Thursday, September 09, 2004

Darfur: Powell Says It's Genocide 

Reporting today to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the results of current U.S. fact-finding in Darfur, Secretary Of State Powell finally uses the "g" word. This comes at the beginning of scheduled debate at the UN on whether to use sanctions against the government in Khartoum; the Bush administration's willingness to use that word should be an indication to all involved that Khartoum's policy of successive false concessions with no other purpose than delay, delay, delay is no longer viable.

I know that all of our attention is rightly focused on the presidential campaign, but it makes me feel better to be able to applaud Colin Powell and even the Bush administration for something. Don't worry, I'm not suggesting that the responsibility for the lethal partisanship that disfigures our political discourse resides anywhere else but at the doorstep of the current American right wing and the Republican party which it dominates.

You can find the BBC on Powell here, and and a photojournal of a first-person account by an actual refugee here; in fact, the BBC has a lot of that kind of thing about Darfur.

I know there's a tendency not to want to know specifics, but I've talked to too many refugees forced from their homes, their very lives, by the deliberate use of terror and violence and I know too well the real if inadequate comfort they find in the thought that the world outside will one day know what has and is happening to them, and that the world will care, not to look at the photographs, or not to read the personal accounts that help restore to the sufferers a fuller human identity than is contained in the word, "victim."

Don't forget the blog, "Sudan, The Passion Of The Present," the place to look for the most up-to-date reporting and analysis of this gathering tragedy. Of particular interest, getting back to politics, is this posted editorial by Fred Hyatt of the Wa Po discussing why the what's to be done about a situation like Darfur and the Sudan hasn't become a subject of debate, or at least discussion in the presidential campaign.

The strongest link between this exotic distant tragedy and our obssession with our own national politics is in the performance of the press, which Jeanne at Body & Soul lays out in this wonderful don't-miss essay that examines different kinds of press silences from Darfur, to the Beslan tragedy in Russia, to Iraq and here. And take a look at her not unrelated brilliant comparison of "Putin And Bush" and their war on terror.

When you've finished with all of the above, then and only then can you collect your postive reinforcement for such studious diligence by paying a visit to Fafblog, where you will find the Medium Lobster quite upset with the quibbling of Will Saletin and Paul Krugman about the greatness of George Bush, as well as Fafner's harrowing account of being taken for a terrorist by Tom Ridge himself.

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