Posted on behalf of Cara Parks of the New Republic Yesterday on the New Republic website we ran an editorial on Darfur that I think your readers would really enjoy. The piece uses the declaration of Kosovo’s independence last week to look back at NATO’s involvement in the region — and then compares this experience with the ongoing crisis in Darfur. It’s a provocative piece that urges help for the Darfur region, and I think you and your readers would find it interesting.
Posted on behalf of Rick Sterling. Rick Sterling is an Aerospace Engineer at UC Berkeley. He was active in support of the southern African liberation movements during the 1970′s and 80′s. He is currently on the board of the Mt Diablo Peace and Justice Center and a member of the Middle East Study Group in the Bay Area, California. Dear Jeff and others interested in this debate – I have read with interest the debate between yourself and Alex de Waal posted at his website “Making Sense of Darfur”. You make a number of sweeping assertions and generalizations about critics of the Save Darfur Coalition and their arguments, going so far as to denounce some as “serial apologists for genocide”. Since one of your objectives was to persuade Alex to disassociate himself from other critics of the Save Darfur Coalition, perhaps it would be appropriate for one of those persons to add another voice and perspective? Following are some questions and comments in response. You assert that critics of the Save Darfur Coalition want nothing to be done to help the situation in Darfur. While there is a broad range of critics and viewpoints, that generalization is false. “Left” or […]
In her posting yesterday, Mia Farrow identifies the success of the "genocide Olympics" campaign—which she was instrumental in starting—as a "defining moment." She is right. For the first time, an international activist movement has compelled the Chinese government to recognize that it has global human rights responsibilities. Beijing’s rebuttal of Stephen Spielberg’s charges is the tribute that realpolitik pays to principle—or conservative foreign relations pays to public relations. But will it be a defining moment in the history of Darfur? That is still in the balance. As Beijing has been quick to point out, it neither designed nor implemented the Darfur crisis, and its traction over the Sudan government is limited. And others have pointed to the large number of other countries that invest in Sudan or provide it with arms—India, Iran and Malaysia among them. What can we expect China, singularly, to do? In this regard, it’s well worth taking a long historical perspective on how Sudan handles its foreign relations. Unlike other African countries, Sudan didn’t have a single colonial power—it had two, Britain and Egypt. And insofar as Egypt was itself busy negotiating the terms of its domination by Britain and France, Sudan always maintained a line […]
Editor’s note: Mia Farrow and Ronan Farrow, who were instrumental in starting up the "genocide Olympics" campaign, have offered these words.
Without question this is a a defining moment for each of us, and a deeply consequential one for the people of Darfur and eastern Chad. Responsible leaders and citizens alike should think carefully as to how they might best use their leverage with China. The successful staging of the 2008 Beijing Olympic games have proven to be a lone point of leverage with a country that has thus far been impervious to criticism. Those who have Peking’s ear in the lead-up to the Games and those underwriting the ceremony–the corporate sponsors–must step up and do their part. [...]
Editors note: We are pleased to have this contribution from Daniel Large, a UK-based scholar on China—Sudan relations who has published widely on the topic. He recently authored a piece, “China and the Changing Context of Development in Sudan,” for the journal Development.
Europe and America have tended to regard China as the Great Hope or the Great Demon, moving historically between binary projections of China as an enlightened model to learn from or as an example to avoid. In the case of Sudan today, however, China is paradoxically held up to represent both: it is supposedly the route to peace in Darfur but it is also responsible for ‘empowering evil’ in Sudan.
Steven Spielberg’s decision not to continue his role as artistic director[...]
Editor’s note: Chris Alden, senior lecturer in international relations at the London School of Economics, contributed this post on Steven Spielberg’s withdrawal from his involvement in the Beijing Olympics. Alden is the author of the acclaimed China in Africa, part of the African Arguments series to which Alex de Waal’s book on Darfur, written with Julie Flint, also belongs.
Steven Spielberg’s decision to publicly withdrawal from his post as artistic director of the Beijing Olympics has reignited a simmering debate as to China’s relationship with the Sudanese government and its role in the troubled Darfur region. In what appears to be a carefully worded statement, Spielberg acknowledges that while the Sudanese government bore the ‘bulk of the responsibility’ for crimes in Darfur, the ‘international community and China in particular should be doing more’ [...]
This past Wednesday, the Hollywood director Steven Spielberg resigned from his post as artistic director of the Beijing Olympics. His stated aim in doing so was to attract attention to China’s ties with Sudan.
China responded by continuing to distance itself from the issue [...]
Posted on behalf of Mark Duffield
Munzoul Assal has provided an useful and provocative analysis of urbanisation in Sudan and its social and political implications. In response, Asif Faiz has provided a different inflection. Taken together, they usefully mark out what is at stake in this discussion. In developing this idea, I want to begin by adding to the views of Munzoul.
Alex’s posting on Chad was cited in a New York Times article: “Fighting in Chad’s Capital Ebbs, But Problems Loom,” by Lydia Polgreen (7 February 2008). Polgreen referred to Making Sense of Darfur blog by name, though the online version didn’t link to us, unfortunately. In addition, Alex recently published an article on Chad in Time magazine’s European edition: “A Dangerous Friend” (6 February 2008).
The current conflict in Chad and Darfur is a reprise of the “thirty years’ war” that embroiled Chad, Libya and Darfur from the mid-1960s until the early 1990s. This was not only an important sideshow in the Cold War–the CIA’s biggest covert operation in Africa in the 1980s–but has had a profound and lasting impact on the whole region. Millard Burr and Robert Collins’ book, Darfur: The Long Road to Disaster, tells the story–but needs a new edition.