Archive for June 24th, 2004

Kofi Annan’s role in the Sudan genocide


Sometimes, as they say, you just can’t make this stuff up. Here is a BBC story, published yesterday, entitled “Annan seeks to evade Sudan blame.”

I really don’t know whether Kofi Annan can do more about Sudan. I’m not close to his office. But I note that the author of this BBC report seems to think Annan should do more. Here is the lead of the story,

Kofi Annan has said the United Nations should not be blamed for the world’s inaction in Sudan’s Darfur conflict.

The UN chief was in charge of peacekeeping during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and was widely criticised.

Some human rights campaigners say a genocide is being carried out against black Africans in Darfur by Arab militias but Mr Annan disagrees.

Some one million people have fled what the UN calls “a campaign of ethnic cleansing” in Darfur.

I don’t see how “genocide” justifies military help to protect victims, and “ethnic cleansing” does not.

And by the way, doesn’t most genocide involve ethnic cleansing? What do you do when a process of ethnic cleansing becomes a genocide? Of what good is intervention at the late turning point?

In the case of Darfur, the largest numbers of deaths are yet to come–by starvation and disease. These deaths will have been caused by the actions of the Sudan government and their allies in today’s “ethnic cleansing” of Darfur. It is ethnic cleansing that has created a million refugees and put them in harm’s way. So should we not say that the ethnic cleansing is part of a “genocidal” process? And thus, does not the ethnic cleansing in the current situation constitute a genocide?

Under the Bush doctrine we argue that under some circumstances we must be able to enter a country preemptively to prevent an attack on the United States. Shouldn’t we also be able under some circumstances to enter a country preemptively to prevent a genocide? And wouldn’t the existence of ethnic cleansing on a mass scale be the sort of situation that would warrent intervention?

June 24th, 2004


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