The Passion of the Present
A failure of will

Forces from across the world are poised to help the people of Darfur, but no nation has the will to move forward.

We are in a tragic and signal moment, a catalytic moment, where the world sees the need, has the means, and yet continues to experience a failure of will.

...Now it is the public's turn. It is our turn. The time is now for our action. We must ask our leaders to act now, not in 30 days.

All key elements are in place, except the will to launch the rescue of Darfur in earnest.

A call to action that you should all read. This is "low hanging fruit" on the "lets do something good today" tree. Take some action today.

19 Comments

Yeah, I was pretty outraged myself when I heard about the weak, half-assed effort by the UN.

What's really interesting is that we could do an incredible amount, the blogging community. We just need some tech types to help us set it up - fundraising for aid agencies who aren't getting enough money to up their efforts there, massive worldwide campaigns to ask, (in the US, for instance), our US Senators & Reps to call for action in Congress and to ask our Ambassador to the UN to move forward. I've seen the power we have as a worldwide community and since our representatives wont do it, its time for us to speak out or do what we can ourselves.

B.K., Congress has already officially called the situtation a 'genocide' which I'd say is action. Granted it's only a start, but it's good to see they have taken some action.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/africa/07/23/un.sudan.ap/

Right - I had forgotten that was officially done. I hope we independently make a move to send aid rather than waiting on the UN to act. Actually, the UN is probably giving aid through their various aid agencies - they just refuse to lay the smackdown on Sudan for not taking on the militias fast enough.

Has the government appropriated any sort of emergency aid package yet?

You do realize that the only action in this kind of case that will be effective is military action - an armed mission to stop the islamist militias backed by the government of Sudan? And you also realize that any attempt at "multilateral" action from the UN will fail (in fact, France is already blocking due to business interests they have there).

So my question is, if the US sent troops, would you cheer, or decry the "unilateral" action?

It's difficult for me to understand exactly what's happening there. If there is a gendocide taking place, then the case should be stated clearly to the general public (not just politicians). A good webmaster could build a site on this subjedct in a couple of hours.

I would have to get a better understanding of the situation before I could support UN or US intervention.

This story is truly horrible, and seems to be getting worse. For a quick overview, you can check out our site at http://passionofthepresent.org
We've done what we can to make the story intelligible, but the story IS a hard one. I would, by the way, welcome any of your help in any way, including with additional web initiatives.

Here is a quick update on the US response. Yes, there is a large aid package passed--about $300m. And I was told last week by a congressman that the administration and both parties have now agreed quietly on funding for a military operation--but one not necessarily carried out by the US directly. And the Congress voted to declare the situation a genocide, and did so unanimously last week, just before it adjurned.
Where things seem to be stuck is in terms of anyone actually going into Sudan. The will is lacking to go against the Sudanese government, and the Arab League, and Egypt.

The African Union seems mixed. Nigeria and Rwanda want to go in, and have troops ready. Others want to give the Sudanese government more time.

The French are deploying right now on the border with Chad. The British have said they can send 5000 troops on short notice. And the African Union is landing about 300 protectors for its monitors in a few days.

I think Robert Corr has written the best overall summary on the web, at http://www.robertcorr.net/blog/archives/000183.shtml

Human Rights Watch also has good info.

We have been working since the first of March on POtP, summarizing news and linking to resources. It is all volunteer, non-partisan. FYI Zephyr Teachout of Dean for America started working on POtP this weekend--the harrowing post now at the top of the site, on burning children and the Holocaust Museum's alarm, is her post.

Oh yes, and Sudan is a major source of oil for China, and is also the location of China's oil services center for Africa. And Russia sells arms to the Sudanese goverment, including 12 MIGS delivered a couple of weeks ago.

China, Russia, and Pakistan were central in holding up and weakening the US-led UN resolution that was finally passed yesterday.

I agree with all the comments in Jim Moores' second post, and this does explain quite a lot of the prevarication of the UN (to put it mildly).

But the key point is James Robertsons' comment.

Military action is required. Good luck on getting UN multilateral agreement with all those security council members having interests in Sudan. So, it boils down to "unilateral" action, either by the US or a coalition of countries willing to prevent defenceless civilians from being butchered.

Will we see marches on the streets of DC and London saying "No War"? If not, why not?

I agree with all the comments in Jim Moores' second post, and this does explain quite a lot of the prevarication of the UN (to put it mildly).

But the key point is James Robertsons' comment.

Military action is required. Good luck on getting UN multilateral agreement with all those security council members having interests in Sudan. So, it boils down to "unilateral" action, either by the US or a coalition of countries willing to prevent defenceless civilians from being butchered.

Will we see marches on the streets of DC and London saying "No War"? If not, why not?

Jim - do you have any links that show the Chinese Oil interests, Russian arms sales and that show they, along with Pakistan, were the ones holding up the process? That would help the case immeasurably if we could actually show proof.

Look here:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/ap/20040729/ap_on_re_mi_ea/un_sudan

Here's the money statement:

" Pakistan, China and Russia have argued that Sudan needs more time to end the killings, rapes and pillaging by the pro-government militias, which some have called ethnic cleansing and even genocide.

Officials from several delegations, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Pakistan, Russia and China still had reservations, but they expected the minimum nine "yes" votes could be achieved and a veto avoided. "

Now look at this:

http://www.thegantelope.com/archives/000127.html

france refused to sign on until the term "sanctions" was removed. Oddly enough, France has the largest set of oil concessions in Sudan. Now, add in what Kerry has said about the importance of allies (which can only mean France and Germany) and the following:

In his acceptance speech,
Kerry said the following:

"The United States should never go to war because it wants to. It should only go to war because it needs to"

That rules out any and all humanitarian interventions under a Kerry administration. It also means that Kerry is on record allowing allies (read: France, Germany, and possibly Russia) to have a veto over US actions. Bear that in mind as you watch the genocide and try to decide how best to stop it.

You can also look at this interesting story today about Rwanda's investigation of France's involvement in the last major African genocide. French weren't necessarily helping things there...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3525970.stm

Here ( http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/sudan1103/ )is a human rights report from 2002 which details some of what has been going on in Sudan. The oil concessions are here: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/sudan1103/2.htm

Here is a page defining the concession holders: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/sudan1103/5.htm#_Toc54492543 .

Various links to articles concerning oil in Sudan: http://www.ecosonline.org/back/news.html

Part II.
The Human Rights report also contains information concerning arms deals. Here is the section concerning China: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/sudan1103/26.htm#_Toc54492755

Here is a list of some of the Russian equipment sold to Sudan directly: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/sudan1103/21.htm#_ftnref1033

Speculative weapons sales from Poland and Bulgaria: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/sudan1103/21.htm#_Toc54492702

It's amazing. Incredible. Stranger than fiction and painful to believe. For every week we debate this issue, literally hundreds of people are murdered. A failure of will, indeed.

www.GenocideInterventionFund.org
Please visit the site.
Thank you.

I am truly outraged at the lack of effort from the UN where this genocide of human beings is concened. In terms of us all being equal, that is a bunch of BS anytime time hundreds of people are still being slaughtered daily and are receiving little to no help. African children are starving to death, yet the world turns their heads and say "that is not my problem". It is an atrocity. Please help in any way you can. Make the world take notice that this genocide in Sudan is not the first, and will most likely not be the last.

How long would the problem there in Sudan last? It's been for a while now that it has become redundant and unnecessary. People there should really look at themselves and reconcile. I have visited The Emma Academy Project and building a school in Leer, Sudan would be great for the future of the country and the children too.

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