Category Archives: Sudan

Libya and Darfur

I started doing international news in 1998 and one of the first stories I covered was Kosovo.  Five years later, as I watched the news of atrocities unfolding in Darfur, I naively thought that the international community would act swiftly to stop atrocities in Darfur.  But of course it didn’t,  and in December 2004, I wrote a radio story exploring all the reasons Darfur was not like Kosovo.  Now I am again stunned, but by an opposite situation: the speed with which the Obama Administration, European allies, the Arab League, the UN Security Council came together to act on Libya. So today, (acknowledging none of these analogies really works because each case is so so specific and different), I am exploring the reasons why Libya is not like Darfur. Here’s the story.

http://www.theworld.org/2011/04/libya-intervention-darfur-sudan/

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Fighting for Darfur by Rebecca Hamilton

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.

Southern Sudanese expats and the referendum

War over in Darfur?

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:

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Working for peace in Sudan

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.

History and 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.

Darfur Advocacy

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.