Monday, August 28, 2006

Holocaust in Darfur: What Is A Black Life Worth?

Atrocities continue in Darfur Sudan, as the world watches.

Watch/Listen to a report from Democracy Now on the situation in Darfur. I have written about this issue several times.

I ask the question- What is a Black life worth? I ask this because over the past few weeks and months, the world has been fixated on things such as the so-called murderer of a little American girl; a suspect that turned out to be a sick mental case, who wanted to create his 15 minutes of fame. Of course he was not the real suspect at all.... but the media swarmed on the story for their ratings because it was sensational. In reality, it is a story with no national or international significance at all. Do Americans realize how many children come up missing or are found dead every year in the U.S.? Just look at the list of missing children in the U.S. at any given time. They get virtually no media coverage at all.

Meanwhile, the media ignores hundreds of thousands of people dying in Darfur and other parts of Africa, and the wider developing world. Thousands of people of color are dying needlessly everyday. 6,000 people (mostly children) die of AIDS everyday in parts of Africa. EVERY DAY! Almost nothing is mentioned about them in Western media.

OR you can point to the stories about Natalie Holloway, or the latest senseless Hollywood movie. All of these stories receive more coverage and attention than the crisis in Darfur.

So I have to go back to the same question that I have asked here before. A question that I have been pondering quite a bit of late. Is one White life, particularly one White American life more important than 1000 Black African lives? Is one White American life worth more than 10,000 Black African lives? Is one White American life worth more than 100,000; 200,000; or 300,000 Black African lives? I have come to the conclusion that in the eyes of most Americans (White America in particular), this is in fact the case.... I don't believe that they even view Africans as human beings who are even worthy of discussion, let alone worthy of help.

Until this fundamental underlying belief changes amongst those in the Western world, the Darfur crisis, and others like it, will continue to carry on unabated.

Now am I suggesting all out war against Sudan? No. However, sanctions, and other diplomatic action (such as limiting travel) are in order.

However, there seems to be two things that have made the U.S. impotent in dealing with this matter.

1. The U.S. standing in the world has been severly crippled due to U.S. foreign policy over the past several years (going back to Clinton and perhaps even as far back as George H.W. Bush). The U.S. has lost its moral authority. At the same time, weaknesses and limits of U.S. military power have been exposed by the war in Iraq. This has led to a situation where other countries (friend and foe) no longer take the U.S. seriously. Many potential foes have basically told the U.S. to go to hell in their own way....countries such as Iran, Russia, China, India, Uzbekistan, Iraq, Venezuela, Sudan, Belarus, and even allies Canada and Mexico among several others. So the world has basically chosen to ignore the U.S. (those nations that can afford to do so without losing or risking too much).

2. The U.S. has basically chosen oil over people (no suprise there, since the U.S. is run by a group of oil executives). The U.S. does not want to disturb the flow of oil from Sudan.

This is because of the Worlds dependence on oil. Although the U.S. does not directly get much oil from the Sudan region, other countries do, including countries that we trade with. Also, oil is used for the manufacturing of so many products that we need and use. It's not just used for the production of gasoline. Any oil disruption could raise retail prices here in the U.S. for all sorts of products, especially imported goods.

But what is a Black life worth? I can recall my readings regarding WWII. The U.S. spent upwards of 20+% of GDP, and was willing to risk it all to win that war and spare the Jews from total destruction. I'm not suggesting that this should be the U.S. response, because any response should not make matters worse. However, the U.S. and the UN could certainly do more than what is being done today. There are plenty of levers and tools at the worlds disposal.... including getting the Arab league and Muslim nations around the world to lean on Sudan. The problem here is that most of the perpetrators are Muslims. But the U.S. could certainly encourage nations friendly to Sudan to apply pressure on this issue.

The U.S. could also assist without entering Sudan at all. The U.S. could set up safety zones inside neighboring Chad, right along the border with Darfur Sudan. Temporary shelters could be set up along the border. The UN Security Council could vote on a Chapter 7 resolution to force Sudan to cooperate with a mass evacuation and the setting up of UN safety zones both in Chad and inside Darfur if necessary. This would be a temporary solution until a permanent peace agreement could be reached. If Sudan does not agree to negotiate to reach a peaceful settlement, sanctions could then be applied incrementally over a period of several years, isolating Sudan more and more from the rest of the world. This would likely lead to Sudan yielding eventually, or it could cause instability for the Sudanese government, ushering in the opportunity for a more reasonable government to emerge later on.

But what is a Black life worth? The World has so far shown that it has no backbone in dealing with this issue. No one wants to sacrifice.

Due to the Worlds dependence on oil, we are bound to have more of these kinds of problems in the future. This is why it is so important for the world to move away from an oil based economy and into an economy based on hydrogen, ethanol, natural gas, solar/wind power, and other alternative fuels.

How many hundreds of thousands of Black Africans have to die before Western media and the Western world in general begins to care? I see more attention paid to the care of animals and to animal rights than I see paid towards the life and well being of Black Africans.

I don't think this situation would be allowed to continue if it involved Europeans. In fact, the world acted in Europe during the 1990's when there was only a hint of genocide.... involving a few thousand people. I am not downplaying the seriousness of what occurred in the former Yugoslavia, however, I am pointing out that there were very distinct differences in how the world reacted to that situation and how it has reacted to crisis' in Africa (disasters that were much worse than Yugoslavia). There is no question that genocide is occurring in Darfur, (a conclusion that even the U.S. government has agreed with) and it's happening on a massive scale. Yet, there is a clear difference in the worlds response to these two parts of the world. When Africa had humanitarian disasters in Ethiopia, Seirra Leone, Rwanda, Congo, South Africa.... the world basically turned away. These calamities barely made the news in the Western World.


Additional Report from BBC

Additional Report from San Jose Mercury

Related Blog Entries

Commentary on Darfur from Mia Farrow

Major Symposium on Darfur in New York City

Previous report from Amy Goodman

Still no response to crisis

Holocaust Continues


Anonymous said...

20% of gdp?
Then it did do all it could.
Also, what about places outside africa that have poverty and need help?

Anonymous said...

being of puerto rican and black descent I Understand completly what this article is saying this is a complete massacre How many lives will be taken before anyone pays Darfur any attention this is a complete disgrace and it just shows how racist the world still and how ignorant and selfish most american are as not to offer any help nor even spred awariness

Anonymous said...