A humanitarian disaster is occuring in the region of Darfur, western Sudan. We must not sit idly by and let another Rawanda happen. Hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children, mostly black Africans, are being subjected to displacement, violence, and harrassment by Arab militia groups known as Janjaweed. These groups are being supported by the Sudanese government in Khartoum–one of the world’s nastiest regimes. The government claims that the Arab militia are engaged in a legitimate struggle against two rebel groups. But by all responsible accounts, the militias are guilty of systemative murder, rape, and other crimes against civilians. They have bombed and burned entire villages and poisoned water supplies. Moreover, they are impeding humanitarian access to something approaching one million people who are languishing in camps desperately short of food and medicine.
The U.S. government should immediately bring as much pressure as possible on the Khartoum regime to prevent the impending genocide. A resolution recently passed by the U.N. Security Council was (surprise, surprise) appallingly weak. In the words of Stanley Crouch, it was “like a toy designer painting a rubber knife silver to make it look like the real thing.” The Bush administration is, of course, occupied with many things, including the prosecution of a supremely important war against terrorists. But the President’s “heart for Africa” is well-known; and the prevention of genocide in the Sudan deserves a place high on the list of his priorities.