Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 6 August 2004

Genocide in Sudan can wait no longer


By The New York Daily News

August 05, 2004 — One of the great criticisms of the Bush administration is that it brought down international coals of fire on the U.S. because of its go-it-alone foreign policy. But now we are at a moment when unilateralism would have a humanitarian meaning that could only be disputed by fools and cowards.
Sudan is the issue. Genocide is going on there. Congress thinks so. The Economist has a cover reading, "Sudan Can’t Wait." The world’s humanitarian groups are appalled by the Sudanese government’s complicity in the murder and rape of black Africans by Arabs.

But then there is the UN Security Council, which will not drop the hammer on Sudan. It prefers lightly threatening the Sudanese government, like a toy designer painting a rubber knife silver to make it look like the real thing. The problem is that it still doesn’t look like a real knife, and even if it is mistaken for one, nobody is going to be cut.

The Bush administration is also punking out. It is going along with the cowardice and immorality of the world at large because those advising it fail to understand that this is the time to take chances. Had President Bush gone into Sudan with the Army’s new OTW (Operations Other Than War) unit last month, the world would have been caught off guard - and the Democratic convention would have been overshadowed.

There would, of course, be those screaming about infringing on Sudan’s sovereignty. They would make it a matter of pride and unity for Muslims to stand behind that racist regime. That would be to the good, because it might push Muslims into reconsidering the shortcomings of Islamic tradition.

This discussion is happening now on the most serious Muslim Web sites, like altmuslim.com, which recently featured an article by Naeem Mohaiemen, "The Muslim World’s Shame." Mohaiemen wrote: "The Muslim world is sliding backward into medievalism, and it is time for reformers to speak openly and bravely. There is a cancer that is eating away at our soul - a disease marked by paranoia, double standards and virulent racism."

Mohaiemen also reminded his fellow Muslims that they loudly protested the genocide in Bosnia but remain silent now on the genocide in Sudan.

With 1,000 people dying a day and Sudan’s leaders rejecting demands from the UN to take action within 30 days, the gloom darkens. Sudan wants 90 days. After all, what are 60,000 lives?

Only numbers - unless the U.S. decides to recognize those numbers as human beings whose need for protection from slaughter cannot be denied.

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