While the nation’s attention is occupied with the Mark Foley scandal and the upcoming midterm elections, let’s not forget there are other things happening in the world. Yes, the war in Iraq gets scant attention these days but at least the subject is danced around from time to time, unlike horrifying violence elsewhere. Still, it’s worth noting a warning that is being sounded by one journalist about a situation that may be getting worse in Darfur. Journalist Paul Salopek who spent over a month in captivity after being accused by Sudanese authorities of attempting to enter the Darfur region without a visa, provides an account of his experience in the Chicago Tribune. Salopek believes his capture was a message to journalists everywhere:
KHARTOUM, Sudan Sudan’s president is fighting hard to keep U.N. peacekeepers out of Darfur by accusing western “crusaders” of trying to take over the country. But what he really fears may be more more basic: Losing control over a key political stronghold in the troubled region.
That determination to keep tight control of Darfur and prevent any loosening of his regime’s grip on the large, sprawling country overall could complicate the West’s efforts to help Darfur’s suffering millions, observers say.
The United Nations, United States, Europe and African nations insist they have no hidden agenda and merely want to help get humanitarian aid to Darfur. They believe only a strong U.N. peacekeeping force can end the violence in the western region, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million chased from their homes in fighting between rebels and the army.