Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Destruction of Khor Abeche, South Darfur, April 7, 2005: 

A symbol of international impotence in confronting Darfur's genocide

Eric Reeves
April 12, 2005

Relatives and friends of the many innocent civilians slaughtered last
week in the village of Khor Abeche (South Darfur, east of Nyala) may be
forgiven for concluding that piously irresolute UN Security Council
resolutions offer little protection from ongoing Janjaweed attacks. In
a savage, daylong attack on April 7, 2005, militia forces from the
neighboring village of Niteaga "rampaged through the village [of Khor
Abeche], killing, burning and destroying everything in their paths and
leaving in their wake total destruction" ("Joint Statement by the
African Union Mission in Sudan and the UN Mission in Sudan," April 7,
2005). The attack is described by the UN and AU missions as "savage,"
"pre-meditated," and ultimately a function of "deliberation official
procrastination" that prevented the deployment of AU observers who might
have been able to forestall the clearly impending attack.

The dead and surviving residents of Khor Abeche may also be forgiven
for concluding that mere referral of war crimes to the International
Criminal Court will do nothing to deter ongoing, ethnically-targeted
civilian destruction in Darfur. Certainly none of the three resolutions
recently passed by the UN Security Council made the slightest difference
to those victims whose brutal murder led the UN and the AU to declare
their "utter shock and disbelief of the relentless daylong attack on
Khor Abeche." But neither "shock" nor "disbelief" is any longer an
appropriate response to the genocidal violence in Darfur. As the third
year of conflict grinds on in Darfur, as the African tribal populations
and villages of the region continue to be destroyed as part of
Khartoum's unspeakably brutal counter-insurgency warfare, there is no
basis for either "shock" or "surprise."

Indeed, the attack on Khor Abeche is so entirely in character that, for
precisely this reason, we must attend carefully to the frank UN and AU
account of the circumstances leading up to this all too representative

"The African Union had been engaged in discussions with the Wali
[Khartoum-appointed governor] of South Darfur and Nasir al Tijani Adel
Kaadir [commander of the Arab militia/Janjaweed force] on several
occasions in the past on how to maintain the security situation in the
area. Indeed, the AU had prepared to deploy its troops in Niteaga and
Khor Abeche since 3 April [2005], to deter precisely this kind of
attack, but was prevented from acting by what can only be inferred as
deliberate official procrastination over the allocation of land for the
troops' accommodation."

"The callous destruction of Khor Abeche by Nasir al Tijani and his
lieutenants is in clear violation of not only the N'Djamena and Abuja
Agreements, but also runs counter to numerous UN Security Council
Resolutions, including Resolution 1591, which seeks to ensure that the
perpetrators of such acts no longer enjoy impunity and are brought to
justice." ("Joint Statement by the African Union Mission in Sudan and
the UN Mission in Sudan," April 7, 2005)

Of particular significance in this account is fact that for several
days prior to the attack, the AU and UN had been in communication with
Khartoum's highest appointed official in South Darfur, the Wali
(governor). From this we may infer, with full certainty, that senior
officials in Khartoum were well aware of the impending attack and of
efforts by the AU and the UN to forestall it. The "deliberate official
procrastination" in agreeing to a deployment location for AU forces can
only mean that Khartoum fully intended for this attack to go forward:
with such intense UN and AU involvement, over a period of days, the Wali
of South Darfur would not have made such a decision on his own authority
alone. The 350 Janjaweed militia forces, attacking on camel and
horseback, were not acting autonomously; they were not acting under some
false sense of impunity; and they were not acting as rogue elements.

The attack on Khor Abeche occurred only because Khartoum sanctioned it;
the regime deliberately allowed a militia proxy to "rampage through the
village [of Khor Abeche], killing, burning and destroying everything in
their paths and leaving in their wake total destruction" ("Joint
Statement by the African Union Mission in Sudan and the UN Mission in
Sudan," April 7, 2005). It was, in short, chillingly similar to the
many, many hundreds of such attacks over the past two years.


The attack on Khor Abeche highlights yet again the fundamental
limitations of the African Union mission in Darfur, a mission that
remains defined by a mandate only to monitor the non-existent cease-fire
(originally of April 8, 2004, essentially reiterated on November 9,
2004). The approximately 2,200 personnel in the present AU mission,
deployed over a region the size of France, simply cannot function as a
peacekeeping force. Even when courageously willing to deploy in a
fashion that creates a presence that might deter violence against
civilians (as has happened on a number of previous occasions), the AU
force has no ability to stop a determined attack by Khartoum's regular
forces or its militia proxies (the Janjaweed) or the regime's
paramilitary Popular Defense Forces (PDF). Indeed, neither the
Janjaweed nor the PDF is a party to the ceasefire, and are not
officially included in the monitoring mandate guiding the AU.

In the absence of a vastly larger force---with a robust civilian
protection mandate, and guided by a comprehensive sense of the manifold
security tasks in Darfur---there will continue to be attacks of the sort
witnessed at Khor Abeche. For it is fully, indisputably clear that
neither current nor contemplated AU personnel and resources are adequate
for such a force. In turn, either the AU makes clear its need for
substantial assistance, both personnel and material, from non-AU actors
such as NATO, or the people of Darfur will be consigned to the ongoing
risk of merciless military attacks. Again, there have been many, many
hundreds of these attacks over the past two years. If they have
diminished in frequency, it is largely because so many of the African
villages in Darfur have already been destroyed: 90% is the consensus
figure among Darfuris in exile with contacts on the ground.

In assessing the political and diplomatic performance of the AU, we
must ask what it means that there has still been no successful effort to
force Khartoum to accept a mandate for civilian and humanitarian
protection in Darfur. Certainly there has been no public demand for
such a mandate issued out of Addis Ababa (headquarters of the AU); nor
has putative "quiet diplomacy" on the part of the AU moved with any
evident success toward the achievement of such a mandate. In fact,
evidence strongly suggests that the AU continues to be guided by the
fundamentally mistaken belief (if accepted at face value) that a
cease-fire monitoring mission can function de facto as a means of
halting ongoing genocidal violence amidst what has for months been
universally described as a "climate of impunity" in Darfur. This is a
thoroughly untenable belief, for which civilians and humanitarian
operations in the region are paying a terrible price.

Diplomatically, the AU has a similar record of impotence. The last
round of peace negotiations, in December 2004, collapsed because
Khartoum launched a major military offensive in Darfur on the very eve
of resumed talks in Abuja, Nigeria. Since that time, the AU has been
unable even to schedule a date for the resumption of talks. The
insurgency movements (the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army [SLM/A] and the
Justice and Equality Movement [JEM]) have, to be sure, performed poorly
at times in what is for them the novel arena of diplomacy, though much
of this derives from a deep and fully comprehensible mistrust of
Khartoum as a negotiating partner. Only in the last few days have the
SLM/A and JEM dropped unreasonable pre-conditions for resumed talks
(Agence France-Presse, April 11, 2005). But despite claims that there
are back-channel negotiations between various mediators, the insurgency
movements, and the Khartoum regime, there is no evidence that a peace
settlement is anywhere in sight. And the rainy season begins in less
than two months.

[Of very significant diplomatic concern is the government of Chad's
recent suspension of its mediation efforts in the search for peace in
Darfur. The weak government of Idriss Deby has declared that it cannot
help further in mediation because Khartoum is "supporting rebels [in
Darfur] determined to destabilize [the government of Chad] (Reuters
[dateline: N'Djamena], April 11, 2005). In particular Chad has accused
Khartoum of "recruiting and supplying some 3,000 rebels close to the
border between the two countries" (Reuters, April 11, 2005). Last week
Chad's Communications Minister, Barthelemy Natoingar Bainodji, said
"Arabs from Chad had been recruited to join the Janjaweed militias
accused of widespread atrocities in Darfur" (BBC, April 8, 2005).

Given the extremely precarious position of Deby, internally and in his
relationship to Khartoum, it is thoroughly unlikely that these
accusations are contrived. They are rather almost certainly a desperate
effort to awaken the international community to the growing threat to
regional stability that is posed by ongoing conflict in Darfur. This
warning is ignored only by the most foolishly expedient.]


Even before the attack on Khor Abeche, it was clear that growing
insecurity in Darfur was continuing to attenuate humanitarian relief
efforts (see "Current Security Conditions in Darfur: An Overview," April
7, 2005 at
And insecurity is not all that currently constrains humanitarian
operations. In addition to a fundamental shortage of overall capacity
for the more than 3 million people now affected by the conflict,
humanitarian operations in Darfur are also being affected by a lack of
adequate funding:

"The UN World Food Programme said today [April 8, 2005] that for the
first time since WFP's major emergency operation for Darfur began, a
drastic shortage of funds will force it to cut rations for more than one
million people living in the western region of Darfur. Starting in May
[2005], WFP will have to cut by half the non-cereal part of the daily
ration. This is a last resort to help stretch current food supplies
through the critical months of July and August---the region's
traditional lean months, when food needs become most acute."

"While the reduction will not affect programmes for malnourished
children and nursing mothers, it will impact significantly on the diet
of more than one million poor and vulnerable people. A cut by half in
non-cereals---the most nutritious part of the ration---means that the
daily minimum recommended diet of 2,100 kilocalories per person will
drop to 1,890."

"While donations to WFP for cereals have been generous and thus the
ration's cereal portion remains unchanged, there has been little
response to repeated appeals for non-cereals---pulses, vegetable oil,
sugar, salt, and blended foods." (UN World Food Program statement
[Khartoum], April 8, 2004)

This critical shortcoming, in the almost immediate wake of generous
international responses to the victims of the terrible Southeast Asia
tsunami, is a terrible failure, a scandalous example of the inequities
in humanitarian assistance that have so often victimized those suffering
in Africa.

But issues of overall capacity also emerge in the World Food Program
statement, particularly in the context of the most recent figures from
the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which
indicates approximately 2.5 million people as conflict-affected, a
figure which does not include the refugee population in Chad (200,000)
or the very large rural populations currently beyond humanitarian

"The situation [in Darfur] will become even more dramatic when food
needs escalate during the rainy season in July and August, prompting an
additional 500,000 people at least to require food aid. Continuing
conflict and insecurity, low rainfall and a poor past harvest threaten
to push numbers even higher." [ ]

"Widespread conflict, banditry and insecurity to people in villages
beyond the state capitals still made many areas inaccessible for much of
March. As a result, WFP food assistance reached an estimated 1.4 million
people in Darfur, some 200,000 fewer than the record 1.6 million people
fed in February. 'The people of Darfur need urgent aid. They don't have
other options. The conflict in the region has robbed them of their homes
and livelihoods,' Carlos Veloso, the WFP emergency coordinator for
Darfur, said." (UN World Food Program statement [Khartoum], April 8,

The nutritional effects of food ration cuts are consequential in
themselves, but also compound the serious issue of declining morale in
the camps for the displaced, which increasingly have come to seem
prisons for those who seek or remain in them out of a desperate need for
protection from the continuing attacks of the sort witnessed at Khor

"'We are very concerned about the negative effect this drastic
ration-cut will have on the health and psychological well-being of
thousands of people---who are already weakened and traumatised by war,'
Veloso said." (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, April 8,

In some places in Darfur, deteriorating nutritional conditions are
already in evidence. The most recent "fact sheet" from the US Agency
for International Development (April 8, 2005) highlights a recent survey
by TearFund in the Al Deain locality of South Darfur:

"On March 31 [2005], TearFund reported preliminary findings of a 30x30
cluster nutritional survey conducted from March 14 to 18 [2005] in the
Al Deain locality of South Darfur in collaboration with the UN
Children's Fund, the Ministry of Health, and a local NGO. The survey
revealed high malnutrition rates amongst the under-five population, with
a global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate of 25.2 percent and a severe
acute malnutrition (SAM) rate of 4.3 percent. TearFund also reported a
high prevalence of diarrhea, with 86 percent of severely malnourished
children reported to have had diarrhea within two weeks prior to the
survey." (US Agency for International Development "fact sheet" on
Darfur, April 8, 2005)

These malnutrition rates for children (25.2% Global Acute Malnutrition
and 4.3% Severe Acute Malnutrition) are terrible harbingers heading into
the rainy season and the traditional "hunger gap," especially in light
of huge shortcomings in the pre-positioning of food throughout the
Darfur humanitarian theater (West Darfur and Chad in particular).
Though malnutrition and mortality rates have declined recently in the
larger, more well-established camps, both rates are set to rise
again---and rapidly---with the onset of the seasonal rains (May/June
through September).

And there is considerable evidence that even now a great deal of human
privation and suffering is under-reported for various populations. For
example, the humanitarian organization HelpAge International recently
conducted an assessment of the older population in the camp areas of

"Older people are neglected and forgotten in Darfur camps, because they
are frequently not included in international humanitarian aid food and
health programmes, warns new research by HelpAge International. A health
and nutrition assessment of older people by HelpAge International, in
five camps in West Darfur, found older people felt isolated and lonely
because of food insecurity. On average, 'older' people over the age of
50 years old, comprise 10 per cent of a camp's population. Although
older people, along with children, are classed as a vulnerable group,
many interviewed, were not being directly targeted by aid agencies."

*Over 20 per cent of older people were not accessing World Food
Programme food rations, with this figure rising to 26 per cent in one

*45 per cent of older people claimed not to have proper shelter;

*61 per cent of older people claimed to have a chronic disease that
needed specialised treatment or drugs, which were not available to

"The research found few people older people had adequate food, either
in quality or quantity. Around 20 per cent were only eating one meal a
day. Often they were sharing rations with orphaned and separated
children, not always related, in their care. Those not receiving food,
had missed out on registration due to disability or being unable to move
without support or a guide. Half of all the older people interviewed by
HelpAge International live alone, most are widows, without extended
family support." ("Older people are neglected in Darfur," HelpAge
International, April 11, 2005)

A more accurate registration of the elderly would certainly show a much
larger conflict-affected population in Darfur, as well as much greater
dependence on international food and medical relief. As this writer has
noted on a number of previous occasions over the past year and a half,
under-reporting of the Darfur crisis---including the number of victims
and the scale of humanitarian need---has been a chronic feature of the
international response from almost the very beginning.

It is also important that the growing needs for food and medical relief
in neighboring Chad not be ignored. Chad, which has been burdened from
the beginning of the Darfur conflict with a huge refugee influx in an
eastern border region that can barely provide subsistence to the local
Chadian population, has been little discussed in recent months by
humanitarian organizations; but there are ominous signs. The UN High
Commission for Refugees recently noted significant increases in severe
malnutrition in refugee camps along the Chad/Darfur border, and the UN
World Food Program today issued an urgent warning:

"The UN World Food Programme has warned that unless donations are
rapidly forthcoming, nearly 200,000 refugees who have fled into Chad
from the Darfur conflict in neighbouring Sudan risk going hungry in the
months ahead. WFP is appealing for US$87 million in food aid to cover
needs in the refugee camps of eastern Chad until the end of next year.
However, contributions are urgently needed to ensure sufficient stocks
are delivered to the camps ahead of this year's rainy season, during
which road transport becomes all but impossible across most of the
region. 'We need food now,' said WFP Chad Country Director Stefano
Porretti. 'With the rains only a matter of two or three months away, it
is absolutely imperative that we move food to the places where it will
be needed later this year. This process has already begun but is far
from complete.'"

"Under a revision of its current emergency operation, WFP will also be
assisting over 150,000 Chadian nationals as well as providing for the
possibility that an additional 150,000 people could cross the border
from Darfur if the conflict continues." (UN World Food Program
statement, April 12, 2005)

In other words, the total population in Chad in need of humanitarian
assistance could reach to 500,000: 200,000 current Darfuri refugees;
150,000 local Chadians who have been overwhelmed by the presence of such
a large refugee population in the impoverished border region; and
another 150,000 Darfuris who may flee to Chad because of ongoing
violence in Darfur, again of the sort witnessed in Khor Abeche. This
part of Chad is inaccessible from N'Djamena to the west during the rainy
season, and the alternative supply route (overland from Libya) cannot
possibly supply even the current refugee population. Extremely
expensive airlifting of food will be the only alternative, and there is
no such airlift capacity in the Darfur humanitarian theater. This is an
extremely vulnerable refugee population.


In addition to an acute food crisis, water supplies continue to dwindle
in Darfur even as problems in current water provisions for the camps are
revealed more conspicuously. Gallab camp for displaced persons in North
Darfur is only one of many examples that have recently been reported:

"In February [2005], an interagency assessment found that 14,000 IDPs
in the Gallab Internally Displace Persons camp in North Darfur were
sharing two hand-pumps with limited capacity to cover their water needs."
(US Agency for International Development "fact sheet" on Darfur, April
8, 2005)

Two hand-pumps for 14,000 people.

Like so many humanitarian issues in Darfur, many of the current
shortcomings in water supplies can be directly related to insecurity.
The US Agency for International Development "fact sheet" for April 1,
2005 reports:

"Insecurity [throughout Darfur] has reduced the number of accessible
water sources, at the same time that accessible water sources are
becoming more scarce from declining water tables, slow recharge rates,
and lack of maintenance for wells and pumps."

These humanitarian realities collectively have led recently to more
urgent warning from various INGOs (International Nongovernmental
Organizations) and UN organizations, although the urgency that should
have informed these warnings is belated in many quarters. Moreover,
continuing violence has quietly produced over the past couple of months
a net reduction in the presence of international aid organizations and
corresponding capacity on the ground (this decline is not reflected in
the UN Darfur Humanitarian Profiles, which provide much too superficial
and mechanical an account of humanitarian capacity). Some of this is
clearly a response to Khartoum's strategy of obstructionism and
intimidation, recently highlighted by Human Rights Watch:

"The Sudanese government has sought to intimidate humanitarian relief
agencies in Darfur by arbitrarily arresting or detaining at least 20 aid
workers since December, Human Rights Watch said today. In several
incidents, the rebel movements in Darfur have also detained or attacked
aid workers. Human Rights Watch called on all parties to the conflict in
Darfur to ensure the safety of humanitarian aid workers and facilitate
their access to Sudanese civilians in need of assistance. 'The Sudanese
authorities are using the same strong-arm tactics against Darfur aid
workers that they have used against human rights defenders,' said Peter
Takirambudde, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. 'Donor governments
should condemn Khartoum's attempts to intimidate aid workers and others
assisting civilians in Sudan.'"

"Few of the humanitarian organizations involved have publicized the
arrests and detentions due to fear of further reprisals by the Sudanese
government against their staff, activities and the displaced persons
they assist." (Human Rights Watch, "Darfur: Aid Workers Under Threat,"
April 5, 2005)

These ominous realities were highlighted in the most recent UN Darfur
Humanitarian Profile (March 1, 2005; Nos. 11/12) as well:

"Increasing levels of harassment, detentions, accusations through
national media outlets and others security incidents involving relief
workers are placing further strains on humanitarian operations. Though
responsible for the overwhelming majority of incidents, the Government
of Sudan is not the only party guilty of intimidating humanitarians and
denying Darfurians access to humanitarian assistance." [The insurgency
groups are here criticized.] (UN Darfur Humanitarian Profile Nos.11/12,
page 5)

Extremely serious and threatening security incidents also continue to
be reported with ominous frequency, and these are part of the reason
that there has been a net decline in humanitarian capacity on the part
of humanitarian INGO's. The most recent "fact sheet" from the US Agency
for International Development (which saw one of its workers shot and
nearly killed on the road between Nyala and Kass in a recent incident
clearly involving the Janjaweed) reports:

"According to the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team, on April 6
[2005], a two-vehicle non-governmental organization humanitarian convoy
was fired upon near Teige, approximately 7 kilometers west of Mershing,
South Darfur. The lead vehicle was hit three times and the second
vehicle was hit twice and received a flat tire. No one was injured."
(US Agency for International Development "fact sheet," April 8, 2005)

Such incidents, particularly if they again result in fatalities, could
easily trigger an additional exodus of humanitarian presence and

At the current annual meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission in
Geneva, a series of observations by Emmanuel Akwei Addo ("the
independent UN expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan") should
be noted carefully, particularly his comments that "aid workers were
pulling back due to deteriorating security," that "2,000 African Union
troops lacked power to deter crimes in the remote region of [Darfur],"
and in particular, that "aerial bombardment [by Khartoum] still goes on"
(Reuters, April 8, 2005):

"The Khartoum government, which had responsibility to protect all
citizens, had ignored repeated demands to disarm the militia who are
waging a ruthless campaign in near total impunity, according to Addo, a
justice from Ghana." (Reuters, April 8, 2005)

Addo's metaphor of a "time bomb" seems highly unfortunate ("the present
situation in Darfur is [ ] a time bomb, which could explode at any
moment"), given the realities of genocide by attrition in Darfur that
have so far claimed approximately 400,000 lives since February 2003 (see
"Darfur Mortality Update: March 11, 2005 at
But the metaphor at least serves to suggest how much greater human
destruction may become, precipitously, if the status quo prevails. For
despite the exorbitant human destruction and displacement that has
already occurred, a huge upsurge in mortality is increasingly likely in
the near term.

In light of these disturbing developments, the need for humanitarian
intervention only becomes more urgent. To be sure, international
determination to avoid honestly confronting this issue continues to
prevail---at the UN, in Washington, and in European capitals. But
neither dishonesty nor callous silence can change the massive
demographics of Darfur's catastrophe.


Recent UN comments from UNICEF offer an unusual and grimly welcome
acknowledgement of the larger demographic realities of the Darfur

"Some four million people in Sudan's strife-torn western region of
Darfur face deeper hardship over the next 18 months because local crops
have collapsed, the UN Children's Fund said Friday [April 8, 2005].
Crops had not been tended because of the violence in the region and the
situation was being aggravated by a worsening drought, according to
UNICEF spokesman Damien Personnaz. 'The next 18 months will be extremely
difficult at the humanitarian level,' he told journalists. 'About four
million people are threatened by food insecurity and one million under
five year-olds are suffering or will suffer from severe malnutrition,'
Personnaz added."

"One million under five year-olds are suffering or will suffer from
severe malnutrition" represents a statistic almost too horrific to

"The UNICEF official estimated that about two-thirds of the local
population were 'still out of reach of humanitarian networks.' 'We only
have access to two million people out of the six million that the region
had before the conflict,' he said." (Agence France-Presse, April 8,

These staggeringly large numbers occur in the context of unrelenting
violence by Khartoum and its militia proxies, exemplified in the
"savage," "premeditated" (the word choices of the UN and African
Union) attack on Khor Abeche. The agricultural economy of Darfur has
collapsed; food inflation threatens to produce huge increases in the
food-dependent population; and rural populations not only remain
vulnerable to attack but have lost much of their ability to forage
because of relentless Janjaweed predations. There are clearly
insufficient humanitarian resources; indeed, it must be emphasized
again, there has been a quietly declining humanitarian resource base,
even as the most perilous phase of the Darfur crisis approaches with the
impending seasonal rains.

For additional context we should consider the results of a March 2005
US Agency for International Development DART (Disaster Assistance
Response Team) assessment, conducted in a rural area in North Darfur
that is beyond humanitarian reach. Despite its despite locality, the
assessment suggests a good deal about the conditions defining life for a
huge percentage of this "two-thirds of [Darfur's population] still out
of reach of humanitarian networks" (UNICEF description):

"The [US Agency for International Development] assessment concluded
that traditional coping mechanisms are being depleted for both
internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities as a result of
ongoing conflict. In addition, conflict has eroded much of the
population's livelihoods through the looting of animals, inaccessibility
of migratory routes for pasture and water, and distance from markets for
the sale of livestock and purchase of grains/cereals." (US AID "fact
sheet," April 1, 2005)

These enormously destructive economic realities, as well as the
continuing threat of spiraling food inflation, prevail throughout Darfur
and will do so for the foreseeable future.


As Khartoum continues with its tightening clamp-down on news reporting
in Darfur, as journalists encounter more and more difficulties in
securing visas, travel permits, and the means of moving through Darfur,
there is a danger that the crisis will become excessively
"statistical"---not so much invisible as lacking the kind of
visibility that must compel even the most obtuse moral instincts. It
will not be the first time that abstraction has made the intolerable
somehow too wearying for energetic response, or that sheer size and
scale have made the unspeakable the occasion for callous silence.

In a harrowing op/ed yesterday in the International Herald Tribune, Lt.
General Romeo Dallaire, UN force commander in Rwanda during the 1994
genocide, reflects on the reasons for international failure in
situations such as Darfur:

"Above all, there is a tendency to be too abstract both in identifying
causes and in assigning blame for the total lack of a serious
international response. [ ]

"If there is any useful lesson that can be drawn from the events of
April 1994, it is surely one about just how personal genocide is: for
those who are killed, of course, but also for those who kill, and for
those, however far away, who just do nothing. Our governments are no
better than we are. The United Nations is no better than its
governments." (International Herald Tribune, April 11, 2005)

"Our governments are no better than we are. The United Nations is no
better than its governments." As the international community continues
in its refusal to stop genocide in Darfur, there could be no more
damning indictment of us all.

Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

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