Over the past months, the world has watched as the Darfur region of Sudan has rapidly evolved into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Now the American public is starting to take notice. Papers across the nation are condemning the atrocities and calling for an end to U.S. apathy and inaction. The following is a sample of these editorials from around the country.
Louisville, Ky. – Kentucky Courier Journal
June 17, 2004
“More than 30,000 black Sudanese in the province of Darfur are believed to have been murdered or starved by Arab militias in the past year, and thousands have been raped or tortured. Nearly a million refugees have fled to camps in Darfur or in neighboring Chad. Now the rainy season is beginning, and a top U.N. official estimates that if significant aid does not arrive soon, the death toll may quickly jump to 300,000.
“The United States should insist that the Security Council demand unrestricted access for humanitarian missions and authorize a peacekeeping force, for which it should urge European and African nations to provide soldiers.
“The world has lived with guilt too often after rampages of mass murder that could have been prevented. Sudan should not be added to this shameful list.”
Akron, Ohio – Akron Beacon Journal
June 17, 2004
“A decade ago in Rwanda, the U.N. Security Council and countries the world over remained passive in the face of massacres while they argued the legal description of what was happening and their proper obligation to Rwandans. Fortunately, the pressure is mounting in Congress and in the Bush administration to confront the Sudanese government over the situation in Darfur.
“The Bush administration is negotiating with Khartoum to resolve the 21-year civil war in southern Sudan. As part of any broad peace settlement, the White House thus is in a very good position to press Sudan to halt the systematic devastation inflicted on the Darfur population.”
Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City Star – link unavailable
June 16, 2004
“It is past time for the United Nations to intervene in the humanitarian crisis in the western Sudan province of Darfur.
“Hundreds of thousands of refugees are gathered in camps in Darfur and across the border in Chad. Humanitarian groups say vast amounts of aid are needed before the rainy season begins. And the violence must end before the aid can be distributed.
“A peacekeeping force, of sufficient size and made up primarily of African troops, would go a long way toward ending the violence in Sudan.”
Charleston, SC – The Post and Courier
June 14, 2004
“Remember the name Darfur. It is about to become the newest synonym for human displacement and mass starvation.
“Unfortunately, Darfur hasn’t registered, yet, on the world’s conscience.
“The government of Sudan doesn’t want television reporters near the fighting or the concentration camps into which victims are being herded. So this man-made famine simmers toward disaster largely unnoticed.”
” The G-8 statement called on the Sudanese government ‘to disarm immediately the ‘Janjaweed’ and other armed groups which are responsible for massive human rights violation in Darfur.’ A reply is awaited from Sudan, which angrily rejected earlier claims that it is responsible for the looming tragedy.”
Dallas, Texas – The Dallas Morning News – link unavailable
June 9, 2004
“Never again, the civilized world has said since the Holocaust, but we don’t mean it, not really. Speaking recently on National Public Radio about the near-genocidal situation now in Darfur, a western province of Sudan, Gen. Dallaire mused bleakly that if African gorillas were threatened with extinction, the world would be more concerned than it is about the potential deaths of a million human beings.
“The government and the death squads are Arab Muslims. Their victims are also Muslims, but are black, and seen as racially inferior by their persecutors, who are trying to kill them or drive them off the land so Arabs can seize it – exactly as the government has been doing to black Christians and animists in the country’s southern provinces.
“The U.N. Security Council should pass a resolution calling for full humanitarian access to Darfur, which the Sudanese government has so far denied, and put together a peacekeeping force to restore order and secure food and medical assistance to the refugees.
“Where are African-American leaders? They should lift up their voices against this racial genocide in the making. Indeed, all of us who shook our heads over Rwanda a decade ago, and said “Never again,” must understand that now is the time to make good on our word.”
Pittsburgh, Pa. – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
June 9, 2004
“The United Nations, short of resources as usual, and a United States stretched thin by its commitments in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere have not stepped up to the plate yet with regard to Darfur.
“There is no excuse – war on terror, insecurity in Iraq, whatever – for the United States, the United Nations and the Europeans to do nothing while this occurs. The Darfur problem needs high-level attention now, and it needs more than words.
“The world is going to have to do something about Darfur, and soon. The alternative is that nations will realize years from now, as they do with Rwanda, that hundreds of thousands of people died – from war or starvation or disease – without the world having acted to prevent or contain the disaster at the time.”