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August 10, 2004

If it isn't Genocide...

If it isn't genocide, is it somehow more acceptable? If it it's only the slow, torturous slaughter of tens of thousands, but they is isn't in the name of ethnic cleansing, is it somehow less tragic or less worthy of our attention? If the murder is spread carefully so that there are a number of ethnic groups suffering the rape and destruction, is it suddenly reasonable for the UN to turn away?


The EU said yesterday there was widespread violence in the Darfur region of Sudan but the killings were not genocidal, a potentially crucial distinction which underlined its reluctance to intervene.

"We are not in the situation of genocide there," Pieter Feith, an adviser to the EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, said in Brussels after returning from a fact-finding visit to Sudan.

"But it is clear there is widespread, silent and slow killing and village burning of a fairly large scale. There are considerable doubts as to the willingness of Sudan's government to assume its duty to protect its civilian population against attacks."


And if it isn't genocide, then what precisely is it?

The politics of defining "genocide" is a nasy, brutish business that has little regard for the lives lost.

Read the rest of the story.

Posted by zombyboy at August 10, 2004 12:58 PM
Comments

What exactly is the EU trying to say by talk of "we are not in the position of genocide"? It appears to be an excuse for the EU not taking more serious action to help the people in Darfur. It is sickening to read of the horrendous atrocities taking place in Darfur, and at the same time see the EU and others making such statements. When will anyone get to the point?

Posted by: Mike at August 11, 2004 06:41 AM

That's exactly why they're shying away from calling it genocide. As soon as it officially has that label, the pressure for quick action (political or military) grows tremendously--and they are showing that they would really rather sit this one out for some reason.

I'll be honest: I don't understand. The fact that we've spent the last few months talking about Rwanda and the trials would have made me think that the UN would be even more sensitive to events like those happening in Darfur right now. Instead, they seem more determined than ever to maintain distance.

Posted by: zombyboy at August 11, 2004 07:53 AM

There is no stolid humanitarian interest in either the UN or the EU as whole entities. Neither organization really goes out of its way to engage the terrors of the world unless the risk of doing so to each individual member is totally negligible, be it economic, political, or strategic. It is the individual states that we must rely on to lead these sloths to action. I find it incredible that after all the talk of regretful inaction in Rwanda, we still sit around and just, well, talk. And it is no coincidence that the Bosnian action was taken not by the U.N. or the E.U., but by NATO as led by the U.S. So while they parce words and throw decisions around committees, let's put pressure on individual states to take action.

Posted by: Zachariah at August 12, 2004 05:04 PM

It is really hilarious to read Feith say that what is going on is not genocide. It is a blatant tact to avoid any military/financial action on the part of the EU. As always, the EU is passive and ineffective, not unlike the UN. I am equally ashamed of my own country's inaction. Especially considering that Colin Powell is an African-American. But perhaps the fact the he is a Republican cancels that out. I just read that the Sudanese Embassy is closed until further notice...I hope the protesters give them hell. I am so tired of hearing about atrocities in Africa. Black flesh seems not to have the same value as white, even today. There needs to be international regime change. Who's with me?

Posted by: Brandon at August 26, 2004 09:59 AM

While I appreciate your enthusiasm--and share some of your thoughts--it might be a good time to note that I am a white Republican.

Don't imagine that Republicans are your enemies and Democrats are your friends--it's a far more complicated equation than that.

Thanks for the comment.

Posted by: zombyboy at August 26, 2004 04:22 PM
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