Sometimes it is helpful to cut through the diplomatic posturing, and the careful avoidance of blame-laying, and remember that we are dealing here with a genocide. Eric Reeves has an editorial today in the Boston Globe that goes right to the point. By the way, if you have any doubts about the dramatic death rates being perpetrated in Darfur, read first the claims by Islam Online that the death rates are inflated, and then read about the newest and most scientfic epidemiological study, reported by the Reuters. But for a stronger read, try Eric's piece--either in full in the Globe, or in the excerpt below:
The most urgent task is humanitarian intervention in Darfur, with or without UN authorization. An expanded African Union force, with robust rules of engagement, should initiate such intervention even if Khartoum objects. In addition to protecting the highly vulnerable populations in the camps for displaced persons, this force should be the means for initiating a massive increase in humanitarian transport and logistical capacity, provided by US and European allies.
The longer term goal must be to dismantle the National Islamic Front: No true peace will come to Sudan so long as this ruthless regime of Arab supremacists rules Africa's largest country. In the interim, the United States and others should work to impose sanctions directed against Khartoum's leaders and isolate the regime. A widely representative government-in-waiting should be assembled.
Finally, ordinary Americans and Europeans should support a fledgling divestment campaign targeting the large European and Asian multinational corporations whose investments prop up Khartoum's genocidal tyranny. Many have stocks that trade on American exchanges, and are represented in numerous mutual funds and pension funds. These corporations must be forced to suspend commercial relations with Khartoum until genocide in Darfur has ended and a comprehensive peace agreement is reached with southern Sudan. Stripped of this immoral economic support, the regime will become far more vulnerable to international pressure, and susceptible to the dismantling desired by the overwhelming majority of Sudanese desperate for new leadership.
One hesitation on the divestment campaign idea. Unless it focuses on Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian comanies, I'm not sure it can have much effect. Western companies such as Canada's Talisman Energy have already pulled out of Sudan. It is really the Chinese, the Indians, and the Malaysians who are supporting the regime by helping build up the oil export business. And it is the Russians who are supplying the most high tech arms to Sudan's military, including aircraft. I'd like to hear from Eric more on this issue, of how we can best target companies that truly matter to the Sudanese economy--and particularly to the military side of the Sudanese economy.
There is a "two step" way to proceed, and that is by targeting western companies that do business with China, India, and Malaysia, in order to send a message to those nations that we will not continue to support their economic growth if they in turn promote genocide in Sudan.
Perhaps we need a consumer boycott on Chinese products sold in the US. A good way to do this would be to target Wal-Mart, which currently buys about %1 of China's entire Gross National Product, and sells the goods in the US. The other would be a boycott of Hewlett-Packard and other companies' computer products. Most of the personal computers sold in the United States are now assembled in China. A consumer boycott against Chinese products could have several benefits--it could show support for Sudan, support for manufacturing jobs in the US, UK and Europe, and support for the effort to get China to revalue its currency upward--thus helping to stem the predatory pricing that China is currently using to push its manufactured products into nations like the US.
What do you think?