The Corner

Prancing for Darfur

Michael Ledeen’s Darfur post from yesterday has stuck in my mind all day. It’s one of the saddest things I’ve read on this site, and it’s entirely correct:

The killers largely operate from helicopters and small fixed wing aircraft. We could destroy them all in an hour or so. But that would be “wrong,” because it would violate the current hymnal.

Go tell the victims. Explain why sanctions are better, because it makes the Western politicians feel pious.

Recently I interviewed Don Cheadle, who starred in that marvelous film Hotel Rwanda a year or two back. He’s now written a book about Darfur. Very nice fellow. But he doesn’t seem to appreciate that the big lesson of Rwanda is that the thugs understand very clearly that whenever the west starts working through the UN it sends the message: We’re not serious. Indeed, we’re so unserious we’re going to “solve” this problem through a process which gives mass murderers the one thing you need if you want to kill hundreds of thousands of people – time.

So Cheadle’s book proposes all kinds of things you the citizen can do for Darfur – write your Congressman, send a letter to the local paper, etc. There’s a lot of it about. A week or two back, the following caught my eye:

On Sunday, April 29, Salt Lake Saves Darfur invites the greater Salt Lake community of compassion to join with us as we honor the fallen and suffering Darfuris in a day of films, discussion and dance with a Sudanese dance troupe.

Very nice. But wouldn’t it make more sense to try the Ledeen solution and save the Sudanese dance troupe for the post-victory party? “Salt Lake Saves Darfur” looks like doing wonders for “the greater Salt Lake community of compassion” but rather less for the people of Darfur. There is a grotesque narcissism in the determination of the Save Darfur campaign to embrace every strategy except the one that would actually save Darfur while there’s anyone still left to save. The reality seems to be that these groups prefer to go the ineffectual dance-troupe route because it makes them – the “community of compassion” – the focus of things.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.