SUDAN WATCH: PostGlobal, The Washington Post's forum, debates Darfur

Friday, September 22, 2006

PostGlobal, The Washington Post's forum, debates Darfur

Email received from Amar.Bakshi@washingtonpost.com Sep 20:
The Washington Post PostGlobal site (blog.washingtonpost.com/postglobal) wants to devote its upcoming coverage to the situation in Darfur.

We'd like to get you all on board in helping us craft a question (as soon as possible) and then in letting your readers know that we are convening a place for people around the world to discuss the issues.

We send our question to the editors of 50 worldwide publications - Economist, Caijing, Asian Age, Daily Star, South African Star etc. and about 100 global blogs to convene debate.

Let me know if you're interested in being a part in formulating the question, and if you'd be willing to spread the word.

Amar
Another email received today:
PostGlobal (http://blog.washingtonpost.com/postglobal) is an international blog and forum for the Washington Post. During the next few days, the site will be hosting online discussions on solutions to the crisis in Darfur. We urge you to join the debate alongside Bill Emmott - former editor of The Economist, Alex de Waal - author of Darfur: A Short History of a Long War, Christine Ockrent - French journalist, and many more. This is the time for the world to come together over the crisis in Darfur. Get engaged and join the debate.
Thanks Amar. Sorry I've not had time to get involved in formulating a question. But I did spend an hour this evening reading the replies to your latest question:
"Should regional solidarity be allowed to trump human rights needs? What could be done to pull away support from the Sudanese regime and enable UN troops to enter?"
I agree with Alex de Waal's answer titled "Sudan Solution: Politics is Paramount", especially this excerpt:
"The most important action in support of human rights in Darfur is progress towards a political settlement. Such progress will, in itself, provide protection for the people of Darfur; it will bring forward the day when stability can return; it will make it possible for a peacekeeping force to operate effectively..."
Also, this comment by AK, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA:
"There is no doubt that people in Darfur are dying. But the term genocide has been used too freely. First off, the killing in Darfur is not completely one sided as some might lead you to believe. Secondly, the fighting is based on resources more than it is on anything else. Resources such as water and grazing/farming land are essential for both groups involved. Thirdly, there is no "racial" issue here. EVERYONE in Darfur is African, and EVERYONE in Darfur is Muslim. There are tribes who have been Arabized through trade and intermarriage, but have no clear Arab lineage. There is no clear cut line between Arab vs. African.

On the Issue of the UN intervention, there is no doubt in my mind that the US and France along with the sponsors of the resolution have illegitimate interests. I say, if they truly want there to be peace, fund the African Union force and supply them with the needed equipment to complete their mandate.

The other major problem with the UN resolution is that it only addresses the military and humanitarian aspect of the conflict, not the political aspect. Just giving food and sending soldiers is not going to bring peace, lasting peace to the people of Darfur and all of Sudan.
Plus this comment, by AM, Vienna, VA, caught my eye:
"Why are outsiders needed?
If you recall, it is the insurgency that is causing the problems."
Note, PostGlobal, an experiment in global discussion of important issues, operates as part of washingtonpost.com. Overseeing the site in Washington is Hal Straus, washingtonpost.com's Opinions Editor, and Amar Bakshi, the Editor/Producer of PostGlobal. Good luck chaps!

If I had to pose a question, I guess it would be the one I've asked myself many times over the past two years but never found an answer:
Why has the African Union Mission in Darfur (AMIS) never received the support and funding it so badly needed?
I wonder what question The Sudanese Thinker would ask ... [Hi Drima!]

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