Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hard Rain Journal 8-3-06: Darfur is A Mirror Held Up to the Souls of the Great Nations, & What It Reveals is Hideous

Hard Rain Journal 8-3-06: Darfur is A Mirror Held Up to the Souls of the Great Nations, & What It Reveals is Hideous
By Richard Power

When someone you love is seriously ill, you do what you can to help them fight it, and if it is terminal, you accept what is inevitable and you help to ease the way. Of course, if you are a narcissist, or someone otherwise incapable of love, you turn away, you change the channel, you get lost...Darfur is suffering. It is an agonizing suffering, but it does not have to be terminal. If the world would only act as a friend or loved one should act, it could still be healed. But there is no will for it, no profit in it, no political gain, no pay-out. It is simply not a priority. It is Africa. So everyone gets to wring their hands, and say, "Oh, dear, something really must be done." It is a mirror into the soul of the great nations -- for they are the only real obstruction. (The UN Security Council cannot act without them.) Yes, it is a mirror into the souls of the great nations, and what that mirror reveals is hideous, and perhaps terminal.

Escalating violence in the volatile Darfur region has left more aid workers dead over the past two weeks than during all the previous years of conflict, jeopardising one of the world's largest aid operations, a United Nations official said on Thursday. "During the second half of July, we lost more aid workers than over the previous two years," said Mike McDonagh, senior humanitarian affairs officer at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Khartoum. According to McDonagh, the main reason for the violence against humanitarian workers was the tensions and rumours among the local population, many of whom are living in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs). "We are now in the third - and for some the fourth - rainy season and the IDPs are still living in camps," McDonagh said. "There is enormous frustration and a lack of hope among many of them, especially the Fur [ethnic community]."
Sudan: Deaths of Aid Workers Threaten Darfur Operations, UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, 8-2-06

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has revealed plans to send a peacekeeping force of 24,000 troops to Sudan's troubled Darfur region. It would surpass the 17,500-strong force in the Democratic Republic of Congo as the largest UN peacekeeping mission. The government of Sudan has yet to approve deployment of a UN force to succeed a smaller and under-equipped African Union force of about 7700 soldiers and police. The 15-member Security Council can approve the force without Sudan's approval but it is doubtful any country would contribute troops without Khartoum's consent.
Annan plans for massive UN peacekeeping force in Darfur, Scotsman, 8-2-06

Every morning, checking the news from Darfur, I see the utter helplessness and hopelessness of the people in that ravaged part of Sudan....My own feeling of uselessness after writing so many columns about the mass murders and rapes by the Sudan government's enablers of genocide, the Janjaweed, brings me back to my childhood -- listening on the radio continually to CBS's William Shirer from Hitler's Berlin. I was 13 when I first heard about Kristallnacht -- when, on Nov. 7, 1938, Hitler youth rampaged through Jewish neighborhoods across Germany, leaving behind them a horrifying trail of terror and destruction. Then, chillingly, came news of what came to be known as the Holocaust. Surely the world, I thought, would intervene. The elders in my neighborhood -- many of whom, like my father, had escaped from the pogroms in Russia -- were not so sure. Years after that, writing of the world's silence before and during the genocide in Rwanda, I found that Kofi Annan, then head of peacekeeping at the United Nations, had ordered Gen. Romeo Dallaire, U.N. Force Commander in Rwanda, not to intervene, although Dallaire had advance word of what was to happen and could have stopped it. From then-President Bill Clinton came orders to the State Department not to use the word "genocide" in answer to reporters' questions about our refusal to intervene. Four years after the corpses had filled the rivers of Rwanda, Clinton speaking in Rwanda, said: "All over the world there were people like me sitting in offices, day after day, who did not fully appreciate the depth and speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror." Now, I am depressed and puzzled at why -- when knowledge of the genocide in Darfur cannot be escaped -- so many Americans are indifferent.
NAT HENTOFF, Darfur: the Edge of the Abyss, 8-3-06


Words of Power #12: The Fallen Tree (Spiritual Challenges of the 21st Century Global Security Crisis, Part II)

Words of Power #25: Lost Symbols, Part II -- The Rainbow Serpent Hisses, Lessons about Sustainability & Survival from Darfur, Senegal and Ecuador

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

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