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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Genocide in Darfur: A Growing International Strategy of Equivocation; 

In place of humanitarian intervention, studied avoidance of moral
responsibility

Eric Reeves
December 6, 2004

Though genocide by attrition daily claims over a thousand lives in Darfur,
adding to a total morality figure of approximately 350,000 human beings, the once
austerely clear moral character of this human destruction is slowly dissipating.
In its place, we are being encouraged in various quarters to believe that the
non-Arab or African populations of Darfur are dying and suffering because of
insecurity that is increasingly attributed to the Darfuri insurgency groups. The
central role of the Janjaweed---Khartoum's savage militia proxy---is
highlighted less often, and is frequently conflated with an unspecified mélange of "armed
militias." The compelling underlying grievances that originally gave rise to
the insurgency are also discussed less often, especially by Kofi Annan and his
special representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk. But neither is there much stomach
for historical truths in Washington, European capitals, or in other quarters.

Much of this expedient change in subject is captured in the increasingly cited
analogy to Somalia, symbol of an ungovernable land degenerating into chaos,
uncontrollable violence, and "warlordism" (a term heard more often in connection
with the insurgency leaders). But the differences are distinctly greater than
the similarities, and the "Somalia analogy" ultimately obscures the essential
agency, the animating genocidal evil, responsible for human destruction in
Darfur.

The upshot is that Darfur is being transformed---from an episode in massive,
ethnically targeted human destruction into an essentially humanitarian crisis
that is being impeded by an impersonal, almost abstract "insecurity." There are
no longer non-Arab or African victims of genocide and Arab genocidaires, but
rather generic "civilians at risk." Correspondingly, in place of the clearly
demanded humanitarian intervention, many in the international community are
content to discuss political, diplomatic, and funding "challenges." The focus is not
on Khartoum's past actions and serially broken agreements, but on present
cease-fire violations and a perversely equitable distribution of responsibility for
"insecurity." Ultimately, the "moral equivalence" that has emerged from
various pronouncements by Annan and Pronk is a sign of capitulation, a refusal to
judge Khartoum's actions or those of the Janjaweed except in the context of a
morally bankrupt "neutrality" (see especially the December 3, 2004 "Report of the
Secretary-General on the Sudan pursuant to UN Security Council Resolutions,
1556, 1564, and 1574").

This is the inevitable culmination of a steadily weakened series of UN Security
Council resolutions, which collectively represent a policy of appeasement.
Indeed, Resolution 1574 (November 18, 2004) was so utterly inconsequential in
speaking of Darfur's catastrophe that Khartoum publicly and enthusiastically
welcomed this international "response."

It has not always been so within the UN.

Mukesh Kapila, the outspoken former UN humanitarian coordinator for Sudan,
declared as he approached the end of his tenure in March of this year:

"'The only difference between Rwanda and Darfur now is the numbers involved'
[said Kapila]. 'This is more than just a conflict, it is an organised attempt to
do away with a group of people.'" (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks,
March 22, 2004)

"'There are no secrets,' U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan Mukesh Kapila
said. 'The individuals who are doing this are known. We have their names. The
individuals who are involved occupy senior positions [in the government of
Sudan].'" (Reuters [Khartoum], March 26, 2004)

"The pattern of organised attacks on civilians and villages, abductions,
killings and organised rapes by militias was getting worse by the day, [Kapila] said,
and could deteriorate even further. 'One can see how the situation might
develop without prompt [action]...all the warning signs are there.'" (UN IRIN, March
22, 2004)

Over seven months later, Kapila's words---which infuriated Khartoum---have
proved all too prescient. 350,000 have died and another 30,000 die every month
(see November 16, 2004 mortality analysis by this writer in The Sudan Tribune, at
http://www.sudantribune.com/article.php3?id_article=6536). By the end of the
year, Darfur's genocide will have claimed half as many lives as Rwanda's
genocide in 1994. And there are no signs that this genocidal destruction will
diminish.

On the contrary, forward-looking food assessments by the International
Committee of the Red Cross and the US Agency for International Development, appalling
conditions in the camps, huge numbers of people beyond all humanitarian access,
and continuing insecurity deriving primarily from Khartoum's refusal to disarm
or militarily neutralize the Janjaweed---all suggest that mortality rates will
continue to rise. Because the African tribal populations concentrated in camps
cannot return to their villages, or the sites of their former villages,
agricultural production remains at a standstill. Indeed, it has become increasingly
difficult to see how the agricultural economy of Darfur can be revived. There
is virtually no chance that there will be a meaningful spring 2005 planting, and
thus no fall 2005 harvest. A huge food-dependent population (between 2 and 3
million human beings) will require humanitarian assistance for at least two
years. During that time, the lands of Darfur will likely be distributed to those
who have backed the Khartoum regime's genocide (see below), and the camp
populations will slowly die or migrate from the region. Many young men will join the
insurgency movements, continuing a cycle of violence and retribution.

Here we must bear in mind how directly responsible Khartoum and the Janjaweed
are for the current state of affairs, and how relatively little responsibility
falls upon the insurgents. For the National Islamic Front regime's
counter-insurgency policy of systematically destroying the African villages throughout
Darfur, as a means of eliminating the civilian base of support for the insurgents,
has been in evidence for over a year. We know from a great many highly
authoritative reports by Amnesty International, the International Crisis Group, Human
Rights Watch, and other human rights investigations that Khartoum's policy of
comprehensive village destruction began in summer 2003, and has continued
unabated, with the Janjaweed the primary instrument of civilian destruction.

Human Rights Watch obtained in July 2004 internal documents that reveal a
"government [of Sudan] policy of militia recruitment, support and impunity that has
been implemented from high levels of the civilian administration" (see
http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2004/07/19/darfur9096.htm). Human Rights Watch
also established in late August 2004 that:

"Despite repeated government [of Sudan] pledges to neutralize and disarm the
Janjaweed, Human Rights Watch investigators in West and North Darfur were able to
gather information on the militias' extensive network of bases.
Five of the 16 camps, according to witnesses, are camps the Janjaweed share
with the Sudanese government army. Even more ominous, the Sudanese government has
incorporated members of the Janjaweed militia and its leaders into the police
and the Sudanese army, including Islamist militia the Popular Defense Forces
(PDF), which is under army jurisdiction."
(Human Rights Watch, "Janjaweed Camps Still Active," August 27, 2004, at
http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2004/08/27/darfur9268.htm).

Clearly Khartoum has not disarmed the Janjaweed---as promised in the "Joint
Communiqué" of July 3, 2004, and as "demanded" in UN Security Council Resolution
1556, July 30, 2004---and has not brought Janjaweed leaders to justice (as also
"demanded" in Security Council Resolution 1556). Indeed, the regime has not
even provided a list of Janjaweed leaders, per the terms of the August 5, 2004
"Plan of Action" negotiated by Kofi Annan's special representative Pronk. Nor
has Khartoum provided any information on its "arrest or disarmament of Janjaweed
and other armed groups," per the terms of Security Council Resolution 1564
(September 18, 2004). Such information was to have been provided to the African
Union Ceasefire Commission, but even Kofi Annan acknowledged in his recent report
to the Security Council that "no progress was made [in November]" on this score
(Section III, paragraph 12).

And still the UN and the international community acquiesce before an ongoing
policy of ethnic destruction that has been systematic (Arab villages, even when
proximate to non-Arab villages, have typically been spared), has entailed
consistently close military coordination between Khartoum's regular military forces
(ground and air) and the Janjaweed, and has been relentlessly thorough. People
are killed, particularly men and women, children are abducted, and women are
raped (see a highly authoritative recent study, "The Use of Rape as a Weapon of
War in the Conflict in Darfur," Jennifer Leaning, MD and Tara Gingerich, JD; at
http://www.phrusa.org/research/sudan/pdf/report_rape-in-darfur.pdf).
Dwellings and mosques are burned, Korans are desecrated; food- and seed-stocks are
destroyed, along with fruit trees and agricultural implements; precious water wells
are poisoned with human and animal corpses, and irrigation systems broken
apart. Those who flee often die for lack of water and food in this harsh land.

These are the searing realities that are now increasingly obscured by an
international community that has no means of responding effectively.

Even humanitarian organizations have become complicit. Doctors Without
Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which has performed superbly in the field, has
not only made extremely ill-considered public comments on the issue of ethnic
crimes in Darfur, but continues to bleach out of its reports virtually all data
and observations that reflect the ethnic character of human destruction. The
exceedingly rare references to ethnicity are typically disingenuous. In an
October 2004 study by MSF Holland ("Persecution, Intimidation and Failure of
Assistance in Darfur"), the organization can bring itself to say only that "the
majority of patients treated in MSF clinics and feeding centres are of Fur,
Massaleit, and Zaghawa tribal origin" (page 7). But of course the truth is that the
overwhelming majority of people seen by MSF are members of the targeted African
tribal groups---certainly over 95%, and likely well over. This self-censorship
is evidently the price MSF is willing to pay to retain humanitarian access,
though this seems not to preclude ignorant and presumptuous statements about the
issue of genocide. Comments by Pierre Hervé Bradol, head of MSF-France, are a
particular disgrace to an organization that was born out of a refusal to accept
international protocols of "neutrality" during the genocide in Biafra (Nigeria)
in the late 1960s.

THE OBFUSCATION OF GENOCIDE

The primary means by which the scale and nature of genocide in Darfur is
obscured continue to be a refusal to acknowledge recent history. At the same time
that Mukesh Kapila was declaring that "the only difference between Rwanda and
Darfur now is the numbers involved," and that, "one can see how the situation
might develop without prompt [action]...all the warning signs are there," Amnesty
International declared that:

"'The government of Sudan has made no progress to ensure the protection of
civilians caught up in the conflict in Darfur' Amnesty International said today.
'This is not a situation where the central government has lost control. Men,
women and children are being killed and villages are burnt and looted because the
central government is allowing militias aligned to it to pursue what amounts to
a strategy of forced displacement through the destruction of homes and
livelihood of the farming populations of the region,' Amnesty International said."
(Amnesty International, Press Release, March 15, 2004)

In the more than eight months since this emphatic press release, nothing has
changed. To be sure, many more hundreds of thousands of displaced people are now
concentrated in camps characterized by appalling conditions, widespread
shortages of clean water, shelter, sanitary facilities, and food. But even in these
camps, the same ethnically targeted violence and destruction---rape, murder,
torture, abduction---continue with full sanction by the Khartoum regime. Amnesty
International recently published a new study of conditions in Darfur ("No one
to complain to: No respite for the victims, impunity for the perpetrators,"
December 2, 2004; at http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAFR541382004), and the
all too familiar patterns are here articulated on the basis of current
evidence. Indeed, in some ways conditions have deteriorated, and this is especially
clear in the growing hesitation of displaced Darfuris to speak to members of the
international community:

"While in June 2004 there was an urgency to speak to foreigners about the
massive abuses committed in Darfur among the displaced community, it seems that
since September the displaced have become afraid of talking. They are being
watched by the security forces and the police within the camps for internally
displaced persons, and fear being arrested after being seen speaking to foreigners."
(page 1)

The relentless failure of their stories to make a difference in camp conditions
and the overall deterioration in the security situation has increasingly had
the effect of silencing the voices of the victimized. And as these extremely
vulnerable voices go silent, it becomes easier for their plight, and its causes,
to be ignored by the international community, which is increasingly engaged in
an expedient suggestion of moral equivalence between Khartoum and the
insurgents, between the genocidaires and those resisting abusive tyranny.

Amnesty declares in its December 2 report that the Khartoum regimes "continues
to undermine the rule of law and the very concept of justice" (page 2); in
commenting on the "harassment and arrests of lawyers and human rights activists,"
the organization notes that the detention and harassment of certain lawyers and
activists "is a warning to the population that humanitarian, human rights and
legal activities, particularly on behalf of the victims of the conflict in
Darfur, are often considered subversive by the [regime's] authorities" (page 2).
During the Darfur conflict, "arbitrary arrests and prolonged incommunicado
detention without charge or trial have increased" (page 6); "many arrests carried out
by the security forces do not seem to be for any other reason than belonging to
particular ethnic groups, usually those represented in the Darfur armed
opposition groups (Zaghawa, Fur, Masalit, and other smaller groups)" (page 8);
"persons arrested by the Sudanese security forces have been routinely tortured" (page
13); "sometimes torture by the security forces is so severe that it causes the
death of detainees" (page 15); "torture is encouraged to continue because of
the overwhelming impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators" (page 15).

Amnesty draws the appropriate conclusion---"an international presence in every
district of Darfur is needed" (page 21)---but there is no chance that presently
deploying or contemplated African Union force and international human rights
monitors can possibly take up this task without an immense augmentation of
personnel and resources. Moreover, Khartoum for its part continues to refuse to
accept any presence other than the current very small contingent of UN human rights
monitors and an African Union force that has as its only mandate monitoring a
cease-fire that has been in tatters since first negotiated in early April 2004.

This is the context in which Secretary-General Annan devotes inordinately
particular attention, in his most recent report to the Security Council, assessing
very recent actions, with almost no attention to the historical context of the
past 22 months of genocidal destruction. Indeed, Annan's last explicit words on
the issue of genocide (uttered months ago) were that he has "seen no reports
that indicate ethnic cleansing or genocide" (June 17, 2004). Jan Pronk for his
part declares simply that a genocide finding is "premature," a year after
evidence of the ultimate human crime became unignorable.

KOFI ANNAN AND THE LANGUAGE OF MORAL EQUIVALENCE

Annan, following his assertion that "the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army has
aggressively violated its commitments to the Abuja protocols (November 9, 2004),"
blandly observes that the recent fully established aerial bombing attacks by
Khartoum "may mean that the bombing took place despite Government instructions to
the contrary" (Section II, paragraph 11). Annan ignores both the context for
the intense fighting in the Tawilla area of North Darfur (the primary focus of
his comments) and ludicrously suggests that acts as consequential as aerial
bombing attacks, in clear violation of a recently signed cease-fire agreement,
might be the work of rogue elements within Khartoum's military establishment.
Whatever dissension among the NIF genocidaires in Khartoum, this notion of bombing
taking place "despite Government instructions to the contrary" is simply not
credible, and serves only as a means of asserting moral equivalence with the
insurgents (who clearly do have both communications and command-and-control
problems).

In Section III of his report Annan again blandly notes that:

"No progress was made with the disarmament of the Janjaweed in November. In
accordance with paragraph 9 of Security Council Resolution 1564 (2004), any
information on the arrest or disarmament of Janjaweed and other armed groups is to
be provided by the Government [of Sudan] to the AU Ceasefire Commission (AUCFC).
However, the AUCFC confirmed that it had not yet been invited to verify any
disarmament activities by the government" (Section III, paragraph 12).

Annan goes on to remark, "there has also been no indication of the Government
apprehending and bringing to justice Janjaweed leaders, which has been a central
demand of the Security Council since its adoption of resolution 1556 (2004)"
(Section IV, paragraph 16).

Honesty dictates that this deferential and disingenuous "diplomatese" be
translated: Khartoum continues to flout---brazenly and contemptuously---clear
international demands, demands that have taken many forms over the past five months.
Instead of condemning this obduracy, instead of reiterating UN demands in more
forceful terms, Annan's simply registers the fact of Khartoum's non-compliance.
There is no judgment, no condemnation, and certainly no honest acknowledgement
that any meaningful response to current insecurity and cease-fire violations
must entail ending impunity for the Janjaweed. For ongoing Janjaweed predations
provide the essential context in which to understand the fighting in Tawilla
and surrounding villages in North Darfur, as well as the reported attacks on
police in Kalma camp in South Darfur. The continuing recycling of Janjaweed into
the ranks of police (see assessment from Human Rights Watch report above), and
the close coordination between police and Khartoum's brutally efficient security
forces, are essential elements to any understanding of current violence in the
camp environs, and yet Annan makes no mention of these key facts.

Finally, as if commenting on the mutual violation of rules at some sporting
event, Annan makes the assertion of moral equivalence fully explicit in his
concluding "Observations":

"The rebel movements must realize that their recent aggression cannot be
justified on the basis of self-defence or grievances that pre-date the 9 November
[Abuja] agreement to cease hostile actions. For its part, the government should
note that any military advantage it might reap from the use of aerial bombing is
more than outweighed by the negative political consequences of breaking its
commitments under the ceasefire agreement." (paragraph 55)

It would be exceedingly difficult to parse fully the disingenuousness of these
comments, or their deliberate omissions and highly partial nature. But the
suggestion that Khartoum might fear "negative political consequences" as a result
of violating the Abuja reiteration of previous ceasefire commitments is nothing
short of shameless mendacity. Annan knows full well that Khartoum, on the
contrary, has been considerably emboldened by the international community's failure
to hold the regime to numerous previous agreements. To suggest that there
might now be some fear-inducing political fallout for Khartoum as a result of its
continuing use of military resources is simply absurd. The regime will use, as
circumstances permit, all its military resources; and it will certainly
continue to accord full impunity to the brutally predatory Janjaweed.

Even in commenting on humanitarian issues, Annan's inclination is to mislead.
He declares, for example, that "[in November] the percentage of vulnerable
persons accessible in Darfur as a whole fell from 90 to 80 percent" (Section VII,
paragraph 26). But humanitarian access extended to nothing approaching 90% of
the vulnerable populations in Darfur in October. Indeed, recent UN Darfur
Humanitarian Profiles make clear that there is a huge conflict-affected population
that is both inaccessible and unassessed. While in early October the UN claimed
access to 87% of the estimated 2 million conflict-affected persons in known
camps and communities, this did not include the more than 500,000
conflict-affected persons estimated to be surviving beyond the reach of any humanitarian
agencies (this UN estimate comes from Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 6, September
2004). Counting both populations of conflict-affected persons yields a total of
2.5 million. The UN was able to reach only 1.8 million in October, and in many
cases very superficially. But even using the figure of 1.8 million, this is
only 72% of the total conflict-affected population.

And it is from this level that we saw a further 10% decline in November to
approximately 62%. A more accurate census of conflict-affected persons beyond
humanitarian reach may very well reduce the figure for those reached to
approximately 50%, and in all too many cases those "reached" are provided with deeply
inadequate supplies of food and critical non-food items (shelter, provision for
clean water, sanitary facilities, basic medical care). A telling example appears
in a recent study by the World Food Program and Center for Disease Control and
Prevention ("Emergency Nutrition Assessment of Crisis Affected Populations,
Darfur Region," based on data collected between September 2 and September 20,
2004):

"Of those households with a ration card [troublingly, only 78%---ER] that
received a ration in September [2004], more than half did not receive oil or pulses
[leguminous foods] (64.5% and 72.8% respectively). [ ] More than half of
households (57%) only received a cereal in the general ration in September." (page 3)

This is simply not a diet that can sustain human beings for any extended period
of time.

KHARTOUM EMBOLDENED

The National Islamic Front regime in Khartoum sees clearly the lack of resolve,
the expediency, the disingenuousness that have consistently marked the
international response to the regime's bad faith. Certainly Khartoum welcomed the
change of subject from Darfur to the north/south peace talks in the November
meeting of the Security Council in Nairobi and the passage of resolution 1674
(November 19, 2004), a resolution so meaningless that Khartoum could do no less than
welcome it. Nor was the shift in diplomatic strategy---from threats and demands
to cynical financial inducements---lost on this group of ruthless survivalists.

This international encouragement of Khartoum's current behavior no doubt lies
behind the steadily more menacing threats to humanitarian organizations
operating in Darfur. The expulsions of the country heads of operations for Oxfam
International and Save the Children---for daring to criticize UN Security Council
action and for reporting on Khartoum's military bombing attacks---are only the
first step. Though it was widely reported that the expulsion orders had been
"suspended," there can be little doubt about Khartoum's determination to see its
will done, if by more devious means. Associated Press reports on the de facto
expulsion of the head of Oxfam's operations:

"In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, the Ministry of Humanitarian
Affairs told the Oxfam director that although his expulsion was postponed, he had
to leave Sudan because he had applied for an exit visa. 'You have to depart as
soon as possible, so that you will not find yourself in breach of Sudanese
immigration laws and procedures,' the letter said." (Associated Press, December 2,
2004)

Even Kofi Annan is obliged to note in his report to the Security Council that,

"during the last two weeks [of November], [Khartoum's] process of issuing visas
has slowed down for the nongovernmental organizations [NGOs] compared to
previous months. In addition, some Government authorities seem to have hardened
their position towards international NGOs in allowing them to continue their work
unconditionally. The ability of NGOs to speak out about aspects of the crisis
that affect their activities, as well as threats to the civilian populations
from either side, should be preserved and fully respected" (Section VII, paragraph
28)

But there is no sign that Annan, the UN, or the international community is
prepared to guarantee this "respect." On the contrary, Khartoum seems to be
gearing up for more expulsions and visa denials.

Moreover, there are strong signs that the regime may be on the verge of
consolidating some of the geographic and demographic consequences of its genocidal
assault on the African peoples of Darfur. The Washington Post recently reported
[dateline Darfur]:

"More than a million Darfurians, driven from their ancestral homelands by
government-backed Arab militias, could lose their land if authorities invoke a
little-known law that allows the government to take over land abandoned for one
year, relief officials and human rights groups said."

"For centuries, Darfur residents have been allowed to own and distribute their
land according to tribal customs. The rest of Sudan, however, is governed by
the 1984 Sudan land tenure law. If imposed on Darfur, it would have dire
implications for [ ] displaced inhabitants now living in squalid camps in Sudan or
neighboring Chad. As tens of thousands of Darfurians approach the anniversary of
fleeing their villages, there is growing suspicion among UN observers and
international human rights groups that the Sudanese government plans to use the
obscure law to keep the displaced---mostly African farmers---from reclaiming their
land."

"Tony Hall, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. World Food Program, who visited
Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, last week. 'The effects of this could be
horrendous. Even if you get the displaced to go home, they would not own their land
anymore. They might have to rent it or be forever homeless. I think we would
then see a conflict and death toll that would be horrifying.'" (Washington Post,
December 3, 2004)

The Post article provides appropriate historical context for those who are
skeptical that Khartoum would proceed in such a fashion:

"Analysts said official efforts to move populations, part of a plan to solidify
power and control resources, have been going on for decades. 'Moving people off
of land is part of a long pattern on the part of the government of Sudan,' said
John Prendergast of the nonprofit International Crisis Group. [ ] In the 1980s,
the government forcibly moved the Dinka population from the Bahr al-Ghazal area
of southwest Sudan, where slave raiding, mass displacement and bombings became
the norm, he said. In the early 1990s, government-backed militias burned huts
and seized fertile land in the central Nuba Mountains region. Later in the
decade, longtime residents of the Upper Nile oil fields were trucked off their land
when the government wanted to start drilling for oil, human rights groups have
reported. Now, international observers say, the same thing could easily happen
in Darfur." (Washington Post, December 3, 2004)

These are historical facts that provide essential context for understanding
present human destruction and displacement in Darfur. Those ignorant of
Khartoum's previous genocidal ambitions are likely to fail in recognizing those same
ghastly ambitions in Darfur.

CURRENT VIOLENCE

Kofi Annan and others wish to promulgate the notion of "moral equivalence"
despite the genocidal realities so fully and authoritatively chronicled by human
rights organizations and other reporting bodies. But recent evidence strongly
suggests the terrible asymmetry in violence throughout Darfur. For example, the
recent shooting of an African Union peacekeeper "occurred as a team of
ceasefire monitors were travelling to the village of Adwah in north Nyala, to
investigate an alleged bombing by the government in breach of a ceasefire agreement with
rebels" (UN IRIN, December 3, 2004). Which party in the conflict has a motive
for such an unprecedented shooting incident and the obstruction of this
investigation?

In another incident, the role of the Janjaweed, though not explicitly stated,
seems beyond doubt:

"On Tuesday [November 30, 2004], armed men had attacked a village in the
western Sudanese state of North Darfur forcing about 2,000 internally displaced
persons to flee from their homes, the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières
reported. 'We are not sure who was behind the attack,' Wyger Wentholt, MSF regional
information officer told IRIN. 'What our people on the ground were told by the
IDPs was that the attackers were suspected to be a pro-government militia.'"
(UN IRIN, December 3, 2004)

It is simply impossible to account for such an attack except as another episode
of Janjaweed destruction. The Sudan Organization Against Torture reports a very
similar attack in North Darfur, explicitly attributed to the Janjaweed, in a
press release of December 3, 2004:

"On 28 November 2004, a group of Janjaweed militia composed of 300 fighters on
horse back allegedly launched an attack on Jenjanat village, 20 km east of
Taweela [Tawilla] in Northern Darfur state and destroyed 200 houses and looted the
villagers' livestock. During the attack, around 17 people were killed and 3
wounded." (SOAT human rights report, December 3, 2004)

Clearly Khartoum is continuing to use the Janjaweed as a military force, one
not formally bound by any cease-fire agreement. And because there have been no
consequences for its contemptuous refusal to respect international demands and
agreements, the regime is now fully convinced that there will be no future
consequences.

MORAL EQUIVALENCE

The movement toward "moral equivalence," on the part of the UN, the US, and
various other international actors is---in the context of ongoing genocide---the
ultimate betrayal of justice and moral responsibility. Though some actions by
the insurgents must be strongly criticized, there is nothing that can be
measured against the massive, deliberate destruction of the African peoples of Darfur.
They are the victims of genocide. A failure to acknowledge their suffering and
terrible losses is the only betrayal left to the international community. This
betrayal has begun.

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063
ereeves@smith.edu

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