Sunday, March 22, 2009

Darfur Crisis: While the West Dithers, & the Arab League Swaddles Itself in Hypocrisy, an ICC Prosecutor & a Cartoonist Lead

For More Compelling Photos from Mia Farrow's Journeys, click here.

The chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court has accused Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir of "exterminating" refugees by expelling international aid agencies. ... He called for President Bashir to be arrested as soon as he leaves Sudan. The president is due to attend this month's Arab League summit in Qatar. Speaking to the BBC's Network Africa, Mr Moreno-Ocampo said that by expelling the international aid agencies the president was "confirming that he is exterminating his people". BBC, 3-21-09

Darfur Crisis: While the West Dithers, & the Arab League Swaddles Itself in Hypocrisy, an ICC Prosecutor & a Cartoonist Lead

By Richard Power

A humanitarian crisis is a humanitarian crisis whether it is in Iraq or Gaza or Darfur. Likewise, a crime against humanity is a crime against humanity whether it is committed in Iraq or Gaza or Darfur. Human misery generated by one's own government is no different than human misery generated by a foreign government. The hypocrisy of one nation does not cancel out the hypocrisy of any other nation. If Qatar and the Arab Summit allow Bashir to come and go freely, they forfeit credibility.

Even though, as Eric Reeves remarks, the ICC process has been flawed, it is of vital importance that the West led by the Obama administration takes action to insist on enforcement of the indictment:

ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, made a serious strategic error in charging Bashir individually, rather than as part of a "Joint Criminal Enterprise" (a legal concept that emerged into international law during the Balkan conflicts and prosecutions). ... Certainly genocide in Darfur has been a collaborative matter, which makes the indictment of only Bashir seem a distortion. The best account of the more comprehensive guilt on the part of the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) regime was offered by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its lengthy December 2005 report, "Entrenching Impunity: Government Responsibility for International Crimes in Darfur."

Unfortunately, as Reeves also notes, the Obama administration's so far "tepid response" is neither encouraging nor helpful:

The Obama administration should support the court and its decision, despite intense political pressures to do otherwise. If the work of the court is constrained or defined by political considerations, its independence will be hopelessly compromised, and the prospects of international justice will dim dramatically. The U.N. Security Council referred atrocity crimes in Darfur to the ICC in March 2005; it is long past time that the pursuit of justice began in earnest, and the U.S. must unambiguously lead the way. Tepid comments from the Obama administration are not encouraging. Eric Reeves, The New Republic, 3-10-09

In the struggle to save the people of Darfur, both Moreno-Ocampo and Reeves are outperforming the leadership of both the West and the Muslim world, but they are not alone.

Words of Power is grateful to Mia Farrow for drawing attention to "COPS Darfur," a great cartoon from Mark Fiore.

Of course, there is nothing funny about the crisis in Darfur, and using humor to expose the absurdity of the world community's position on Darfur is hard to imagine. But the power of political cartooning is an awesome resource for good or ill (depending upon the psyche of the cartoonist); and "COPS Darfur" holds a big, bright mirror up to the hypocrisy of the great nations, and offers a penetrating insight you won't hear issuing from the US mainstream news media or the corridors of US political power:

"COPS Darfur is filmed on location with the men and women of the international community. All murderous tyrants are moderately pursued until something else distracts us ... Unfortunately at this time, we will just have to keep monitoring, I just don't have the backup necessary for this kind of situation."

Click on this link to go to Fiore's site and view the video (and then share it with others to raise awareness): Mark Fiore's COPS Darfur

As always, 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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