Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Bush Legacy on Darfur: Joy to the World? Glories of His Righteousness? Wonders of His Love? He Rules the World?

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The Bush Legacy on Darfur: Joy to the World? Glories of His Righteousness? Wonders of His Love? He Rules the World?

By Richard Power

As I moved through the streets of the city today, amidst hard-working people hurrying every which way to meet the material and emotional needs of their loved ones, trying as best they could, in an anxious atmosphere, to celebrate the mysteries of love, I could not stop thinking about an op-ed piece I read late last night: Five Steps to End Genocide in Darfur

Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA)and Stenny Hoyer (D-MD) shared the byline.

There is nothing in it that you and I do not already know. And that is why it is so disturbing to read.

It suggests nothing impractical or unrealistic.

There is nothing suggested in the Lee-Hoyer op-ed that could not have been done at any point over the last few years, IF the Bush-Cheney regime had not been disingenuous in its policies regarding Darfur and its participation in the deliberations of the UN Security Council.

China would not have blown off the consensus of the world community if that consensus had been marshaled in the name of the people of Darfur during the years leading up to the Beijing Olympics; and it could have been marshaled by the USA.

And what will happen in the coming months?

Susan Rice, the woman Barack Obama has chosen to be his Ambassador to the UN understands both what must be done in Darfur and what must be done to strengthen the UN for the Herculean tasks that lie ahead. But Rice and her colleagues not only have to deal with the costly and intractable problems of Iraq and Afghanistan, and all that those foolish military adventures have done to us, they must also deal with a dire economic crisis that threatens to bottom out into a second Great Depression.

In contemplating the Bush legacy project, the list of abominations that vie for the label of "vilest" is long, but the deceit on Darfur definitely ranks in the top five.

Here is a distillation of the Lee-Hoyer piece, with a link to the full text:

First, we must reinvigorate the peace process. Darfur needs a comprehensive political solution. ...
Second, it is essential to ensure continued humanitarian access. Humanitarian conditions in Darfur continue to erode: There are increasing food shortages and violence in Darfur's Internally Displaced Persons camps, and murder, theft, and vehicle hijacking is on the rise. ...
Third, we must help the peacekeepers do their jobs. In 2007, the U.N. Security Council established a hybrid African Union/United Nations peacekeeping force for Darfur, yet less than half of the 26,000-strong force is in place. ...
Fourth, the Obama administration should engage the international community on Darfur. Next to the United States, no country has greater power to stop the genocide than China, whose $8 billion investment in Sudan's oil industry gives it both an economic interest in stability and the leverage to bring it about. ...
Fifth, the civil war between Sudan's North and South must not be allowed to flare again into violence.
Five Steps to End Genocide in Darfur, San Francisco Chronicle, 12-23-08

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.

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.

Save 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.

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