There are specific measures I can suggest. We need to amplify (though not reopen) the peace agreement to bring the Fur in, and we need to ensure that its deadlines are met. We need a U.N.-led or French-led protection force in eastern Chad. We need to bolster the African Union force in Darfur immediately and push harder for Sudan to admit U.N. peacekeepers. We need a no-fly zone. We need to press Europeans to become more involved and to remind Arabs that the slaughter of several hundred thousand Muslims in Darfur is every bit as worthy of protest as cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
But most of all, we must put genocide squarely on the international agenda. One lesson of history is that world leaders always prefer to ignore a genocide, but when forced to face the horrors Â as in Bosnia or Kosovo Â they figure out ways of responding. The most acute need is not for policies but for political will.
So here's a suggestion: Let's charter a few cargo planes to carry the corpses of hundreds of new victims from Darfur and Chad to the U.N. The butchered victims of Darfur could lie in state as a memorial to global indifference Â and as a spur to become serious about the first genocide of the 21st century.
Other threads on Sudan / Darfur:
5 Congress Members Arrested at Sudan Protest
(16 pp, last post 23 May 2006)
Why Don't We Care About African Genocide?
(25 pp, last post 20 Oct 2005)
(3 pp, last post 20 Oct 2005)
Relentless Attacks on Women in West Sudan Draw an Outcry
(2 pp, last post 31 Mar 2005)
Peace in Sudan
(1 p, last post Thu Jan 13, 2005)
Sudan peace agreement ends longest-running Africa civil war
(1 p, last post Mon Jan 10, 2005)
Are the media missing yet another genocide?
(16 pp, Sat Jun 05, 2004)
Why is the world blind to the tragedy in Africa.
(5 pp, Sun Apr 04, 2004)
I wish the content didnt remain so depressingly familiar..
Still nothing close to peace. They are just stringing us along....
2 AU peacekeepers were killed in a road-side ambush.
With the attention of the world focused on the situation in Lebanon, UN officials are anxious not to lose sight of the on-going violence in Sudan, the BBC's Mike Sergeant reports from the UN in New York.
The British officials who drew up the resolution say they hope it can be adopted by the Security Council within a month, to enable troops to be deployed in January.
But Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has said he does not want UN troops in Sudan.
I have recently finished reading Shake Hands with the Devil, by Romeo Dallaire -- who was the UN force commander in Rwanda in 1994. Although I haven't followed the Darfur situation, there are so many similiarities between Dallaire account and the article that nimh quoted above:
- the breakdown of the peace agreement, which was probably unworkable to begin with (insincere signees, insufficient political will by the West, glaring problems glossed over)
- the knowledge of the extremists that a few high-profile deaths of western aid workers or UN peacekeepers will further sap the political will of western nations to intervene in Africa (they learned this from Somalia)
- the non-support of the UN by the USA
- the call for the French (If this parallels Rwanda, the French in Africa are seen as combatants by Africans, not unaligned in the struggle. That makes them suspect and dangerous to throw into the mix, although they are unusually willing to send troops into Africa, as long as they are not part of the UN missions.)
The French have been willing to send troops into Africa to nations which were previously colonies of France. This is not necessarily always viewed as negative by Africans--French military aid was crucial to Chad in defeating the attempted invasion by Lybia. In the Congo, the French have intervened with the approval of many of the Congolese, even thought the Congo was not previously a French colony, but only notionally Francophone becuase it had been a Belgian colony. France has maintained closer and more cordial relationships with its former colonies than any other European nation.
Every dispute has at least 2 combatants. In Rwanda and the Congo (and the entire Great Lakes area of Africa), French intervention was viewed as support of one combatant by the opposing side. French forces are seldom seen as neutral by the combatants themselves. And, based on Romeo Dallaire's words, the French troops seldom act as neutral forces. Dallaire implies that this is a facet of being a former colonial power.
Which means that the statement: "the French in Africa are seen as combatants by Africans"--ought to have been qualified, rather than attempting to give the impression that the French are unilaterally seen as a bad thing by Africans.