Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Darfur

I'm as guilty as the next person of not doing enough to raise awareness and call for UN action in Darfur. My excuse for not attending Sunday's Day for Darfur protest rally in London? I was at work, finishing up a report. There are worse excuses, but it's still pretty lame.

Coverage of the event itself is here and here. And lots of other places I'm sure. The point is, there was virtually nobody there. A friend who did go estimated attendance of around 1,000 people. Compare that to the hundreds of thousands who attended the anti-war demo in Trafalgar Square in February 2003 and it's pretty embarrassing. Plus, of course, it leads to certain uncomfortable questions. Why were there so few people at the Darfur rally? Where were the unions? According to my spy, not a single flag or banner from any recognisable trade union was present outside the Sudanese Embassy. A handful of Euston Manifesto signatories were seen. Most disappointing of all? Zero presence from the so-called Stop the War Coalition. Concentrate your efforts on Iraq all you want, guys, but an organisation with your name and stature should at the very least show some solidarity with like-minded organisations. But maybe that's hard for you to do if you think that only certain wars are worth trying to prevent, and that only some populations deserve to be saved.

Not that it makes a difference in the long run, really, because by the time anything gets done - if anything gets done - most of the Darfur refugees will be dead anyway. A pretty radical way to get rid of the problem, wouldn't you say?

7 Comments:

At September 19, 2006 9:05 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the "left" wasn't there to any significant degree because there's no beef to be had with the US/Poodle Blair/Israel on this one. And where's the fun in that?

 
At September 25, 2006 11:23 am, Anonymous Courtney Hamilton said...

The Day for Dafur protest is a pro-war rally - so, it wouldn't make much sense for the Stop the War Coalition to attend, would it really?

 
At September 26, 2006 9:58 am, Blogger Lady M said...

Erm, what? The Day for Darfur was about calling for UN peacekeepers to be sent in to prevent a potential genocide, last time I checked.

 
At September 27, 2006 5:57 pm, Anonymous pangloss said...

Courtney's an anti-intervntionist, m.

 
At September 28, 2006 2:12 pm, Blogger Courtney Hamilton said...

Lady m,

"Erm, what? The Day for Darfur was about calling for UN peacekeepers to be sent in to prevent a potential genocide, last time I checked."

Your right - the protest was about begging Western warmongerers like Bush & Blair to militarily poke their noses into the internal affairs of an sovereign African country. It was a protest for war. The people at the demo mistakenly think that Western militarism is the solution to the problems that the Sudanese people face. The demo's solution is more militarism, not less.

Africa has seen enough Western meddling in it's internal business, nearly 200 years worth of interfering has turned parts of Africa into the mess it is today.

If anything, Lady m, recent history shows us that there is no civil war that is so bad that it cannot be made worse – prolonged, intensified, made more bloody and intractable – by the intervention of busy-body, we-know-whats-best-for-those-Africans, Western liberals.

Best wishes.

Courtney

 
At September 29, 2006 2:13 pm, Blogger Lady M said...

Courtney, I agree with you about the West having a legacy of terrible policies in Africa, although I don't think it's fair to say that it's always been liberals who have historically made the bad decisions.

Just two things.

First of all, you keep saying that it's Bush and Blair who are being called on to lead the intervention in Darfur. But as far as I understand, the point of the recent demonstrations wasn't to demand action from US or UK troops. It was about bringing in the United Nations. Now that may all be the same to you, if you choose to lump every Western organisation, country and military into one big ball. But as far as I'm concerned they are two very separate issues, as the UN is supposed (emphasis on "supposed") to make its decisions on the basis of a global consensus.

Secondly, I'd like to put a few questions to you. Namely, how do you expect the people in the Darfur refugee camps to survive once the African Union troops have pulled out? How are the Janjaweed to be stopped? Is it right that these people should just die for no reason? You say the solution is less militarism instead of more, but how do you get rid of the existing, state-sponsored militarism that's already in the country? I'd be interested to know.

 
At October 01, 2006 12:52 pm, Blogger Paulie said...

Yes Courtney. Sudan's precious national sovereignty really is quite the most important issue here, isn't it?

 

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