Sunday, August 08, 2004
Darfur: What is to be done?

The first indications of a crisis in Darfur appeared in late 2003 through the United Nations agencies that were monitoring the developing humanitarian crisis in the region. Criticism of the United Nations is unfair in this instance. The crisis has been developing for over a year without a response from the Great Powers.

In November 2003 The United Nations called for nearly 23-million dollars to help people suffering in a little-known war in western Sudan.

In December 2003 nearly 10,000 new Sudanese refugees fled into Chad from the strife-torn Darfur region of the Sudan. There were reports of killings, rape and the burning and looting of entire villages. The peace talks on Darfur resumed 10 December 2003 in Abeche, eastern Chad. A UN World Food Programme (WFP) assessment mission to south Darfur found that 46 of the 62 villages had been completely burned, while the other 16 had been looted. The newest refugees, who brought the number to have fled across the Chadian-Sudanese border over the previous seven months to 75,000, alleged that there has been aerial bombardment of villages and "ethnic cleansing" by pro-government Arab militias.

Subsequent criticism of the United Nations has centred on a failure to prevent or act whilst a program of 'ethnic cleasing', referred to genocide by some, has taken place. However, the UN cannot act without a consensus on the Security Council. This has not been reached as both France and China have oil interests in the Sudan and are unwilling to countenance actions that undermine the regime in Khartoum.

The situation in Darfur highlights one of the major flaws in the institutions that underlie the current system of international relations. Whilst they undermine national sovereignty through the development of international law and the imposition of 'economic development' various areas, they preserve the fiction of national sovereignty. Borders in postcolonial territories like Africa are preserved in aspic favouring the development of the kleptocratic states that suck the lifeblood of their peoples.

Sudan is a prime example. Clothed in the self-righteous rhetoric of Islam, the government in Khartoum enriches itself at the expense of the population, a model analagous to the Mullahocracy of Iran, yet adapted to the harsher and poorer conditions of the Sahara. Western intervention in this conflict would merely delay the conflicts which are caused by the long-term degradation of the Darfur environment; degradation that has led to competition for land and water between subsistence farmers and nomads, with the government favouring particular groups called Arabs over the tribes of subsistence farmers. (We should note that their are probably Arab farmers who have been displaced by the Janjaweed and African nomads/farmers who are fighting on behalf of Khartoum). After the conversion of Kosova and Bosnia/Herzegovina into parasitical protectorates, does Darfur deserve the same fate from the west and its proxies, the African Union.

The answer is No. The sacralization of national sovereignty in Africa is not worth the price of one Darfuri life. It is a postcolonial ideal designed to preserve the thieves who came to rule over the cardboard cutouts left over from the scuttle of Empire. If the Darfuri wish to exercise self-determination and secede from the Islamist Leviathan in Khartoum that burns their villages and slaughters their families, that is their right.

Dismemberment is the answer to the Sudanese question. If we wish to prevent a long-term war in this area, we should support the right of Darfur to become a separate country. Send them aid and guns.

(13.57, 8th August 2004)


Post a Comment

Blog Archive