Considerations on Darfur: Is it Genocide? Again

09 May

The New Republic Online Post date 05.05.06 | Issue date 05.15.06 /AGAIN

Never again? What nonsense. Again and again is more like it. In Darfur, we are witnessing a genocide again, and again we are witnessing ourselves witnessing it and doing nothing to stop it. Even people who wish to know about the problem do not wish to know about the solution. They prefer the raising of consciousnesses to the raising of troops. Just as Rwanda made a bleak mockery of the lessons of Bosnia, Darfur is making a bleak mockery of the lessons of Rwanda. Some lessons, it seems, are gladly and regularly unlearned. Except, of course, by the perpetrators of this evil, who learn the only really enduring lessons about genocide in our time: that the Western response to it is late in coming, or is not coming at all.

Read the rest here with registration.

Then read this rather thoughtful post at American Prospect Online by By Matthew Yglesias Web Exclusive: 05.09.06

Is It Genocide?

Before we start dropping bombs, we should first ask whether the situation in Darfur is in fact a genocide.

In referring to the book , Darfur:The Ambigous Genocide ,( whose author, Prunier, the Washington Post called ," an Africanist at the University of Paris who indulges the specialist's urge to condescend: He derides media accounts of the conflict, scorns politicians' pronouncements and sneers at pop stars who "mediatize" African crises." ). A book he wonders how many people who call this a genocide and suggest a war have even read, and suggests (instead) a book for purposes of disambiguation. A book by Benjamin A. Valentino, Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the Twentieth Century, which according to a book synopisis ( I haven't read this book as I have the Prunier book) finds

that ethnic hatreds or discrimination, undemocratic systems of government, and dysfunctions in society play a much smaller role in mass killing and genocide than is commonly assumed. He shows that the impetus for mass killing usually originates from a relatively small group of powerful leaders and is often carried out without the active support of broader society. Mass killing, in his view, is a brutal political or military strategy designed to accomplish leaders' most important objectives, counter threats to their power, and solve their most difficult problems. Valentino does not limit his analysis to violence directed against ethnic groups, or to the attempt to destroy victim groups as such, but defines mass killing as the intentional killing of 50,000 or more noncombatants within five years. "Final Solutions focuses on three types of mass killing: communist mass killings like the ones carried out in the Soviet Union, China, and Cambodia; ethnic genocides as in Armenia, Nazi Germany, and Rwanda; and "counter-guerrilla" campaigns including the brutal civil war in Guatemala and the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Valentino closes the book by arguing that attempts to prevent mass killing should focus on disarming and removing from power the leaders and small groups responsible for instigating and organizing the killing.

So while continuing, and continue we must – emergently / immediatly – in providing massive humanitarian relief, we must of hope that our government, the government of other countries and the UN look to the cause , the root so to speak, and work to dig up the root not replace it.


Posted by on May 9, 2006 in Bookmarks, The Sudan


5 responses to “Considerations on Darfur: Is it Genocide? Again

  1. joeg

    May 10, 2006 at 10:21 am

    mumanitarian aid definitly and more of it quickly.

    The other: Your right it bears thinking about.

    The humanitarian attention is late and necessary. You stated in one of your earlier posts that arming the victims mercenaries etc might be a good idea. I think looking to the history, as suggested by the Propsective article, is something that reallyneed to be done to find a permanent solution to the problem. The root as you say.

  2. JacobMilhouse

    May 10, 2006 at 11:09 am

    You have been talking about Darfur for a long time in your other blog. All of a sudden the last few months everyone is “into ” it because it is “popular”. I find that funny and typical. Just like you said JESSE JACKSON rammed himself into the Duke case after it started getting a huge amount of press coverage so is with Darfur. I think that most people don’t give it much “deep thought”.

    I think you do and thank you for that.

    We do need to supply more aid and fast but the solutions won’t come easily. Real historic and political facts bear it out.

  3. weirsdo

    May 10, 2006 at 12:57 pm

    I agree with the Yglesias article, and was actually trying to make a similar point in comments on Doug’s “Prattler” essay: there is no appealing and (relatively) easy to suppress “bad guy” here, because the rebels are also doing all the killing they can. If the Janjaweed were stopped, negotiations between the rebels and the Sudanese government would still be difficult, and I would trust neither to abide by humanitarian standards in their governing.

  4. Gunnar

    May 10, 2006 at 5:12 pm

    Great thought provocation.

    We need to think, compare, decide and not go off the deep end.

    We do need to provide swift humnaitarian aid n lare amounts but reading further down I also have a soft spot for your mercenary theory.

  5. Dane

    May 12, 2006 at 1:41 am

    jesus, don’t make me think about this or anything.
    It is not as simple as it seems yes?
    Sadly there is much to consider and complete knowledge there of always help.

    I liked your mercenary idea.


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