|Responsibility to Protect|
|Written by Connor Gramazio|
|Tuesday, March 17, 2009 12:20 AM|
Typically the word genocide conjures up pictures of emaciated victims of Nazi concentration camps and vivid videos of the ovens where so many lost their lives. With the end of the war, the cry of “never again” echoed around the world, accompanying hope that humanity would never permit such horrors to exist again. More recently, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty released “The Responsibility to Protect” in 2001, a report declaring that nations have an ethical obligation to intervene and stop genocide around the world. But this has not been the case. Since the Holocaust, genocides have continued to prevail around the world. From Cambodia to Rwanda to Bosnia, the rally cry “never again” has proven to be an empty call.
The ongoing situation in the Sudan provides an opportunity to finally reverse one of the most horrific things humankind can do to itself. Although the Civil War in Sudan has been intermittent since the 1980s, the especially volatile conflict in the Darfur region has attracted incredible international appeals to end what many consider an ongoing genocide.
So far the international response to the matter has consisted mostly of humanitarian aid with African Union and United Nations troops mixed in sparingly. We have effectively been throwing rice in the face of genocide in hopes that somehow the tiny grains will stop the cogs of systematic and aimed murder. This is not a practical solution.
Time and time again, the nation’s capital, Khartoum, has promoted non-aggression pacts, promises of peace, and investigations. Ultimately, however, these have all failed. In fact, if Khartoum has promised one thing it is that it constantly lies in all of its negotiations on the conflict.
Current international approaches to the genocide have been tantamount to natural disaster relief: a belief that food, shelter, and distribution management will be enough to put a band-aid over the wound and that things will correct themselves. However, there is a large difference between Darfur and natural disasters. While a storm moves on, the Janjaweed, the murderers of countless thousands, do not.
Peace is preferable to violence, but one cannot just talk loudly. The world community must now reach for the stick and show that the Darfur genocide will be stopped. However, using “the stick” is not synonymous to war, just an indication that soft diplomacy will no longer work. Although we have tried to deter the Janjaweed and the Khartoum government, it is obvious that our threats are not credible. With the addition of military protection of the refugee camps located on the Sudan/Chad border, there is the possibility of creating stable environments in which the 2.5 million displaced Darfuris can finally mourn the 400,000 dead, the innumerable raped women can seek assistance, and perhaps even a de-escalation of Janjaweed aggressiveness can occur. However, most importantly, a credible and long lasting ceasefire would provide the possibility of resettlement.
The Janjaweed strategy is to carpet bomb entire villages, move in on foot, kill all the men, rape the women, burn the huts that still stand, and then drive the few survivors away from their homes and into the desert. The United States of America and the world, must fulfill its Responsibility to Protect the people of Darfur.