A weekly guide for your group to use in discussing the critical questions facing us as a constituency.
This week instead of writing a blog post which answers all the questions I will be posing a question to STAND readers. This week the outgoing commander of UNAMID released a statement claiming that the war in Darfur is over. To many this claim seems ridiculous, absurd, and insulting especially to the many refugees and IDPs still reluctant to return to their homes. However, rather than instinctually answering this question I am venturing to ask STAND readers to take a closer look at the conflict. I have included several press releases from this week from leading news sources in response to the commanders statements. While you are reading about what’s going on the second question that I would like you to ask of the conflict is, Is genocide in Darfur over? While I think that the answer to the first question is almost self-evident and very easy to develop a personal opinion about, the second question requires some more thought and digging. As many are aware proving genocide is a very difficult if not nearly impossible task with regards to Darfur, and leading scholars disagree on the legitimacy of Darfur being considered as genocide. This week I want you to challenge yourself to answer both of these questions. Please send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post them to the blog.
And from now on, in the spirit of sparking more discussions like this, STAND’s Education Team will be putting forth a Critical Discussion Guide every week on one of the challenging questions facing our actions in the world. Please continue to check the blog every Monday for a new discussion that your chapter can take on in your weekly meetings. And as always, we would love to hear from you about this week’s question or proposing one of your own at email@example.com.
STAND Discussion Guide: Week of 7st-11h of September
Is the war in Darfur over?
- How has the conflict in Darfur changed over the years?
- How do we define “war” versus “conflict” versus “genocide” versus “ethnic cleansing?” What importance do these words have?
- What is the reality facing civilians on the ground? How can the international community best fulfill its responsibility to protect these civilians at the current state of the conflict?
- How should the US policy towards Sudan reflect what is happening on the ground? What should remain the same? What should change?
"As of today, I would not say there is a war going on in Darfur…Militarily there is not much. What you have is security issues more now. Banditry, localised issues, people trying to resolve issues over water and land at a local level. But real war as such, I think we are over that."– the outgoing head of the joint UN-African Union mission, General Martin Agwai
“Although violence has diminished in Darfur, a reading of the relevant international conventions indicates that the genocide is not over for those millions of Darfurians still homeless from earlier attacks, unable to go home, and facing targeted rapes and aid cut-offs based on their ethnic identity.” – Dave Eggers, John Prengergast
“"There has been a large decline in fighting in Darfur, and that is undoubtedly a good thing for the people…But it is the government that turns the tap on and off – they can restart the violence whenever they want." –Gill Lusk, Sudan analyst
“Adada and Agwai make much of a decline in violent mortality; but this decline was inevitable for two reasons. First, the actual military conflict in Darfur has drifted into a tactical and strategic stalemate…Second, given the high levels of previous destruction, there is relatively little that remains in the way of promising new targets … If we assume that the total pre-war population of Darfur was between six and seven million, then approximately 70 – 85 percent of the African population is either displaced or dead.” – Eric Reeves, Sudan analyst
News Articles and Reports
Global Post – “War in Darfur Over? Not Quite”
CNN – Dave Eggers and John Prendergast – “Were Darfur Promises for Real?”
BBC News – “War in Sudan’s Darfur is ‘Over’”
The Independent – “War in Darfur is finished, claims UN commander”
Sudan Tribune – Eric Reeves – “Has the war ended in Darfur?”
Sudan Tribune – Mahmoud Suleiman – “UNAMID Agwai turns a blind eye to Sudan Atrocities”
Sudan Tribune – Randy Newcomb “’Save Darfur’ Must Save itself”