As the conflict in Darfur enters its sixth year, conditions continue to deteriorate for civilians. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed. The United Nations estimates that figure at roughly 400,000. Additionally, 2.5 million Darfuris have fled their homes and continue to live in camps throughout Darfur, or in refugee camps in neighboring Chad and the Central African Republic. Unless the international community imposes serious condition to the government of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s, his government will continue to accept initiatives only to backtrack later or impose new conditions that render them useless.

‘It is hard to believe that in this day and age, mass murders and atrocities are still committed in some parts of the world. The situation in Darfur is a sad example of violence on one hand and almost total indifference on the part of most so called responsible nations. The international community keeps talking about genocide but does little to prevent this ongoing tragedy, Professor!”

I had just returned from a trip to Geneva where I had attended a meeting on Trends and Strategies. Darfur was one of the topics that impressed me. The Professor listened with interest to my short commentary and then said:

“True. More should be done by the international community. It is however a topic that can be easy to understand or impossible to evaluate. First, it is not genocide. The attackers do not wish to eliminate a race. They just want a number of tribes of mixed ancestry out of the way. Then it becomes complicated as you search some of the reasons for this continuous campaign against a mass of people that only wish to continue to live where they have lived for some time.”

“I am still in the dark Professor” I observed. He got up and stood in front of the world globe standing in one corner of his library and pointing at the location of the Sudan, continued:

“Some of the animosity comes from old Arab-African rivalries and the intransigence of the Sudanese government and its refusal to undertake any possible solution and the fact that they allow crimes against humanity to be committed on a regular basis. You have the Sudanese Army and the Janjaweed, or devils on horseback, that continue to harass and kill members of tribes in the Darfur region. Darfur occupies an extension as large as the state of Texas, so that conflicts instead of being few and far between are many and most around the corner. You see, there are liberation armies all over the place plus the Government of Chad that has to deal with the refugee problems, while the Justice and Equality Movement tries to sell some Justice and equality by shooting a few here and there, in spite of the reactions from the Islamic factions, the Darfurian Rebel Groups, the well armed Sudanese Liberation Army and the complaints of the Central African Republic that has also to contend with hundreds of thousands of refugees. You see, some 400,000 people have been killed in less that 5 years and 2.5 million people have been left homeless. If there is a tragedy on the world stage, my friend, this is it!”

“But how about the UN, the African Union, the European Union, ourselves, Russia, China and all the international Aid and charity organizations?”

“All of those you mention have undertaken programs to help the people of Darfur, which is fine. The problem is the government of Sudan; the only language they understand, unfortunately, is that of cavalry charges, lines of infantry riflemen and a few canon on high places, like old times.”

The Professor paused to pour some coffee in our cups and then:

“They all agree that such solution is necessary but they fear the scope and resources demanded by such action. It is not a matter of sending a force of a few thousand. It is not simply taking over the government and securing Khartoum. It is a matter of having to face and neutralize scores of militias, roving armed gangs, armed groups, movements, counter movements, some religious sects, tribal rivalries, etc. In short, a quagmire. It means an invasion similar to another one that has taken place in recent times!”

“You mean. . . . “


Chemical engineer by training, international executive by merit and writer by addiction. Former syndicated columnist of Technology columns, has written for television and movies. His humorous articles contain fine satire and have been published in 4 languages.

Quote: “Love and smiles teach tolerance; days without either are days wasted”

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