A wake-up call for Darfur activists

The San Francisco Chronicle ran an op-ed by John Morlino this Sunday calling for increased public pressure from activist groups on Western governments and the international community to end the genocide in Darfur.

While activist groups have successfully brought much-needed media attention to the crisis in Darfur, Morlino writes, “the majority of Darfur activist groups continue to acquiesce to the litany of ineffectual measures put forth by our elected officials.” It is this combined failure of activists to apply the necessary pressure and of governments to respond adequately that has allowed what Morlino calls “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis” to go on for so long.

Morlino also mentions–and we here at iAbolish would like to flag–the willingness of Western governments to respond to genocide perpetrated in Europe (he cites Kosovo) that rests so uneasily alongside the failures to respond to cases outside the west. It’s what AASG founder and president Charles Jacobs calls the “human rights complex.” If you want to know whether a human rights issue will receive notice, Jacobs proposes you look to the oppressor, rather than to the oppressed. It is not that the (predominantly white) human rights community cares less about Darfurians, but rather that, as Jacobs wrote in an op-ed published in the Boston Globe in 2002, “We feel the charge of hypocrisy…Who are we to judge ‘others’?”

Lastly, we’d like to point our readers to Jewels in the Jungle, which has more information and analysis of the conflict in Sudan in light of recent developments, and who also calls for more concrete action from activists.