Sudan: May 18, 2004


The ethnic cleansing in western Sudan has become far bloodier than what happened in Kosovo in 1999. Back then, Serbs sought to expel Albanians from Kosovo. Today, Arab Sudanese seek to to expel black Sudanese from Darfur. The numbers of dead, destroyed property and refugees is greater in Darfur than in Kosovo. Yet there is no outcry from Europe for something to be done. That's because, in 1999, Europe sought to avoid another flood of refugees fleeing the fighting in Kosovo. That reason, which was splashed all over the media in the countries the refugees were fleeing to, was generally ignored. Instead, Kosovo got a huge European and American peacekeeping force for strictly humanitarian reasons. 

No such luck for Darfur. No refugees are making it to Europe, thus no domestic political crises to trigger a humanitarian response. Moreover, Europeans are, at the moment, focused on Arabs as victims (in Palestine and Iraq), not as vicious oppressors. So Darfur is generally ignored. It's too confusing, too far away, and, besides, Kosovo is still an unstable mess. The United States is occupied with Iraq and Afghanistan, but has offered logistical support if anyone can muster some troops for peacekeeping in Sudan. The offer is unlikely to be accepted. Sudan denies there is a problem, and works hard to keep foreigners out of Darfur. But foreigners do get in, and Darfur is still in flames. 

The government armed and supported Arab tribal militias still ravage Darfur, killing several hundred black Sudanese a week and looting all they can find. Most of the million refugees are still inside Sudan, and the Arab Sudanese want the "Zurga" (a disparaging Sudanese Arab word for blacks) out, or dead. Although the two rebel groups in  Darfur have threatened to take their fight east (towards the capital), this is unlikely to have much effect. Darfur is on its way to becoming "Zurga Free." 


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