Saturday, July 24, 2004

Hiding Behind Anti-Imperialism

Sudan's Arabs have obviously mastered the art of using the rhetoric of Pan-Arabic "anti-imperialism" to quash external criticism.

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudanese Arabs on Friday attacked a U.S. congressional resolution describing atrocities in Darfur as "genocide," while people driven from their homes asked how Washington could make it safe for them to return.
"The international concern over Darfur is actually a targeting of the Islamic state in Sudan," Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, not commenting directly on the resolution, told a public meeting after Friday prayers south of Khartoum.
In Khartoum, 34-year-old driver Ismail Gasmalseed said: "Is Iraq not enough? Do they want to destroy us too? ...America wants everyone who is Arab to pay. They do not understand anything."
Rebels and human rights groups say Khartoum has armed and backed Arab militia known as the Janjaweed who have been forcing non-Arab African villagers off their land in Darfur in an extension of a long conflict over farmland and grazing.
Supporters of the resolution approved by the U.S. Congress on Thursday hope it will help mobilize the international community to protect Africans from the militias.
The accusation of "genocide" is highly controversial. The United Nations has declared the situation in Darfur the world's worst humanitarian crisis but has not called it a genocide, which would force it to take action.
The world body estimates that the 15-month-old conflict between Arab nomads and non-Arab farmers has killed at least 30,000 people and displaced more than a million, many of them driven from their homes by marauding Janjaweed militia.
It's nonsense like this that ought to make any thinking person reluctant to take Arab complaints against the "imperialist" West seriously. I don't know where it's written that respect for Arabs entails allowing them to get away with mass murder.

While we're at it, where are all those self-appointed black "leaders" like Julian Bond, Kweisi Mfume, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan, right when their influence could be most helpful? I know Charlie Rangel's been doing his bit to bring this crisis into the spotlight, but where are all these other much higher-profile, unelected "leaders" on this very issue? What pressure are they bringing to bear for the US to take decisive action, and how are the likes of Julian Bond supposed to make their views heard in the White House when they've so completely thrown in their lot with the Democratic Party?

Since there are no multi-million dollar shakedowns to be had by pleading for something to be done for poor black Muslims dying at the hands of Arabs, I won't hold my breath waiting for Jackson, Bond and Sharpton to have anything to say about this issue. Why a sizable number of black people should hold these men in such high regard is completely beyond me.