As the faces of George Clooney and Angelina fade so does the outcry for Darfur, or so it seems. The outrage at the deaths in Israel and Lebanon are certainly valid but why is it – (I wonder but know the answer to as do you) – that the horror felt over Darfur is so episodic and fleeting. It’s as if it was the cause of the month and it has now faded from our radar.
Almost two years ago, then Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and said the following: “The conflict between the Government of Sudan and two rebel groups that began in 2003 has precipitated the worst humanitarian and human rights crisis in the world today.
The primary clevage is ethnic: Arabs (GOS and militia forces) vs. non-Arab villagers belonging primarily to the Zaghawa, Massalit, and Fur ethnic groups. Both groups are predominantly Muslim.”
This came two months after the US House of Representatives declared the situation in the Darfur region of western Sudan a genocide. Now, two years later, feckless cease-fires have come and gone.
Rallies in Washington have been had. Celebrities have affixed their visages to the cause, and what’s left?
Still a torn country, an enlarged refugee crisis in neighboring Chad and no end in site.
This week The Inquirer will deliver on the genocide taking place in Darfur. Mainstream media outlets, namely the nightly news broadcasts, have been shameless in their coverage. Well, let’s be honest, they just haven’t covered it at all.
Luckily, however, journalists like Nicholas Kristof have championed the cause with vivid, horrific and endlessly informative reporting. What’s harrowing is that there’s no simple solution.
The situation today is years in the making, tribal in nature and in light of the disastrous 1992 US humanitarian intervention in Somalia, not going to be simply ended by a military intervention.
The cry from the revelations of Nazi death camps in 1945 was “never again!” And today, in another part of a drastically shrunk — some say flattened — world, arguments against a more vigorous pursuit of a solution simply sound doltish.
This week The Inquirer will give you everything from a timeline of the conflict and a Darfur for Dummies to coverage of the weekly vigil held outside the UN on 45th Street and possible ways to move forward. Stay tuned.