SUDAN WATCH: Blood Money - Financing Mass Murder

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Blood Money - Financing Mass Murder

The following is an excerpt from New York writer John Fitzgerald's "Blood Money" post. John raises the hugely important issue of business ethics and says he doesn't see how one need support genocide while supporting capitalism. Readers should look for his follow-up post on the Sudan story at his Secession blog later next week.

"...Several major corporations currently traded on the New York Stock Exchange have been handsomely financing the Sudanese government in return for petroleum. The report, based on extensive ongoing research by Eric Reeves, a professor at Smith College, shows that over the last six years Sudan has used its massive wealth derived from petroleum sales for a similarly massive military build-up. “A measure of the profligacy of Khartoum’s military purchases,” Reeves explains, “can be seen in the recent completion of a deal with Russia for 10 MiG-29s – one of the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world.

Despite a declaration from the United States that genocide is being perpetrated by the arab Sudanese government against black Africans, western corporations continue to have lucrative contracts with Khartoum. For instance, Siemens AG, a German corporation that already has a storied history from the Nazi era, is “presently building outside Khartoum the world’s largest diesel-powered electrical generating plant.”

It is this presence “that does so much to sustain the National Islamic Front and convince the regime that ultimately petrodollars speak louder than the cries of death and suffering in Darfur.”
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Financing Mass Murder

Here, courtesy John Fitzgerald's Secession blog, is an excerpt from Nat Hentoff's October 8, 2004 post Financing Mass Murder - How free-market investors contribute to genocide in Darfur while they take the profits.

"In next week's column, details of Eric Reeves's plan: "A successful divestment campaign against these companies, and their ethically myopic investments, would bring real, unsustainable economic pressure to bear on Khartoum . . .

"Its single goal would be to force a commitment by such companies to suspend all commercial activities pending the end of genocidal destruction in Darfur and completion of a final peace agreement with the people of the south." (Emphasis added.)

And there will be ways in which many of you, individually, can become part of this divestment campaign. Says Reeves: "The time has come for ordinary citizens to make it impossible for this intransigently genocidal regime to enjoy the economic benefits of European and Asian commercial and economic support. Divestment from the equity (shares) of the most culpably guilty of these transnational companies is a moral imperative." More to come, specifically on those American institutions that profit by investing in the monstrous government in Sudan."

Note quotation: Sudan's oil reserves yield two billion dollars in annual revenue . . . —Samantha Power The New Yorker, August 30, 2004
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Malaysian boy does his bit for Darfur kids - why can't the Chinese government help too?

Eleven-year-old Prithiv Raja Ratnam found an unused shoebox and covered it with pictures of affected children in Darfur.  Labelling it a “donation box,” he went from class to class and told his schoolmates to chip in to help alleviate the children’s sufferings.  His efforts netted RM547.87 for the Darfur Children's Fund. 

According to his mother, pictures of the children published in Malaysia's The Star newspaper moved the boy and he asked her if he could do anything about it.  “I told him to discuss it with his principal - after he did, he spent the next three days going from class to class urging his schoolmates to donate to the fund,” she said. 

The Star is joining hands with the Malaysia Medical Relief Society (Mercy Malaysia) to raise funds for a humanitarian aid programme in West Darfur. 

The contribution from Prithiv's school was among the donations received for the fund at a ceremony in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.  Krista Education, a Malaysian educational organisation that runs kindergartens also made donations. Its fund-raising involved some 80 kindergartens, which collected RM2,000 over three weeks. The donations were received by Mercy Malaysia.


Krista's CEO said: “We have to educate our children to look after the less fortunate and that habit should be cultivated early.”

Countries that have not contributed to the U.N.'s appeal for funds to feed the starving should take note. Children around the world and in Africa are the future caretakers of this planet. Education is key. The children of Darfur need our help. Now.

PS Jim, I totally agree with Jay's comments in response to your proposal to bomb Sudan post. The people of Darfur, facing disease and starvation. 85% of the deaths in the camps from disease and starvation. They are desperately in need of long term supplies of food, water, latrines and medicine -- not bombs. Why they are not getting enough food?

What can we can do to help get food and aid to those most in need? And what will become of the refugees over the next 1 - 2 years if the 191 member states of the U.N. can't even come up with the $150m the U.N. have been appealing for over past six months?

The media needs to shame countries into helping BIG TIME: China, India, Pakistan, Russia and the Arab countries to name a few. I wish the media would pick up on the issue of business ethics and start investigating and shaming the oil operations sitting in the vicinity of Darfur - especially the ones beloning to the Chinese Government. They are the ones funding Khartoum.


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