Liberal Democratic Representatives arrested at pro-war protest
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, a Marin Democrat, was arrested at the Sudanese embassy this morning with four other members of Congress.
Woolsey was protesting with the Save Darfur Coalition, the Enough Project and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. The group was arrested by police after refusing to leave a protest on the embassy steps.
Woolsey, a leading dove in Congress and member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, took note of the activists in her Marin district who "created 'Dear Darfur love Petaluma,' which spread to 'Dear Darfur love Marin,' and then 'Dear Darfur love Sonoma.' They also created 'Tents of Hope,' which has brought together activists nationwide to highlight the genocide, and has provided relief to thousands of displaced people in Darfur."
Woolsey vowed that the genocide in Darfur will be "a top priority
in Congress." While praising President Obama's steps to "re-engage the
international community," she said it's time to replace words with action. She urged the Obama administration to make Darfur a top issue in the U.S. relationship with China.
Other members of Congress arrested, all Democrats, were Reps. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, John Lewis of Georgia, Donna Edwards of Maryland and Keith Ellison of Minnesota.
Did "Save Darfur" Lose Darfur?
by William Easterly
Friday, April 17, 2009
I have long been a fan of Mahmood Mamdani. His new book Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror is very critical of the Western approach to Darfur.
In brief, he accuses advocacy campaigns like Save Darfur of making the
achievement of peace in Darfur more difficult by portraying the
conflict simplistically between "bad Arabs" and "good Africans," and by advocating foreign military intervention.
I'll repeat just a few points from Mamdani that stuck in my mind, but I encourage you strongly to pick up the book.
The Save Darfur campaign repeatedly ignored and distorted the facts on the ground.
Darfur is an insurgency and an extremely vicious
counter-insurgency, but there was never the intent to eliminate any
specific group and so the word "genocide" is inappropriate. But the
word "genocide" gave the West and the UN a free hand to intervene.
The prospect of foreign military intervention encouraged the
rebels to hold out rather than agreeing to a peace deal, while
hardening and attracting additional support for the position of the
government to "defend national sovereignty."
There were also terrible atrocities on the "good African" side.
The "good African" side includes one key player, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), that is an opposition Islamist movement that was previously on the "bad Arab" side in the North-South civil war between "bad Arabs" and "good Africans."
There was a sharp decrease in violence after 2005 just as the Save Darfur campaign picked up steam.
The ICC is not credible to much of the non-Western world as a judge of war crimes
since the US itself does not subject itself to the ICC, and since the
ICC seems to selectively prosecute US enemies and turn a blind eye to
war crimes by US allies.
The Western pressure based on distorted facts has set back attempts within Sudan and within Africa to reach a peace settlement in Darfur, which is the only way the tragedy will end.
None of this is to deny the enormous human tragedy in Darfur.
But Mamdani's analysis makes one wonder: is it possible that
ill-informed outsiders with the threat of military power on their side can make things worse rather than better?
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