I think Mahmood Mamdani’s essay in the LRB is well worth a read. I say “I think”, because I don’t really know a great deal about the history and politics of Sudan, or what’s likely to make things better or worse in Darfur in the near future. But it seemed interesting to me, in a gloomy kind of a way.

0 thoughts on “Darfur”

  1. A nice attempt to deconstruct the Darfur campaign but I doubt the real cause is anti-Arab feeling. It certainly isn’t anything to do with anti-Islamic feeling as both sides are Muslims. Part of the reason Darfur has become something of a rallying point in the States is because the Sudanese regime (who certainly style themselves as ‘Arabs’ whatever the UN might define them as) has previous:

    1. A war against the African tribal societies in the south many of whom were Christian, which resonates with Christians on the left and right in the US.
    2. Slavery associated with the above conflict. (You can guess who were the slaves and who were the slave owners)
    3. Al Qaeda camps in the late 1990s (bombed by Clinton). Again a sensitive point as Al Qaeda is again active in the Horn of Africa. In fact, it is this point that is most likely to lead to the US actually doing something although one assumes their appetite for intevention is less enthusiastic than was once the case. This is also a direct link with the ‘War on Terror’ contrary to the author’s belief.

    So the upshot is that it might just be that the official, or ‘Arab’, regime is just as awful as the Darfur campaigners in the US make out although it is true that the other side might not be innocent as is currently assumed. They didn’t just happen across this issue post-9/11, post-Iraq but a significant amount of campaigning had gone on on the issue of the civil war in the south and associated human rights abuses, which included slave trading.

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