World Observes ‘Darfur Day’: What Next?
Celebrities including Elton John, Mick Jagger, Bob Geldof, George Clooney and Mia Farrow have appealed to the international community to do more to protect the civilians of Darfur, the province of Sudan where 200,000 have died in four years of war, and millions have lost their homes.
This appeal comes from these celebrities to mark the fourth anniversary of the start of the conflict, and coincides with the Global Day of Darfur being observed by Britain and 33 other countries.
“Though thousands of people across five continents will today urge their leaders to ‘do something’ about Darfur, few leaders can agree on what that ‘something’ is,” reports The Independent.
“The US, which is alone in labelling the conflict ‘genocide’, is preparing to increase its sanctions on Sudan. Britain is talking up the idea of a no-fly zone, but one non-British Western diplomat in Khartoum was quick to point out that this was being suggested only by Mr Blair.
“So far, though, the outside world is just talking – not acting. Numerous UN resolutions urging action remain unenforced. A no-fly zone was even agreed in 2005, but was never implemented.”
Another report states: “What began as a rebellion by three non-Arab tribes against perceived marginalisation by the Arab-dominated Khartoum government has escalated into a complex multi-layered conflict.
“There are Arabs fighting alongside the rebels and Africans siding with the government. Arab tribes are fighting other Arab tribes – some are even fighting themselves. Desertification has increased tensions, between everybody, as tribes fight to gain control over precious water points.
“If it was ever as simple to describe the conflict as a ‘genocide’ of black Africans by an Arab government – and few analysts in Sudan believe it was – it certainly is not now.
“Sudan’s government is arming any group that is prepared to attack anyone connected with the rebels, be they African or Arab. In some cases they have even armed both sides of the same mini-conflict. It is less about ethnic cleansing and more about power. Khartoum, argue some analysts, may not even want the war to end.
” ‘This government has always had a crisis,’ said Dr Madawi Ibrahim, a Darfurian expert with close ties to the rebel movement. ‘You keep people busy with a crisis’.”