Thomas Nephew is brilliant and he isn't afraid not to have all the answers, which are just two of about a million qualities that make him an outstanding blogger. He's been on the Darfur story consistently for a long time now. Today he's writing about Darfur again sharing information about an ad that will run in Dear Leader's hometown paper while he repairs to his prop ranch in Crawford for the month of August:
Dear President Bush,
The situation in Darfur is dire. The government-sponsored genocide has killed hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children, displaced millions of innocent civilians from their homes and put many more individuals at risk. And the growing danger recently forced key humanitarian organizations to halt operations in large parts of Darfur.
That is why we, the undersigned, call on you to:
- Push for the urgent deployment of a strong UN peacekeeping force to protect civilians.
- Appoint a Presidential Special Envoy to coordinate U.S. policy and help ensure that the Darfur Peace Agreement is faithfully implemented.
Your signature here
SAVE DARFUR NOW
Thomas added the links. If you want your name on the ad, contribute $50 or more by 9pm tonight.
I'm a coward. I'm all for the special envoy but when I hear "peacekeepers from the UN," I get very nervous. They aren't helping in Haiti according to reporting I trust. I worry what an armed international force is going to do in Sudan. But then I remember this from the Frontline documentary, Ghosts of Rwanda:
NARRATOR: While observers like Captain Mbaye were saving hundreds of lives, General Dallaire had a plan to save tens of thousands by creating more safe havens like the few his troops were already protecting in Kigali.
MARK DOYLE: Dallaire had a plan, which was basically to secure football stadiums in every town around Rwanda. Football stadiums were particularly defendable areas because they had large concrete stands. And if you have 50 soldiers with guns on the top of those stands, you can stop people coming in to kill people, basically. So it was-- I think it was very doable, if there had been a much bigger U.N.-- not that much bigger, a few-- a few thousand well-armed U.N. soldiers.
REPORTER: General, you do say that people are being killed, taken out of [unintelligible] What can the U.N. do about it?
Gen. ROMEO DALLAIRE: Send me troops.
REPORTER: Will you-- send troops?
Gen. ROMEO DALLAIRE: Well, what more do you want me to say? I'm waiting here. So send me troops.
Of course, Sudan isn't Rwanda. China is deeply involved. Oil, arms, genocide, status quo. China is on the side of the Sudanese government, which is supporting the genocide. And the Sudanese government says that they are simply putting down a rebellion. Right to self-defense and all that.
Would China allow the UN to deploy peacekeepers? They and the rest of the world seem to want the African Union troops to handle the problem. I really don't know how that's working but if Save Darfur Now is still calling for UN peacekeepers, then it can't be going too well.
I don't have the $50 to sign the ad. I probably would sign it if I had the money, but I would be being dishonest because I don't think that UN troops are the way to go. I also don't think that there's a possibility for them to be called up. By calling for them, I'd be saying that something has to be done because whatever is happening now isn't working - just don't ask me what that something should be.
Related: If you want to immerse yourself further in tragedy of the African variety, read this BBC report about failing peace talks in Uganda.