Monday, 11 June 2007

Darfur and Humanitarian Intervention

How does humanitarian intervention work? Darfur is much on everyone's minds these days and humanitarian intervention is once more in demand. Alas, there seems to be some disagreement about how to go about intervening.

Pansy-ass programmes to provide humanitarian aid by naive goody-goodies is obviously not the American way of humanitarian intervention. We need real action here! The saying about good intentions and the paving on the road to An Uncomfortably Warm Place comes to mind.

I was all set to have a big post on Darfur, but I confess that I'm a little numbed. The uses and abuses of history, of the media; the sheer bloody, rampaging triumph of ignorance; the self-serving cynicism of the moral high ground... it just all gets me down.

But riddle me this: what is to be done when a government starts arming a variety of militias to ethnically cleanse areas in a region under its control, encourages slavery, and promotes bitter warfare with militias of other ethnic groups, leading to well over half a million deaths, almost four million displaced refugees (sorry, five million) and a humanitarian crisis spread over several countries?

Ans: Why, you distract attention by voicing concern about the plight of the poor victims of the fighting in Sudan of course (and back the group that refuses to stop fighting). Never mind the complexities of the situation.


Edit: Maybe the USA and Sudan have more in common than we knew?

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