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Darfur Crisis Update: Beyond What You Can Comprehend?
By Richard Power
Like many others, I have been trying to raise consciousness about Darfur for several years now.
Sometimes I feel as if I have exhausted the language of outrage, the language of despair, and even the language of love. At such moments, it feels as if there are no more words left to articulate what we are seeing (or more accurately, turning our eyes away from). But this morning, I found a new voice, a new language, the language of awe.
Because what I am reading now in the reports from Darfur is beyond comprehension.
What do I mean by "beyond comprehension"?
No, the people of Darfur are not being herded into boxcars to be shipped to the ovens. No, their flesh has not been stretched over lampshades for sale in the open markets in Karthoum. Apparently, as long as genocide does not look like what common knowledge and popular culture can recognize as genocide from movies and news reels than it can be allowed to continue.
So, actually, lampshades and boxcars would not be beyond comprehension. The collective psyche of the West would say, "Oh yes, Anne Frank and Schindler's List, let's go, we must do something."
But what is happening is not so easily identifiable, and so it is not being comprehended.
And yes, what is further awe-inspiring is that I am hearing these words from my mouth, and from my keyboard, rather than from Katie Couric or Anderson Cooper or any of the other frightened people that feign to provide you with important news of world events on a daily basis. It is damning evidence of their failure to inform you.
And yes, what is happening in Darfur is painfully relevant to your life and your prospects now and in the forseeable future. Because Darfur is a quiver of red-dipped arrows of warnings. It is a warning about sustainability crisis, in particular the issue of fresh water. It is a warning about climate change and its impact on human life. And it is a warning about the danger of allowing the great nations to play by empire rules, e.g., merciless pursuit of natural resources, shameless traffic in weapons, etc., in a rapidly changing world desperate for an enlightened, post-empire consciousness.
Here are the two recent stories from Darfur, which have launched me into the language of awe --
If you follow Words of Power, you know that the UN Millennium Develop Goals (MDG) is one of the global stories keep track of. (See UN Millennium Goals Update -- Archive). The year 2015, the date set for achieving the MDG, is one of those deadlines that the human race must not fail in meeting. The struggle to achieve the MDG was already in trouble before the world financial crisis, now, as the financial crisis deepens, it is likely that this struggle will be gravely compromised.
But that is not the worst of it, the worst of it is the kiss of the hypocrites.
Eric Reeves, one of the indefatigable and unimpeachable truth-tellers on Darfur, explains:
Incredibly, the regime committing genocide in Darfur is now meant to be in charge of a critical U.N. poverty- and disease-eradication program. ...
But the largest and most influential group of developing nations has added an ill-considered and wholly gratuitous burden to the challenges of the MDG. They have selected the Sudan regime—which continues to perpetrate genocide in Darfur in front of the eyes of the world—to be chair in the coming year. ...
Is this a regime capable in any way of speaking credibly to the developed nations of the West about achieving Millennium Development Goals? Who could possibly think that these génocidaires have the moral standing to support these crucial global ambitions and needs, given their own domestic ambitions? These are questions to be asked as well about Khartoum’s destructive attitude to the African Union, whose military forces are the ones that have been targeted in Darfur. ... Khartoum has defied both the A.U. and the U.N. Eric Reeves, New Republic, 10-12-08
If you follow Words of Power, you also know that the plight of "Child Soldiers" is another issue of great importance to me personally (For example, Human Rights Update: "For every two children released, five are abducted and forced to be child soldiers, said Amnesty International.")
Well, in a mind-blowing confluence of horrors, 30,000 children abducted by the "Lord's Army" in Uganda have been sold as child solders, porters, and sex slaves in the Sudan.
Mia Farrow, a relentless, passionate advocate on Darfur (and related human rights crises) explains:
Some 30,000 children, who were forcibly conscripted into the rebel Lord's Resistance Army in northern Uganda, were sold in the troubled Darfur region in Sudan, Parliament heard yesterday.
"Some of these children are in Darfur being used as child soldiers, porters and others sold as sex slaves to the Sudanese," Dr Stephen Kagoda, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Internal Affairs told the Parliamentary Defence Committee. "In fact, that's why (LRA leader Joseph] Kony fears to come out of the bush because we shall ask him to show us our children." ...
Meanwhile, the committee heard that some Ugandan children were being trafficked out of the country in exchange for their kidneys and other organs for economic gains. "Human trafficking is real and is serious in Uganda today. Our children are being trafficked for organ transfers by a racket of people pretending to be generous," Dr Kagoda said. Mia Farrow, 10-22-08
The numerous hell-realms that have been allowed to fester and grow in Africa have begun to bleed into each other. If you think that what is happening in Africa now will not visit the other continents and the developed world, well, you are living in a dream that will be interrupted abruptly sooner or later.
I encourage you to follow events in Darfur on Mia Farrow's site, it is the real-time journal of a humanitarian at work; the content is compelling, insightful and fiercely independent.
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For a Words of Power Archive of posts on the Crisis in Darfur, click here.
Here are other sites of importance:
Dream for Darfur
Enough: The Project to End Genocide and Mass Atrocities
Genocide Intervention Network
Divest for Darfur.
Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.
Darfur, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Divestment, G8, UN, Genocide, Jim Lehrer, Mia Farrow, Dream for Darfur, China, Sudan, Investors Against Genocide, Richard Power, Words of Power