Broken promises

Nov. 18, 2005, midnight | By Bridget Egan | 18 years, 5 months ago

Humanitarian relief is essential to Sudan's survival

Sudan is a topic of controversy and horror - a country packed with more death and terror than a thousand scary movies. Why then do United Nations officials seem more scared by the concept of entering the country than the actual crimes being committed?

Currently in Sudan the Arab militia, Janjaweed, are murdering and raping black Africans in the country's Western region, Darfur. Traditionally the Arabs tribes in Sudan are pastoralists, while the non-Arab tribes are farmers. This ethnic division between the tribes added stress to the already tense situation. What makes these murders and rapes even more atrocious is that the Sudanese government is not only supplying the Janjaweed with the resources to exterminate the population, but is the master puppeteer in organizing the killings. While the events in Sudan may seem unprecedented, they are not.

In the African nation of Rwanda during 1994, the Hutu majority systematically slaughtered 800,000 of the Tutsi minority. While this was occurring, the Western world looked away, despite obvious knowledge of the atrocities. After one hundred days of murder, the Rwandan Patriotic Front regained control of Rwanda, ending the genocide. Unfortunately, this is similar to what is occurring in Sudan.

While most people learn from their mistakes, the UN does not. In Rwanda, instead of sending additional troops, the UN removed the much needed troops from the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR), leaving Rwandans to die like livestock in a slaughterhouse. The UN is notorious for their poor handling of the Rwandan genocide and it seems that they are doomed to repeat their mistakes.

The UN has two choices to help regain control in Sudan. One choice will rely heavily on China which buys much of Sudan's oil. The money that the Sudanese government receives from China contributes largely to the fund that is spent on the weapons, which are used in the killings. If the UN could convince China to stop buying oil from Sudan, the funds used to pay for the genocide would be significantly diminished and the Sudanese government would no longer be able to afford funding the murders. Unfortunately, China has no incentive to stop purchasing oil from Sudan.

Option two, is that the UN should create a coalition among the Muslim nations in the Middle East. This coalition would appeal to the Sudanese government's sense of honor and charity, asking the government to stop the slaughter because they are staining the Muslim reputation. As an incentive for the Sudanese government to stop, these Muslim nations that trade with Sudan could threaten to stop all trade if the murders do not cease.

Unfortunately, sending any troops into Sudan in its current state will not be an option until the Janjaweed stop receiving funds. Once fund are cut off and the Janjaweed grow weak, the UN, NATO or any nation would be able to completely disarm the Janjaweed and Sudan could begin rebuilding.

Though the UN has yet to take the necessary steps to stop the genocide in Sudan, other nations are sending aid. Rwanda's president Paul Kagame once promised that he would send aid to any nation which suffered from genocide. Though his country is still rebuilding, Rwanda still managed to contribute to the small amount of ingoing aid in Sudan.

For those who witnessed the Rwandan genocide it is hard to sit back and watch as people die everyday. Romeo Dallaire, the Force Commander in UNAMIR and author of "Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda," believes that with the proper aid and dedicated soldiers, regaining control of Sudan is possible. The world will never known if nobody tries.

Another issue is whether to formally call the situation in Sudan a genocide. If the UN calls the murder in Sudan a genocide, then they are obligated by law to send relief. According to the 1948 UN Genocide Convention, a genocide means murder "with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial or religious group." Many are enraged that the UN has failed to formally call the situation in Sudan a genocide because, in their opinion, the UN definition of genocide clearly encompasses what is occurring in Darfur.

Cambodians, Armenians, Jews, Bosnians, East Timorese and Pakistanis: the list of genocide victims grows longer every second that the UN fails to act. While some nations do not have the resources to help bring an end to the genocide, other international organizations, including the UN, have the responsibility and obligation to help those in need on the behalf of mankind.

Mahatma Gandhi once said that "you must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." As the situation in Sudan grows worse it becomes increasingly harder to maintain any faith in humanity as the world hears about the slaughter occurring but nobody does nothing to stop it. The UN and other powers must act immediately to stop the systematic murder in Sudan before people everywhere lose all faith in humanity and the ocean is dirtied by the horrors of mankind.

Bridget Egan. Bridget Egan is a Communications Art student (graduating in 2007) who loves "CSI" and The Who. When she isn't doing anything related to school work, she is drawing abstract art, reading comic books and normal books and learning to play the bagpipes. Bridget also has … More »

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