Thursday, June 01, 2006

Personally, I hold George Clooney Responsible for the Genocide

An opinion piece by Alan Kuperman in the New York Times puts some of the blame for the genocide in Sudan on the shoulders of the Save Darfur movement. You see, if the anti-genocide crowd hadn't been so hell bent on supporting the rebels then they would have given in a long time ago and the government in Khartoum wouldn't have had to massacre innocent people. Kuperman believes that, having signed a peace treaty, the Sudanese government should now be allowed to deal with the rebels as they see fit (as long as the observe the laws of war).

There are so many problems with this arguement that I don't quite know where to begin. First of all, I don't think that (as Kuperman suggests) the rebels in Darfur have been portrayed in the West as "freedom fighters". That would be to suggest that there are large numbers of people out there discussing the situation in Sudan as a political one. For the most part, the Save Darfur movement has not discussed resolving the political crisis in Darfur, but simply stopping the Sudanese government from slaughtering their own people. This could have occured without conceding a single rebel demand.

Which brings me to my second concern: Kuperman talks about genocide as though it were a legitimate tactic in war. What else was the Sudanese government to do? A rebel movement developed among the black population in Darfur, this was a threat to the Sudanese government and they had to do what was necessary to protect themselves. If women were systematically raped along the way, well that was just a matter of the Sudanese defending their sovereign rights.

The political situation in Darfur is a complicated one, and I don't presume to have all the answers. However, I do know that there is not a single situation in the history of the world where it was necessary for a government to turn armed militias on their own people knowing that they would be indiscriminantly massacred. No, the rebels are not innocent and their own human rights record should receive full scrutinity and the guilty should be brought to justice. But in order for a state to deserve the recognition of the right to sovereignty it must at least make an effort to protect the lives of its citizens. Not only did Sudan fail to protect the people of Darfur, it targeted them for murder. I remain unconvinced that a child in Darfur should have to die simply because a group that claims to represent her has irresponsible leadership. But then again, I've always been a bit of an idealist.

1 comment:

WPB said...

I had the same response to Kuperman's craziness: Spinning Sudan