July 01, 2004


Yesterday, June 30th, was my 3rd wedding anniversary, so I want to wish my wife a happy one, even though she abandoned me for Boston this week.

Also thought that I'd share the present I got her. I donated $250 to OxFam earmarked for their Sudan Crisis Relief Fund which is helping the people of Darfur, over a million of whom are now refugees, driven from their homes.

With all of the other terrible things going on in the world, it's easy to overlook Sudan – but it looks like it could turn into another Rwanda. Although Colin Powell's recent visit brought some attention to the crisis, both the US and the UN have been hesitant to label it a genocide, since that would require action on the part of all signatories to the Genocide Convention.

For those not familiar with what's going on, Arab militias, the janjaweed, are raiding villages in Darfur in western Sudan. The Sudanese government has a long history of using Arab and Muslim militants (including al Qaeda) to fight it's proxy wars and suppress rebellions. Reports are the the Sudanese government bombs villages and the janjaweed quickly follows up with a coordinated ground attack.

Whole villages are being razed and wells poisoned with the corpses of the victims. Salt is figuratively being sowed into the ground. In addition, the lighter skinned raiders are killing all adult men and raping and branding the women of the Zaghawa, Masalit, and Fur tribes, who are dark-skinned. Reports tell of rapes "justified" because the woman is too dark, and she needs to make a "lighter baby".

To make matters worse, it's about to start to rain in the area, and it is feared that thousands could die of malaria in the refugee camps.

Anyway, read this editorial from the WSJ by Senators John McCain and Mike DeWine (cashed at Sudan: The Passion of the Present). This Washington Post article gives more background on the delay in helping. And Nicholas Kristof gives his impassioned opionion at the NY Times.

Give something to help out if you can. Encourage the US administration to be tough (which thankfully they seem to be starting to do). And at the very least, be aware of what's going on.

Update: Winds of Change has a round up of articles and ways to help out.

Posted by richard at July 1, 2004 11:59 PM