SUDAN WATCH: Humanitarian Hijinks aka Sleepless in Sudan aka Catherine Jameson: Careless talk costs lives

Friday, May 12, 2006

Humanitarian Hijinks aka Sleepless in Sudan aka Catherine Jameson: Careless talk costs lives

Today, Coalition for Darfur points out a piece entitled President Deserves our Thanks by American journalist Nick Clooney, father of Hollywood movie star George Clooney.

Nick and George Clooney have a strong reputation for being Bush haters and anti-war in Iraq. Recently, both of them courted a lot of media attention calling for the Bush administration to stop "genocide" in Darfur even though the findings of the UN's International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur concluded the Sudanese government was NOT pursuing a policy of genocide in Darfur.

Why do so many people who follow news on the Sudan, claim to care about the wellbeing of people and push so hard for military intervention in Darfur? Invading the Sudan without a UN resolution would mean international personnel being dismissed from the country. How would aid be delivered to the 3.5 million people in need? War on the Sudan would be a bloodbath and defeat the object. I cannot understand why activists and writers like Nicholas Kristof, Eric Reeves and Samantha Power et al can't see this (and if they do, why they don't enlighten their readers).

The amount of propaganda in the media is far greater than I ever imagined before starting this blog. I nearly blew a gasket when I saw that Nick Clooney's piece had been published by The Cincinnati Post, readers of which, no doubt, take the piece as fact and not the opinion of one person. He singled out the US for praise on helping Darfur - that the US has given more than any other nation (why shouldn't it? it's the biggest - you can fit the United Kingdom into the State of Texas) - and had the audacity to write, quote:
"European response has been shockingly weak, especially given the longtime connections of France and Great Britain in the region."
[Please get your facts straight Mr Clooney and do your homework before making such ignorant statements]

Talking about propaganda, here is a copy of my response today to a piece at the Guardian's 'Comment is free' entitled Peace at last? authored by someone going by the name of Catherine Jameson aka Humanitarian Hijinks blog aka Sleepless in Sudan blog who also claims to care about the plight of the people of Darfur. I found it at Coalition for Darfur.

Note, Coventrian is the name of a person who posted a comment at the piece.

[Coventrian: I see. You want peace but oppose the peace treaty and want to send in the same troops that brought 'peace' to Iraq? I think you have a completely different agenda.]

Most insightful, Coventrian. Well said. Thank you.

Having followed the blog "Humanitarian Hijinks" (renamed "Sleepless in Sudan") from the start, my view is the author of the above piece seems to be either an irresponsible naive egotist looking to make a name as a writer or a propagandist onside with the Darfur rebels aiming to overthrow regime in Khartoum.

The Sudan is the size of Europe. Military intervention (an act of war) would bring out all the jihadists and set alight the tinder box of Africa, making Iraq look like a picinic.

African Union troops in Darfur do not have the mandate of a protection force. They are in Darfur - with Khartoum's permission - without firepower to monitor a ceasefire agreement while warring parties negotiate a peace agreement, afterwhich troops with a peacekeeping mandate can be deployed with firepower and equipment. Khartoum imposes a lot of restrictions on the AU troops, including night time curfews.

An agreed peace deal is the only way to work towards a political settlement and receive persmission from Khartoum to allow troops with peacekeeping mandate into Darfur.

The Darfur Peace Agreement signed on May 5, 2006 certainly does offer hope as it represents the start of the road to peace albeit, in all probability, a long one.

The men and women of the African Union Mission in Darfur have conducted themselves with great professionalism and diplomacy, representing the fledgling African Union well on its first mission and serving as good ambassadors of their home countries. See one small example how AU police officers build trust (for more reports on AMIS type in keywords "African Union" or "AU" into search box at top of Sudan Watch front page

Note, the Darfur rebels (who have bases outside of the Sudan and in Europe) are anti the African Union mediators and troops and use the media to denigrate and belittle the AU. The rebels want the international community (read money) and UN troops onside. The situation in Sudan is hugely complex. A lot is at stake. Propaganda is rife.

Before anyone here writes another word about Darfur or the Sudan, please read a most insightful piece entitled "Careless talk costs lives" by Daniel Davies (and the comments, in which Daniel so rightly says: 'People who now want to "speak out in defence of their fellow human beings" in Darfur are today just stroking their moral consciences in public, with probably quite serious consequences.')
"Careless talk costs lives"

Also by Daniel Davies:
"Sudan Watch: a plug"
This website ought to be compulsory reading for anyone planning to comment on the unfolding tragedy in Darfur. I don't think it's exaggerating to say that if there had been a website as good as Sudan Watch in the runup to the Iraq War, a lot of things might have become common knowledge a lot earlier which have in fact only really come out since the war.

Daniel Davies

Photo: Daniel Davies is an analyst and stockbroker working in London. He started his career working in the Bank of England and has been a stockbroker for ten years. He is a member of the Crooked Timber group blog and sporadically maintains and a small number of other projects.


Blogger Owen said...

The version of "Sleepless in Sudan" you were reading obviously wasn't the same as the one I read. I don't see the point of commending the Coventrian comment when it came from somone who seemed to be shooting from the hip. I'm not clear what the agenda is here.

Monday, May 15, 2006  

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