Not knowing where to begin.
We know not what to do. To not do we are called murderers, to do we are called murderers.
Saving Darfur with force
Sudan must save their people.
Pressure from many quarters is closing in on the government of Sudan to end the violence that ravages the Darfur province. But more is needed, particularly from the United Nations.
The UN must overcome the reluctance of China and Russia, which have oil interests in Sudan, to persuade the government in Khartoum to let in the troops and humanitarian groups that can stop the exodus and genocide of its own citizens. So far, government-armed militants have killed more than 200,000 people and displaced more than 2 million. Security continues to deteriorate, and aid workers are targeted.
Baby steps have been taken against this breathtaking inhumanity. In recent weeks:
• The United Nations got Sudan to allow African Union troops to stay through the end of the year, supported by about 100 UN military advisers.
• U.S. President George W. Bush has tapped Andrew Natsios, the respected former chief of USAID, as a special envoy to the region.
• Europe has pledged anew $50 million in aid to the war-torn region.
• Actor George Clooney is using the power of his celebrity to “shine the light” not only on Darfur, but also on the people best able to solve the problem: the members of the United Nations.
Think a Hollywood heartthrob has no place in such a weighty debate? Think again. Cameras and publications hang on Clooney’s every move and word. It was his presence at the United Nations last week, more than the moving words of Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel, that drew the media’s attention.
Every bit of pressure matters. And still it’s not enough.
Nobody can have the influence of the United Nations when its members unanimously condemn genocide and dispatch troops. Any one nation could lead the charge, but the United Nations is uniquely situated to coordinate efforts and is, sadly, schooled in responding to humanitarian crises.
The beleaguered and inexperienced African Union forces — 7,000 — can’t match the janjaweed militia, even with strategic help from the United Nations. A proposed 20,000-plus UN force would be better equipped to exert control in this chaos. The United Nations has been too willing to let Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir block the UN presence.
Part of the problem has been China, not known for a stellar human rights record of its own. But even that nation must be brought on board to force the sanctions that may be necessary to get al-Bashir’s attention.
He has not responded to the suffering of his people. Maybe once he feels the heat, he will let others provide the safety and comfort he has so long refused to supply. If that doesn’t happen quickly, the United Nations will have to parachute in, welcome or not.