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View Diary: UN Reacts to Mass Graves in Sudan (24 comments)

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  •  A bit distorted-you're not reporting the good news (1+ / 0-)
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    Flaming Liberal for Jesus

    I appreciate your trying to bring this tragedy to the attention of DK, but without providing more context, I'm afraid that you're just feeding the distorted image of Africa and the Sudan situation as one of unrelenting, unilateral misery.

    Most people don't know what is going on in Sudan and the bigger picture of which this tragedy is a small part.

    In reporting a story like this, it's extremely important to explain that this is a side note to one of the best good news stories coming out of that same country in decades.

    The big picture is that after 40 years of the most vicious and miserable civil war, human rights violations, and arguably genocide, South Sudan has finally achieved independence from one of the most evil regimes in Africa-- Sudan.  Although it was a complex conflict, it can generally be described as a war between an Islamic, Arab-identified North, and a black African, Christian and animist South.  The war became especially severe when the north became more fundamentalist under its current leadership.

    A peace agreement was entered in 2005, a referendum on independence was held earlier this year, South Sudan was proclaimed an independent state in July 11, 2011, and day before yesterday, South Sudan was admitted to the United Nations as the world's newest state.

    All across South Sudan, there have been celebrations and jubilation, and generations of South Sudanese have been returning to help build up their democracy and economy.  South Sudan is blessed with natural resources, such as oil and most of Sudan's best agricultural land.  

    The massacres you are reporting are a tragic consequence of independence --  a complex dispute in which southern identified militias in a northern province don't want to disarm and want to join the South, and in which the North wants to extort oil revenue from the South (the oil is in the South but the pipelines run to the north) and the North is simply trying to kill as many people as possible until the South agrees to give it more money.  

    But just reporting on the massacres to an audience most members of which know nothing whatsoever about Sudan, would be like reporting the massacres between Hindus and Muslims in India and Pakistan in 1947 without first telling that audience the larger fact that India and Pakistan finally achieved independence from Britain.

    So these massacres are terrible, but they have to be seen as the last gasps of a desperate regime in the context of one of the most hopeful stories coming out of Africa.

    •  What you call massacres, I call genocide. n/t (1+ / 0-)
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      Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

      by ZenTrainer on Sat Jul 16, 2011 at 07:57:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  War crimes (2+ / 0-)
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      mapamp, jhutson

      are still war crimes. And the house to house  searches for Nubans to kill, bag, and dump in mass graves; along with the hunting of refugees with attack helicopter and the aerial bombing of towns are, I think, more than a "side note" to history.  Indeed, to view it that way would suggest that we have taken the wrong lessons from history.

      One of the great success stories coming out of Africa at the moment is that the Nuba have succeeded in getting their story out to the world.  We will know soon whether the world intends to respond to the genocide they are facing.

      •  Don't you think that South Sudan is a big story? (1+ / 0-)
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        Flaming Liberal for Jesus

        I don't disagree with anything you've written, but it's pretty hard for the average American who doesn't follow African news to understand what is happening without mentioning the independence story.  People need to know about massacres but they also need to know why the massacres are happening.

        They also need to know, if they are not to have a stereotypical view of Africa, that this violence is in the context of a larger massive de-escalation of violence in the territory of what used to be the Sudan.

        •  South Sudan is indeed a big story (2+ / 0-)
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          mapamp, jhutson

          for the reasons you describe and more.   That is why it  was one of the biggest stories in the U.S. around the time of independence, as I am sure the media junkies on this site are well aware.  (I even saw a segment on the NBC Nightly News.)

          Getting people to zero in on and understand what is happening with these mass graves as a direct consequence of the mass killings, is a much steeper climb. Part of the problem has been the official view of the U.S. government that there is not enough evidence of these things to warrant much concern.  As Time magazine Washington correspondent Mark Benjamin wrote at the Time blog regarding the UN report on atrocities mentioned in this diary:

          Another compelling issue seems to be the timing of the report. It was completed late last month and is certain to prompt sharp questions about what the United States and the UN have done since then to try to address the atrocities. (The State Department is gathering a full response to these questions now, though sources say the report is a response, in part, in to a request from Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the UN).

          And while there are always many important and relevant contexts to this, and probably anything I have ever written, sometimes focus is what is needed for a particular piece of writing. No doubt, if you were writing about Sudan you would make different choices, and I am sure they would be good ones.   This is, as you say, one part of the Sudan story.  But as horrific as it is, it provides an opportunity for those concerned about Sudan's future to continue to engage the interest of the world.  I am sure that we all hope that the atrocities can be stopped. But we can be very sure that they will not be stopped unless outside interests are brought sufficiently to bear on the situation before it is too late.  For many, it is already too late.

        •  This is not a North/South story (2+ / 0-)
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          Frederick Clarkson, mapamp

          This story is not about the Government of Sudan versus the Republic of South Sudan.

          This is a story about the Government of Sudan waging an ethnic cleansing campaign against its own people, the Nuba people in the Nuba Mountains, which are in the North, not in the South.

          •  Yes it is a north/south story (0+ / 0-)

            Some of those people are members of militias that are allied with the south.  They may not be in the south, but politically they are allied with the south and don't want to disarm (which I think is perfectly logical for them, considering the north's behavior).

            Moreover, the killings are a form of negotiating pressure the north is applying to the south over oil revenues.

            I'm still puzzled by the idea that the context of this story -- the independence of the south -- is somehow not to be discussed.

            •  No need to be puzzled (0+ / 0-)

              I think I have more than adequately explained my reasons for my focus.

              The real puzzle seems to be why you have not written about independence yourself.

              •  I've written quite a bit about Ivory Coast (0+ / 0-)

                but in comments to dairies started by others.  We all have the areas we focus on.

                I just don't think that the massacres explain themselves.  Sort of like writing about the Hutu-Tutsi conflict in the Eastern Congo several years ago without mentioning what happened in Rwanda.

                •  genocide, sir (0+ / 0-)

                  And not, as you have repeated on this thread, massacres.

                  We are witnessing crimes committed against non-belligerent citizens of Sudan by its own government -- not acts of war against rebels or foreign armies.  

                  I think your participation on this thread is a case in point as to why a laser like focus on the ethnic cleansing campaign is needed, and that I not be distracted by other matters, no matter how interesting or significant.  

                  •  Okey Dokey. I'll throw out my genocide books (0+ / 0-)

                    and human rights books and ethnic cleansing books, that take up a large space in my library and that all explain WHY and HOW these events happened, because according to you the fact that they happened is all that mattered.

                    I guess all those post WW II social scientists who tried to understand the Holocaust so it would never happen again were wasting their time.

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