10 June 2005

What ever happened in Darfur?

The Onion asks exactly that in a recent editorial: Well, I Guess That Genocide In Sudan Must've Worked Itself Out On Its Own

Some of my friends continue to work to end the Darfur genocide, although I, sadly, have not been actively supporting them, since, as The Onion points out, there is not political momentum. They continue to call for Stanford to divest from Sudan — this is part of a larger program for investment disclosure, since currently the hedge fund that manages the Stanford endowment does not release any information about where the money is invested — and they have organized phone campaigns to call Representatives in Congress and lobby for the Darfur Genocide Accountability Act (H.R. 1424). But this bill seems to be getting nowhere, and it's hard to call for more troop deployment (which Samantha Power, in the amazing America and the Age of Genocide, argues is really the only effective means to stop such violence) given the current military overextension. Jared Diamond in Collapse suggests that genocide is a symptom of poverty, itself brought on by environmental mismanagement. Is divestment the right thing? Are sanctions really effective? I don't know. I hope so, but I have my doubts.

What we really need is massive humanitarian relief for refugees. That can't be more expensive than waging war, can it? Imagine if we could draft people into the Peace Corps. But the powers that be would prefer to kill people and run a sexist military machine, only contributing to problems of rape, homophobia, death, poverty, and violence.

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