Genocide in Darfur (Officially)
September 9, 2004 8:11 PM   Subscribe

Powell declares a genocide in Darfour, marking a turnaround in America's appraisal of the situation in Sudan. Will something finally be done? And is Powell off the ranch on this, or this actually the policy of the Bush administration? Previously discussed in a number of threads.
posted by hank_14 (23 comments total)
Hmm, that was supposed to be Darfur. But whatever.
posted by hank_14 at 8:20 PM on September 9, 2004

Powell declares a genocide in Darfour

Yes, he does. It's all over the news.

Will something finally be done?

It's impossible to say.

And is Powell off the ranch on this, or this actually the policy of the Bush administration?

None of us knows.

To be or not to be?

Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them?
posted by dhoyt at 8:38 PM on September 9, 2004

dhoyt - Likely the former. Powell also made some laughable statement to the effect that,despite the genocide, the US was doing all that it could.
posted by troutfishing at 8:54 PM on September 9, 2004

Genocide is bad, mmkay?
posted by ilsa at 9:04 PM on September 9, 2004

AgendaFilter comment (in case no one else says it): this is exactly why you don't start unnecessary wars. The US military is so engaged in Iraq (and semi-dis-unengaged from Afghanistan, and so sort of ramping up in a half-assed way for Iran and later the DPRK) that the US possibly cannot contribute in any meaningful way, to an effort in the Sudan to stop this genocide, or God forbid, anything similar that might crop up.

It's been said before, but really, the "Thanks to Bush, there have been no terrorist attacks on American soil in the last 3 years" crowd, can kiss my ass.
posted by psmealey at 9:18 PM on September 9, 2004

Didn't the US invade Iraq because of genocide ?
posted by troutfishing at 9:19 PM on September 9, 2004

Well, I have read that US sanctions in Iraq were killing tons of people there every year. So maybe that is why they invaded?
posted by chunking express at 9:36 PM on September 9, 2004

this is exactly why you don't start unnecessary wars.

No it isn't. You don't start unnecessary wars because wars are not a fucking game to be played just because there's nothing else to do -- people fucking die in wars, asshole. To suggest, as you have, that a reason the US shouldn't involve itself in wars is because it needs to be ready to handle any and every world policing, or "anything similar that might crop up" shows how little you regard the American soldier. Fuck you, call the fucking UN, psmealey, you piece of shit. America's soldiers aren't your fucking pitbull to be kept on a leash until summoned for your "psmealey-approved" missions.
posted by David Dark at 9:48 PM on September 9, 2004

Genocide sucks. I personally condemn the Sudanese government.

Didn't the US invade Iraq because of genocide ?

This is pretty off-topic, but I think the U.S. has been trying to downplay the genocide against the Kurds, since it happened while Saddam was under U.S. favor and that U.S. ally Turkey is also oppressing the Kurds. Bush kept mentioning that Saddam "gassed his own people", perhaps because that was a type of crime against the Kurds that Iraq carried out but Turkey did not.
posted by bobo123 at 9:51 PM on September 9, 2004

Wow that was a shitload of nonsensical venom, David. Good luck with the new meds.
posted by psmealey at 9:59 PM on September 9, 2004

" America's soldiers aren't your fucking pitbull to be kept on a leash until summoned"

Actually, as an American taxpayer, I consider the United States military to be fairly close to that.
posted by majick at 10:53 PM on September 9, 2004

America's soldiers aren't your fucking pitbull to be kept on a leash until summoned for your "psmealey-approved" missions.

Where's your outrage for Bush and Co. doing likewise?

Seriously, duder, chill out. Listen to some Blonde Redhead - Futurism vs. Passeism part 2.
posted by Mach3avelli at 12:25 AM on September 10, 2004

Fuck you, call the fucking UN,

Takes out The US Constitution

Points out:

"all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land"

Then points out:
On December 11, 1946, the United Nations General Assembly voted unanimously to declare genocide a crime under international law. Nearly a year later, on December 9, 1947, the same assembly unanimously adopted what is known as the "Genocide Treaty."

Now, I roll up the US Constitution and whap David Dark on his nose.

"Bad David. Why do you hate the US Constitution so?"
posted by rough ashlar at 1:07 AM on September 10, 2004

rough ashlar- Is military intervention an obvious or implicit part of what you wrote? Simply because the U.S. is a signatory to the "Genocide Treaty," does it mean the U.S. is obligated to act militarily? Are other signatories? What does the treaty say?
posted by Snyder at 5:17 AM on September 10, 2004

Given that the fallback rational for invading Iraq - lacking any discoveries of WMD there - has become "Saddam Hussien was an evil dictator who killed many, many people!" [ all true ] the US has an imperative, by the Bush Administration's won logic, to invade the Sudan to stop these ongoing massive human rights violations.
posted by troutfishing at 6:13 AM on September 10, 2004

Snyder, in the world you can have authority by physical force. You can also have authority by your past actions and statements. Another is economic might.

Few can compete long term with the physical force of the US of A. And man to man, it seems no sovereign nation.

To violate the US Constitution by invading another sovereign nation following the Carter doctrine of securing oil for the American military-industrial complex while claiming the border crossing was needed to 'protect the people of America from WMD^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Iraqis from being killed by their government', the ability of US Diplomats to claim that America has the ability to follow its own words becomes harder to be believed. Not to mention when people such as Osama bin Laden talks about the US of A using its military, financial, and cultural dominance through cheating, lying, "exploiting" the less privileged, corruption, stealth, and brutality - such actions just help the likes of Osama bin Laden.
Instead of something meaningful like "I pledge allediance to the Constitution of the United States of America, and to the Republic that it established: one Nation out of many Peoples, with Liberty and Justice for all." Americans 'pledge to the flag'. Yea, lotsa respect for that Constitution there citizen.

That just leaves the power of the US Dollar to buy the only thing the rest of the world wants - Oil. What happens with trade with China when American Dollars no longer get the oil China needs? What happens to the US of A when other countries want to convert Dollars into Euros so they can keep buying oil?

May Americans live in interesting times. *gulp*

(How is that! Bush the W is following in Jimmy Carter's footsteps)
posted by rough ashlar at 7:23 AM on September 10, 2004

Carter correct for once? Listen, even a stopped clock is right twice each day--it was bound to eventually happen....l
posted by ParisParamus at 8:39 AM on September 10, 2004

rough ashlar, I think you may have missed my point, and so I have difficulty following your logic from your first and second posts in relation to mine. I wasn't asking about Iraq specifically, but about your apparent assertion that the U.S., being a signatory to the "Genocide Treaty," obligates the U.S. to military intervention in the Sudan. Perhaps you thought I was trying to make a different point?

Looking back, I think I may have misunderstood what you're trying to get at, but I'm still not sure what that is. Are you saying something about the U.S.'s foreign policy degrading it's moral authority? I'm confused.
posted by Snyder at 12:28 PM on September 10, 2004

U.S., being a signatory to the "Genocide Treaty," obligates the U.S. to military intervention in the Sudan.

Article 1
The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.

The key is the 'prevent' part. (and for some others - the punshment part would be the excuse)

Sometimes prevention needs a physical presence when words stop working.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:26 PM on September 10, 2004

Ok, I see your point, thanks. I guess then what policy should be in practice is a matter left to the signatories, right? I mean, military intervention is a heavy decision to make, as opposed I am to the invasion of Iraq, and as more disposed I am to the concept of using the military to prevent genocide in places like Sudan, I don't think that military action should be an automatic or required response to any treaty obligation, no matter how necessary or automatic it might seem to me or you.
posted by Snyder at 11:04 PM on September 10, 2004

I don't think this is actually a case of genocide at all. From what I've read, it's basically a land grab, with the "Janjaweed" (not an ethnic group or tribe, just a bunch of marauders, many of them from the same ethnic groups as the victims) serving the interests of large landowners in government circles who want to get rid of the local farmers. There's a very interesting 1997 paper that discusses the ethnic situation of Darfur in detail:
Ethnic distinctions in Darfur, as is the case for Sudan in general, are not that clear cut. Following the two main sub-divisions, the population in Darfur can be broadly divided into those of Arab descent, and the local, non-Arab indigenous inhabitants of the region. Although some of the Arab groups claim an unmixed Arabic stock, it is important to note that they are Arab only in a cultural rather than a racial sense. The name Arab, therefore, stands for those Arabic-speaking people who, through a long historical process, have mixed with the indigenous non-Arab Sudanese.

The indigenous Darfurian tribes consist mainly of settled farmers and small-scale traditional cultivators generally referred to as the Fur... The Arab tribes in Darfur (mainly pastoralist nomads) consist of the Habania, Beni Hussein, Zeiyadiya, Beni Helba, Djawama, Rezeigat, and the Maharia, in addition to the Arab urban merchants and government officials mainly of Jellaba origin...

As suggested by Ahmed and Harir (1982), the population in Darfur can also be divided using a different classification into four groups: the Baggara (cattle nomads), the Aballa (camel nomads), the Zurga (the local name for non-Arab peasants derived from the Arabic word for black), and the inhabitants of the urban centres.

Ibrahim (1984), who distinguishes between four groups, adopts a more culture-oriented classification: the Arabs, the fully Arabised, the partly Arabised, and the non-Arabised...

O'Fahey (1980) adopted a different classification. He pointed out that, ethnographically, Darfur is one of the least charted regions of the Sudan, a fact which makes the classifications in terms of the Arab/non-Arab divide rather ambiguous, rendering the genealogical approach unworkable. The structure suggested by O'Fahey relates migration, linguistic and occupational factors in identifying the ethnic structure of Darfur. This paper, however, will adopt a broader approach, one that combines both the genealogical/occupational and the culture-area approach to define ethnicity in Darfur...
The conclusion is summed up in this sentence: "Conflicts over economic and renewable natural resources are thus, sometimes, incorrectly seen as ethnic/cultural, simply because the warring factions come from diverse ethnic/cultural backgrounds."

My question is: Isn't there something a little sick about having to prove or pretend that killing is "genocide" before something can be done about it? Does it matter either to the people being killed or to the guilt of the bystanders whether it's "genocide," "ethnic cleansing," or simply mass murder?
posted by languagehat at 5:52 AM on September 11, 2004

languagehat - A nice clarification.

So - Does the constant reference to a "genocide", in this case, muddy the analytical and moral waters and actually serve as an impediment to World (and especially US) action ?

Why not employ the term "ethnic cleansing" ? -

Are there heavier sanctions, in established international human rights law, against acts deemed to constitute genocide? Or, conversely, has that body of international law not yet determined appropriate sanctions against "ethnic cleansing" ?
posted by troutfishing at 9:36 AM on September 12, 2004

Escape from Sudan, by Kareem Fahim

...In a reduced telling of the knotty conflict in Darfur, Adam is an "African," from one of the Fur tribes in that region, and Nourredine is an "Arab." While the roots of conflict in Darfur are seen to be economic and political, there is an ethnic dimension, with the many indigenous tribes from the region of western Sudan and Chad pitted against other Sudanese who, for a variety of reasons, identify as Arab. In Egypt, Sudan's ethnic conflict has a parallel, and those who consider themselves African fear that U.N. officials, especially those who are Arab, aren't sympathetic to their claims of being targeted based on their ethnicity.

A U.N. spokesperson called the charge "nonsense," and said the interview process contains a series of checks and balances, including an appeal system, that guarantees fairness. The spokesperson added that accusations of discrimination are looked into.

Both Adam and Nourredine, though, reject the classifications of "African" and "Arab," calling them impossible in a mixed city like Nyala. "There's no difference between us," said Adam. Nourredine said that Arab or not, he demonstrated against the conflict in Darfur, and that activism is the reason he now lives in Cairo. He said he has no regrets.

A great Village Voice story about two Sudanese refugees in Egypt.
posted by languagehat at 2:46 PM on September 16, 2004

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