The new book Fighting for Darfur: Public Action and the Struggle to Stop Genocide is a wonderfully clear, thoughtful history of the Darfur advocacy movement and its effect on policy. Rebecca Hamilton stopped by The World‘s studios last Friday and spoke with Marco Werman. The shorter radio interview is here, and the longer version that ran on the history podcast is here.
Posted in Darfur, Genocide, How We Got Here, human rights, International Criminal Court, Sudan, U.S. policy, United Nations, War Crimes
Tagged Fighting for Darfur, Jeb Sharp, Marco Werman, Rebecca Hamilton, Sudan
I hosted PRI’s The World again on Friday August 28th. It gave me the opportunity to interview human rights lawyer Rebecca Hamilton about her recent month-long research trip to Sudan, which included a trip to Darfur. She’s immersed in a really interesting book project on the Darfur advocacy movement and was able to win rare access to a wide range of actors inside Sudan. Here’s the link to the audio of our interview:
Posted in Africa, Darfur, human rights, International Criminal Court, radio, Sudan, U.S. policy
Tagged Darfur, General Martin Agwai, ICC, International Criminal Court, Jeb Sharp, Omar al Bashir, Open Society Institute, PRI's The World, Rebecca Hamilton. Bec Hamilton, Sudan, UNAMID
Here’s a WP report on the Obama Administration’s efforts to focus attention on salvaging the North-South Peace Process–it ends with this tidbit on US policy:
The Obama administration is finishing a lengthy policy review on Sudan that has been marked by disagreements over how many “carrots” it should offer to Bashir, who has been charged by the International Criminal Court with war crimes in Darfur. There also appears to be a rift in the administration over whether to characterize the violence in Darfur as an “ongoing genocide.”
Meanwhile Alex de Waal is blogging about the African Union Panel on Darfur and its work exploring the roots of the conflict in Darfur.
Eric Reeves in The Guardian (on-line)
The historical narrative of the Darfur genocide is presently being re-written. Despite dozens of human rights reports that have established the basic realities of ethnically-targeted human destruction in Darfur and Eastern Chad over the past seven years, an effort is being made to minimise the scale of that destruction, elide the role of ethnicity in the conflict and downplay the responsibility of the Khartoum regime.
Read the rest here.
Anyone interested in the history of the Darfur advocacy movement and the dilemmas it has faced in trying to respond to mass atrocities in Sudan since 2003 should know about Bec Hamilton’s website and book project. She has embarked on an admirably open model of research which includes inviting people to pose questions to some of the folks she’s interviewing and then podcasting the audio when it’s available. She’s also doing the work journalists should have done long ago of putting in Freedom of Information Act requests to dig up the paper trail that helps explain how U.S. Darfur policy has been formulated since 2003. But mostly I’m just really interested in the question she poses about the distance between what the movement promised and what has in fact happened and what it all means:
On Darfur, one question that I needed to find an answer to was how to account for the mismatch between the efforts of a sustained and unprecedented citizen advocacy movement, and the situation on the ground in Darfur today. Only by taking the time to go ‘behind the scenes’ of policy formulation on Darfur, is it possible to tease out the channels through which policy has actually been made, and the ways in which citizen advocacy has and has not had an influence.
There’s been much finger-pointing among Darfur advocates about the best ways to help bring about an end to the conflict and provide justice and compensation for its victims; hopefully this treatment will help shed some light on the best way forward. Read Bec’s latest letter to her supporters here.
That’s the title of a new Physicians for Human Rights study of the impact of rape and sexual violence on Darfuri women refugees living in camps in Chad. Here’s the link to the radio story I filed today after speaking with two of the doctors on the research team:
Here’s the link to the full PHR report:
The lack of basic security in these women’s lives is shocking.
Apologies for not posting much here, too busy travelling and podcasting! HWGH#7 is an interview with Ali B. Ali-Dinar of the African Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania about Sudan’s now-indicted President Omar al-Bashir. I’m so struck in all the coverage of Darfur and Sudan how little we’ve learned about Bashir himself and the party he represents and what it has meant for Sudan these past two decades. Here’s my attempt to begin filling in the blanks. Listen on iTunes or via RSS feed or here.
Meanwhile I’m working on a radio piece about the lessons of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Stay tuned.
The news has been dribbling out in strange ways but now there’s a date set for the announcement. Judges at the International Criminal Court are expected to issue a warrant for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for alleged war crimes in Darfur. Here’s the latest NYT update by Marlise Simons.
Really interesting article by Sheri Fink of ProPublica on criticisms of the U.S.-funded Radia Afia Darfur. One issue concerns the language used in the broadcast. Here’s an excerpt from Sheri’s article:
Radio Afia’s first broadcast was on Sept. 29, 2008. The news was and continues to be delivered in standard Arabic, which differs significantly from the local version of Arabic spoken in Darfur, according to James Dickins, a professor of Arabic at the University of Salford, England, who specializes in Sudanese dialects.
“You’re talking about really different languages,” he told ProPublica. “Standard Arabic isn’t understandable really if you’re not educated, and since most people [there] are not educated, they can’t understand.”
Three Darfur-born employees of Radio Afia tried to impress on their employers that standard Arabic was not only incomprehensible to the program’s intended audience, it was also offensive because it was associated with the people who were killing them.
The “language issue is very sensitive,” they wrote  (PDF) in a draft of an October 2008 letter to the president of the network that produces the program. “The majority of Darfuris in the IDP camps — the victims — suspect any broadcasting in the language or accent of the central Government or the Janjaweed tribes.”
Read the entire thing here.