In its eight-year battle to turn Darfur into a ‘black box,’ Khartoum is largely prevailing. The National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) little expected that the genocidal counterinsurgency war it launched in April 2003 would capture so much of the world’s attention – or that it would galvanize an extraordinary advocacy movement, which in turn helped prompt deployment of what was at the time the world’s largest humanitarian operation. Regular and informed reports from Reuters and other newswires; substantial newspaper accounts, with significant datelines in Darfur; frequent human rights reports; information from humanitarian organizations, particularly about rape as a weapon of war; reporting by the UN-authorized Darfur Panel of Experts on aerial attacks by Khartoum, each a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1591 (March 2005) – all made it impossible for even a modestly attentive consumer of news to miss the human catastrophe that was unfolding in Darfur. By Eric Reeves Today Darfur is largely invisible, as Khartoum has successfully expelled, silenced or denied access to all these reporting sources. The striking exception is Radio Dabanga, a remarkable indigenous Darfuri news network that provides a continuous stream of reliable information about humanitarian conditions and human rights violations in Darfur. […]
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 […]
On 23 November 2004 at 6:00 a.m., the village of Adwa in South Darfur was attacked by the Sudanese army and the Janajaweed militia. Most villagers were still asleep, or had woken up for the morning prayer, while two helicopter gun-ships and an Antonov plane approached the village. Meanwhile, heavily armed militia men entered the village with land cruisers. In the next few hours, more than 20 villagers were brutally killed and over 100 villagers were severely injured, including women and children. All the homes in the villages were burnt down. Many villagers fled into the mountains, but several were captured. Men were immediately shot, while women were kept in detention for two days. Young girls were repeatedly raped by the attackers in the presence of their mothers. All the victims of the attack belonged to the Fur tribe (1). The attack on Adwa village is merely one example of the horrors that have been occurring in Darfur since 2003. According to the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, over 800 villages were destroyed in Darfur (2), while the Sudanese police even estimates that number at 2000. Nearly 2 million people in Darfur have fled their homes and are living […]
In a recent comment posted under the thread titled: “What it the ICC After?” Eric Reeves made what I assume to be a response to a previous comment of mine. Because an adequate response to Eric requires a lengthy reply, I have asked to be allowed to respond in a separate posting rather than in the comment section of the relevant thread. I apologize in advance for the length of this posting, but in his comment, Eric set forth numerous excerpts from various sources and for the sake of clarity I will need to restate them here. Eric is a professor of literature, and it therefore seems reasonable that he would approach this issue by setting out “the written word” from various organizations and individuals in order to argue his point. But I am afraid that I must accuse Eric of citing literature without the appropriate accompanying critical analysis or fair disclosure. First, he refers to a document from JUSTICE AFRICA.: “JUSTICE AFRICA (UK), June 18, 2004: “In response to the question, ‘Is the Darfur conflict genocide?’ [,] if we strictly apply the provisions of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, there is […]
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.
While previously in the genocide debate it has been stressed that the ultimate Nazi crime is that of the Shoah of European Jewry and therefore the term of genocide should remain clearly defined and not loosely used, and certainly not abused for political motives, in relation to events in the present as well as in retrospection to events in the past, the crimes against humanity of Marxism-Leninism, and in particular in its ultimate form of Stalinism, including of Afro-Stalinism, should not be ignored. Right leaning Anglo-Saxon historians coining the phrase of ‘Totalitarianism’ have muddled the debate by suggesting a common root of Fascism, Nazism, and Communism, ie Marxism-Leninism as well as other radical left variations such as Anarchism, in the European Enlightment, as expressed in the French Revolution, in particular in its Jacobin Terror period (1793-94) (but NB excluding the American Revolution from this stigma!), all capable of the ultimate crime of ‘genocide’. And while it has been earlier pointed how dangerous this nonsense is and while there is not here the time and place for philosophical debate on the roots of evil committed by Nazism and Stalinism, it is only right to reflect now also on the crimes against […]
‘Attempts at equalising historical wrongs are often aimed at Holocaust obfuscation’ Lessons for Darfur from an unfortunately not-enough-known Nazi versus Stalinist crimes debate in Europe. The ‘genocide’ activists who cried the expected howls following the Washington Post’s ‘Sudan’s ‘coordinated’ genocide in Darfur is over’ (18 June) report and the ABC news story (broadcast 17 June), ‘US envoy: Sudan experiencing ‘remnants’ of genocide’, in the recent resurgence of efforts of linking the terminology of genocide to the ongoing tragic situation in Darfur, could do nothing better than to read carefully articles published in the Irish Times of Dublin in May about the ‘Red (Soviet Stalinism) equals Brown (German Nazism)’ debate in the so-called ‘New Europe’, see the subtitle above. Revisionism of the role and impact of the German Nazi occupation during WWII and of the role and impact of the Soviet Union, particular under Stalin, in defeating the Third Reich and the subsequent establishment of the Soviet hegemony in eastern Europe splitting Europe in the middle, is rampant in many newly established countries that were part of the former Soviet Union, such as the Baltic states or its satellites in the former Warsaw Pact, such as Poland, sometimes referred to in […]
Just how credible are UNAMID monthly mortality figures? The unhappy truth is that UNAMID is weak, ineffectual, widely despised by Darfuris, and has a clear interest in minimizing mortality so as to make its failure less conspicuous. I regard 98 “violent deaths” as a deeply misleading figure to cite in assessing current mortality in Darfur. All the acts specified in the 1948 Genocide Convention continue to take place in Darfur and eastern Chad.
John Maynard Keynes was once irritated by a half-witted critic: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” In 2004 I wrote in the London Review of Books, “this is not the genocidal campaign of a government at the height of its ideological hubris, as occurred with the 1992 jihad against the Nuba, or coldly determined to secure natural resources, as occurred when the government sought to clear the oilfields of Southern Sudan of its troublesome inhabitants. This is the routine cruelty of a security cabal, its humanity withered by its years in power, it is genocide by force of habit.” During those horrific months I wrote that the atrocities in Darfur met the legal definition of genocide, as actions intended to destroy in part an ethnic group. Some enthusiasts of the charge in Darfur have suggested that this means that I subscribe to the entirety of the genocide accusations made against the Sudan Government in general or President Bashir in particular, or even that I subscribe to the “genocide narrative” for Darfur. To those who make these charges, I say, examine what I wrote and examine the evidence for what is happening. What was […]
Alex de Waal, Joachim Savelsberg, Alex Hinton, Tony Oberschall, Dan Chirot, and Scott Straus form a remarkably distinguished group of genocide scholars. We have benefited from all of their comments about our book, Darfur and the Crime of Genocide. Our title reflects a deliberate choice that may not seem obvious to many readers and reviewers. We approach the genocide in Darfur as criminologists who focus more on the crime than on the law of genocide. Of course, we cannot ignore the law, since it seeks to define our subject matter. However, we follow an approach that is best articulated by David Scheffer, who distinguishes in his writings between “atrocity crime” and “atrocity law.” A primary focus on the law rather than the criminal behavior of mass atrocities can paralyze efforts to understand and respond to these crimes. Too often, action hinges on an unequivocal crossing of the threshold of a restrictive legal definition of genocide. Instead, our goal was to use the Atrocities Documentation Survey [ADS], conducted by the Coalition for International Justice with the sponsorship of the U.S. State Department, to assess the explanatory capacity of our critical collective framing perspective on crimes of genocidal proportions. After Collin Powell […]