The Hollow Men

:::this is the way the world ends:::

Terrible

I recently saw an interview on Sixty Minutes in which an American doctor (working in Darfur, Sudan) accused the Bush administration of refusing to send in intervention forces because they were receiving information on Osama Bin Laden from the men in power. Osama apparently visited the current president to recruit men. When a German doctor was asked what he wanted to say to Americans watching, he said something like (paraphrased), “I have seen men gang rape women, while killing their children in front of them, mutilate and chop up men, and throw body parts into drinking water sources so that it is certain that no one can live there for years. What do you think I should say to my fellow Westerners? History will judge them harshly. They can not continue to lie and say, “We just didn’t know.”

For those of you who have seen the film Hotel Rwanda, this is that all over and maybe worse. I find it ironic that while Bush claims to be such a Christian, he has left Christians in Africa to be butchered — sandwiched between African Resistance movements and Islamist militias. The truth is that we likely wouldn’t even need to use military force, but merely just put some pressure on these people. We’re too busy trying to deal with the nuclear can of worms that we opened and can’t close. We need new methods of negotiation and diplomacy other than intimidation and violence. Every lunatic on the map wants a bomb now, because we then have to recognize the threat that they pose. Did we learn nothing from our bomb shelters in the 70s and 80s?

If anyone has additional information on Sudan, I welcome it. I have a few articles that I copied from my free NY Times emails, if anyone wants to read them. As I said the Sixty Minutes interview aired last Sunday night. I am considering writing a letter to my Congressman in outrage, but I have my cynical doubts as to what difference it may make. Also, I am just slightly into a book by Gene Sharp called the Politics of Nonviolent Action and I already would suggest it to any of you.

2 Comments

  1. Ned–and all–

    I saw the 60 Minutes piece you mention when it aired last Sunday, and it left me much as it has you. First, sad and outraged, and second, wondering what direction to take.

    Darfur and these issues of genocide are the biggest crises so far of the new millenium. Far more so than the so-called War on Terror. I find it hard to believe that we were so quick with military action and with US dollars in Iraq with full knowledge of what is happening in Darfur and with Colin Powell and George W. Bush defining the situation as genocide, using that very word in front of the assembled United Nations. Why have we done so little in Darfur, and so much in Iraq? I feel I am left with no other response to that question other than that the US ultimately focuses where its “interests” apparently are–oil in Iraq is a quantifiable resource that the US wants; Sudan offers us very little by comparison, and nothing in such known, quantifiable terms.

    Lest anyone think I am merely being partisan, Bill Clinton acknowledges–as does Kofi Annan, for that matter–that the genocide in Rwanda was his biggest failure. And it was and is, and history will show that to be a far more deplorable stain on his presidency than anything involving Monica Lewinsky. The major difference is that Clinton has acknowledged this failure. Bush seems to give Darfur some word of mouth, but very little action or aid. I don’t think the argument that we are in Iraq to depose Hussein and the Baathists and root out terrorists holds water anymore while everyone sees what’s going on in Darfur, and we have done so little by comparison. If our intentions were so altruistic for Iraq, then why wouldn’t they be for Darfur? The discrepancy shows the undeniable hypocrisy of our “interests.”

    As for what to do–that is a good question. First, vote on November 7th for candidates that care about Darfur and make aid there a priority. And I don’t think that candidates that are in the “stay the course” mentality about Iraq make aid to Darfur a priority. So the first thing to do is exercise your vote on the 7th. Second, I think calling your congresspeople and writing and emailing are all important–just to be counted, and to feel a sense of outlet. You won’t be the only one calling or writing or emailing, and sometimes the sheer numbers of people is what can get congress’s attention. Ned mentions some good NGOs that are providing direct aid and help, or lobbying for Darfur to receive more of our attention. I think those are all good things. I’ve given to DATA in the past, but I think they’re primarily good at getting attention for these issue rather than applying such direct aid, in the way that Ned is talking about.

    We’re all implicated in this, so some response–however small–feels important.

    –Shotts

  2. Speaking of voting, I’ve been in a funk with feeling like voting really doesn’t matter lately. I know that’s not true (or doesn’t have to be for the future).  I’m hopeful for some meaningful progress in the future for true, intellectual dialog in this nation.  Truth, justice and the American way?  (Cue music) one of these things is not like the other….

    I did see this web site highlighted a couple of days ago and think it could be helpful when trying to vote to get gross injustices addressed by our lawmakers.  Issues such as Shotts and Gannon are promoting investigating and arming ourselves with as we go to vote in November.

    http://www.intelligentvote.com/

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