Divestment from Darfur

Senator David Shafer is taking a the very noble step of offering up legislation to ensure the State of Georgia divests itself of dealings with companies complicit in the genocide* mass murder going on in Darfur.

Darfur is one of those international tragedies that doesn’t get on any radar screen. President Bush, the media reported, intended to send troops to Darfur four years ago, but was talked out of it by Colin Powell. Something needs to happen, though. Small steps like this could go a long way.

*While multiple human rights and relief organizations have labeled Darfur a genocide, given the hundreds of thousands of people being murdered and intentionally starved to death, History’s Greatest Monster has pontificated that it is not a “genocide” because to call it one would entail international obligations. For the record, this is what is going on in Darfur:

The nature of the attacks on African villages in Darfur–as reported by numerous human rights groups–makes clear Khartoum’s genocidal intent. Janjaweed assaults, typically conducted in concert with Khartoum’s regular military forces (including helicopter gunships and Antonov bombers), have been comprehensively destructive of both human life and livelihood: men and boys killed en masse, women and girls raped or abducted, and all means of agricultural production destroyed. Thriving villages have had buildings burned, water sources poisoned, irrigation systems torn up, food and seed stocks destroyed, and fruit trees cut down. Cattle have been looted on a massive scale, and most of those not looted have died from lack of water and food, as people flee into the inhospitable wastes of this arid region.

According to Article 2 of the 1948 U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide–to which the U.S. and all current members of the U.N. Security Council are party–genocide encompasses not only the deliberate killing of members of a “national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such,” but also “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” What we have seen in Darfur is precisely this latter offense.

As a result, agricultural production has largely come to a halt in Darfur, and the United Nations estimates that in the very near future 3.5 million people will be in urgent need of food assistance (the total population of Darfur is approximately 6.5 million). Moreover, there is no sign that the current planting season will yield a significant fall harvest. Huge civilian populations–well over 2 million people–will be dependent on food aid for the foreseeable future. Many of these people will die in what has become a genocide by attrition.

14 comments

  1. rugby fan says:

    Nice job comparing Carter to Hitler, because you know, its an easy thing to do, and apt.

    That is the definition of genocide. If a state labels activities as genocide, then that state must act to end it. What is happening in Darfur is genocide, but that doesn’t make it “genocide”, which is why “acts of genocide” does not mean genocide is occurring.

    Last I checked, Jimmy Carter was no longer speaking for any state, so it makes no difference what he calls what is happening in Darfur or Palestine.

  2. Bill Simon says:

    “What is happening in Darfur is genocide, but that doesn’t make it “genocide”, which is why “acts of genocide” does not mean genocide is occurring.”

    HUH?

  3. megan says:

    Actually, Carter called what’s happening to the Palestinians “apartheid,” which, last I checked, was not entirely inaccurate – “any system or practice that separates people according to race, caste, etc.” (from Random House Unabridged Dictionary).

    And although I have to (sadly) agree that he got it wrong on Darfur, really, Carter is history’s greatest monster? We can’t think of anyone, in all of history, who might be more monstrous? Now who’s using hyperbole?

  4. Derrick says:

    I shouldn’t compare Carter to a Nazi. All they have in common is a deep, murderous hatred of Jews.

    And what’s a “Palestine”? Do you modern-day Jordan or a mythical place like Narnia?

    BTW, “History’s Greatest Monster” is a reference from a Simpsons episode. Pretty funny.

  5. Bill Simon says:

    Wonder how Carter would term what’s going on in Egypt right now with the Egyptians refusal to let those Palestinians venture TOO far into their country?

  6. souldrift says:

    Derrick, so, do you just want us to go on letting Israel do whatever and bomb whomever it wants, with no consequence except unquestioning support from the U.S. and a practically unlimited supply of our tax dollars?

    That makes one of us.

  7. UGAkid says:

    The administration failed by not having done anything for these poor Sudanese people a long time ago. It is time for Plan B, that President Bush promised but never followed through with. So thank you Sen. Shafer for doing something the president won’t, take a stand against real injustice.

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