Both the privately-owned press in the global North and the state-owned press in the global South let the people of Darfur down. When there was coverage of their plight, the news was distorted by four lenses: current national interest of the state in which the organization is located, the state’s historical solidarity with Sudan, ownership of the news organization, and the intended audience. Foreign news is arguably the only means of global public education. The provision of timely and comprehensive information is crucial. The Geopolitics of Representation in Foreign News (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010) investigates if, when, and how the world’s press spoke “truth to power” about Darfur, Sudan. The book compares data on reporting by ten news organizations in seven countries from both the global North and South over 26 months: when, how, and how well was Darfur covered? In February 2003, Darfur’s resentment of Khartoum’s fifty years of neglect burst out into the open. No news organization had reported on persistent prior demands for local economic development that might have prevented this imminent explosion. When did the press alert the world after the uprising? The websites of the BBC and the Arabic-language Al-Ahram in Egypt reported on the […]
Fighting Over Darfur By Alex Thurston Rebecca Hamilton’s Fighting for Darfur: Public Action and the Struggle to Stop Genocide raises important and troubling questions about the relationship between America’s domestic politics and African conflicts. Hamilton thoughtfully probes the limits of what earnest but inexpert Americans in the Save Darfur movement achieved in their quest to bring justice to Sudan. She thereby joins a debate about Save Darfur that took on great urgency with the 2009 publication of Dr. Mahmood Mamdani’s Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror. At stake in this debate are the questions of how much context citizens must understand before they act, the politicization of the word genocide, and silences concerning the violence America inflicts on innocents abroad. Hamilton does not explicitly address Mamdani’s arguments, but this review reads Fighting for Darfur against Saviors and Survivors in order to advance the debate. Hamilton, a lawyer who worked with Save Darfur and the International Criminal Court, is an insider who acknowledges Save Darfur’s weaknesses. Mamdani, a professor at Columbia University with long experience in Sudan, is a fierce critic of the movement. Despite their different sympathies, these authors sometimes reach complementary conclusions, particularly in their […]
Jerome Tubiana. Chroniques du Darfour. Grenoble: Editions Glénat, in partnership with Amnesty International, 2010. ISBN978-2-7234-7831-1. This is a unique contribution to the growing field of Dar Fur studies, which brings to bear on the war in Dar Fur the unique strengths and achievements of its author. Jerome Tubiana, the book’s back cover tells us, did a Ph.D. in African studies, trained as a journalist, and initially worked as a free-lance journalist and photographer. He then served as a consultant for organizations such as Action against Hunger, Doctors without Borders, USAID, and the AU-UN Joint Mediation Support Team for the Darfur Peace Process, and worked as a researcher for projects such as Small Arms Survey and Darfurian Voices. He is also the son of two well-known French anthropologists with a respected and extensive oeuvre on the people of northwest Dar Fur, especially (but not exclusively) the Zaghawa. All these legacies inform this insightful, artistically and journalistically superbly illustrated, and moving book. Tubiana has written many perceptive shorter essays and commentaries about the changing situations in Western Dar Fur and Eastern Chad, for example in Dispatches and the London Review of Books. He also contributed a chapter on the land issue in […]
The Small Arms Survey’s Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment (HSBA) has launched a new ‘Sudan Facts and Figures’ web resource that synthesizes and presents more than four years of field-based research and analysis on armed groups, arms flows, and arms holdings in Sudan, as well as the Darfur peace process. Visit ‘Sudan Facts and Figures’ at www.smallarmssurveysudan.org/facts-figures.php The site not only provides easy access to useful facts, data, and maps contained in the more than three dozen HSBA Issue Briefs and Working Papers already published, but also presents current, field-based updates on key developments in Sudan’s security scene. Highlights of the new web section include: – A ‘who’s who’ of Darfurian armed opposition groups. – A ‘who’s who’ of Chadian armed opposition groups. – The latest on the Darfur Peace Process. – The latest on the on-off Sudan-Chad proxy war. These and other (forthcoming) areas of the website will be updated regularly. The HSBA has built in feedback mechanisms throughout the site to solicit comments and suggestions for making it more useful. In this way the site will be as interactive as possible. For information about the project, please contact: Claire Mc Evoy, HSBA Project Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
24 Hours for Darfur recently released “Darfurian Voices,” a report detailing the results of the first ever representative survey of Darfurian refugees’ opinions on peace, justice, and reconciliation. The US-based non-profit research organization spent four months in the 12 Darfurian refugee camps in eastern Chad, interviewing 1872 randomly-sampled civilians and 280 civil society and rebel leaders. The data gathered from the civilian sample is representative of the adult refugee population in Chad, and sheds light on important questions about participants’ specific beliefs about the root causes of the conflict, past peace negotiations and agreements for Darfur and southern Sudan, the nature and importance of justice in bringing about a sustainable peace, the possibility of reconciliation, land-related issues, democracy, power-sharing, and the national elections, and which actors, if any, best represent their views.
West-end of the Border is a book documenting the lives of refugees taking shelter at camps along the Chad-Sudan border, all the way from Abeche to Bahai. The stories were documented on the immediate aftermath of the height of violence in Darfur during 2003-2004. The reason why this book is out today is because these stories still linger on the flimsy line in the desert between the two countries, with the situation worsening for the families in camps. Peace negotiations often mention IDP presence, however the refugees are hardly represented. It is a complicated matter, refugees. How should the central government deal with them? Faced with the question, it is best left unanswered for the common bureaucrat. No one in their right mind would push at an answer either with so much on one’s plate in terms of the unrest still going on in Darfur, the uncertainty in Sudan ever continuous. Repatriation and resettlement are complicated matters. Not to be tackled unless absolutely necessary. West-end of the Border is an attempt to keep a promise to those who shared their stories in their makeshift shelters. Sad as it is the stories are still there five years later.
A new report from the Heinrich Boll Foundation, Sudan: No Easy Ways Ahead, contains essays by leading Sudanese scholars and analysts of Sudan. Towards the end of the six-year interim period defined in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), Sudan is potentially sliding into yet another crisis. The general elections in April – the first in 24 years – represent a rare test of confidence for the country’s incumbent elites. For many observers, however, the elections are merely a prelude to the referendum on the future status of South Sudan scheduled for early 2011. Both the general elections and the referendum come at the end of a transitional period that has, in many ways, been more about stagnation than about transition. The implementation of the CPA has often been delayed and was marred by a lack of trust between its signatories: the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). As a consequence, the agreement has largely failed to realize democratic transformation and to make the unity of the country attractive. Instead, political tensions in the run-up to the elections indicate that older conflicts still persist, and that the referendum will only reconfigure challenges. The already fragile situation could […]
A special issue of the journal, Genocide Studies and Prevention, focuses on the case of Darfur. It includes an article by Alan Kuperman, examining the political calculations of the Darfur rebels, focusing in particular on whether the promise of an international intervention changed their calculations in favor of sustaining the war and blocking peace efforts. A second article, by Victor Peskin, examines the Sudan Government’s defiance of the ICC. There is a debate between Greg Stanton and Alex de Waal on whether Pres. Bashir should be charged and arrested by the ICC. Samuel Totten analyzes the 2005 International Commission of Inquiry into Darfur and argues that it erred in failing to identify genocide. There are also reviews of academic book on Darfur. The volume as a whole is an important addition to the academic controversies on Darfur, especially at the intersection between genocide studies and political science.
Darfur and the Crisis of Governance in Sudan: A Critical Reader, edited by Salah Hassan and Carina Ray, is a compendium of articles by leading social scientists on the Darfur crisis, including extensive appendices of original documents such as the Qoreish letters, the SLM and JEM manifestos and a translation of the first part of the Black Book. It is an essential scholarly resource for this teaching about Darfur. The conflict in Darfur has received unprecedented attention from the international media and human rights organizations, and it has captured the attention of millions of people around the world. Those seeking to learn about the conflict, as well as those who have reported on it, often rely on information produced by the various organizations that are addressing the humanitarian crises spawned by the conflict. In turn, most coverage of the Darfur crisis provides only a cursory understanding of the historical, economic, political, sociological, and environmental factors that contribute to the conflict. Moreover, the perspectives of the people of Darfur and the Sudan have not been adequately heard. As a result, Sudanese civil society’s active engagement in resolving the country’s problems goes unrecognized. Darfur and the Crisis of Governance in Sudan remedies […]
Jérôme Tubiana has published an article under this name in a recent issue of the London Review of Books. It provides a rare, ethnographic, field-based account of the conflict in eastern Chad, including both its links to Darfur and its own unique features.