Archive for June 5th, 2004

Who is responsible for the tragedy in Darfur? Ingrid Jones asks the right questions.

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>On her very insightful blog Me and Ophelia, Ingrid Jones has been writing diligently
about the Sudan crisis.  Today she wrote an extraordinary
post–with (seemingly) some of the white anger of outrage that is
appropriate to what is happening in Sudan.  In reference to a BBC report following the UN donors’ meeting for Sudan that 
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“A catastrophe is now unavoidable in Sudan’s Darfur region, the United Nations and aid workers say.
style=”font-family: times new roman; font-weight: bold;”> Some 300,000 people will starve, even if emergency aid is delivered immediately, according to the head of th style=”font-family: times new roman; font-weight: bold;”>e United States aid agency.”

Ingrid writes (what follows is an excerpt, see the whole text here),

PUTTING THE SPOTLIGHT ON THE EU, UN AND CHARITIES
Who are these people? Why are they getting away with it?

My
questions on the above post are: Which agencies have been so slow? Who
are they? What exactly is the “international community”? Why is there
no accountability?

It’s almost 20 years since Live Aid’s “Feed
the World” concert. Sir Bob Geldof was loud and clear in publicising
the impossible task of transporting aid to the needy. Since that time,
millions of people around the world have continued to donate mountains
of hard earned cash to Oxfam, Red Cross, Christian Aid, to name a few.
What is the point of these donations and the public funds distributed
on our behalf by governments?

People donate in the belief that
those who are suffering, particularly in Africa, will be helped and
that crises will be anticipated and responded to. Many friends of mine
have raised funds over decades for charities, particularly Oxfam, Red
Cross, Mother’s Union and Christian Aid. I, along with them – and
millions of others – have donated annually for the past 35 years.

Now,
all of a sudden yesterday, an “emergency” donors meeting takes place in
Geneva where the UN is asking for $236m to help the people of Darfur –
even though it admits “they are a bit late” and that 300,000 people
will die even if the aid operation begins now?

The UN asks for
$236m like it is a drop in the ocean and puts the blame for today’s
situation on donors and the Sudanese government. Who’s blaming the EU,
UN and the charities funded by the public? After all that’s been said
and done about the Holocaust, Bosnia and Rwanda: what is going on with
these cash mountains of aid in this day and age?

Who is
accountable for this outrageous scandal? For a start, the EU, UN and
all charities fundraising in the name of Africa ought to be made
accountable. They should be sorted out once and for all. Even if it
takes years. A great big shake up. Ineffective bureaucrats and
charities spending tax payers’ hard earned cash on cushy jobs, fat
salaries, expense accounts, travel and meetings in exotic locations,
swish premises, glossy marketing campaigns and wasteful bureaucracy to
justify their positions.

After Bosnia and Rwanda, they can’t
be allowed to get away with it. They’ve had enough years. Let’s shake
them up. Monitor them. Make them work better. Put the heat on them.
Name and shame them. If their jobs and reputations are put under real
pressure, they will put real pressure on politicians. And perhaps the
whole business of providing timely help and protection to people in
times of crisis – such as genocide in Darfur – could be made to run
much more efficiently and effectively.

How can the EU and UN
allow this happen? Or is it just a fact of life. Like we are all ants.
Squish. There goes another 300,000. Who cares? America and Europe sure
cared about 3,000 of their own on 9/11. Is an American or European life
of more value than an Sudanese life? And if it seems so, who says it
has to continue that way?

Michael Moore movie trailer posted on the web

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Michael Moore posted trailers on his website, providing tasty samples of the new film about George W. Bush…

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