Save Darfur ! That's one of the new slogans of the Beautiful People.
In case you're wondering where Darfur is, why it needs to be saved, and who it needs to be saved from,let me provide a quick rundown.
Darfur is a region in Sudan that is chock-a-block full of highly desirable,easily refined light sweet crude oil. It has been the home of African natives for ages untold; but, in recent years,Arabs - some of whom are tightly entwined with al-Qaeda and/or the Muslim Brotherhood - have moved in and taken over the government: making removal of the original natives from the oil-rich sands of Darfur their highest priority.
The Chinese (who have no qualms about "blood for oil") are willing to buy all the oil Sudan can sell them,and are willing to supply the neccessary tools (guns,helicopters,etc.) needed to remove the troublesome natives.
The Sudanese government-wishing to keep its hands "clean" in this matter, has funneled almost unlimited money, arms, and supplies to a non-governmental group that calls itself "the janjaweed militia": taking great care to look the other way while this militia clears the oilfields of native Africans with an orgy of murder, arson, rape,looting, and wholesale destruction of homes and villages.
So far, this government-backed Islamist militia has succeeded in killing an estimated 200,000 people,killing livestock, destroying crops, and turning about a million families into homeless refugees ; but it wasn't until the natives started to fight back ,and the flow of oil to the Chinese became jeapordized that the UN (and,some might say,the Beautiful People) became interested.
Here,here !, the UN cried. What's all this....this conflict ?
The UN has long adhered to (or at least practiced )the view that if one group murders and oppresses another,the conflict is best resolved by disarming the victim. It makes the resultant slaughter much less alarming ; much more tidy .
Come, come, the UN coaxed. Let us sit down at the bargaining table and negotiate this ...unpleasantness away !
To no one's great surprise, all parties to the conflict told the UN to butt out.
On July 14,2004 , a truly worthy group - The Save Darfur Coalition was organized. Members, who came from a broad spectrum, signed the following statement:
"The emergency in Sudan’s western region of Darfur presents the starkest challenge to the world since the Rwanda genocide in 1994. A government-backed Arab militia known as Janjaweed has been engaging in campaigns to displace and wipe out communities of African tribal farmers.
Villages have been razed, women and girls are systematically raped and branded, men and boys murdered, and food and water supplies targeted and destroyed. Government aerial bombardments support the Janjaweed by hurling explosives as well as barrels of nails, car chassis and old appliances from planes to crush people and property. Tens of thousands have died. Well over a million people have been driven from their homes, and only in the past few weeks have humanitarian agencies gained limited access to some of the affected region.
Mukesh Kapila, the former United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, said on March 19, 2004 that the violence in Darfur is “more than a conflict, it's an organized attempt to do away with one set of people.” The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has issued its first ever genocide emergency. John Prendergast of International Crisis Group warns, “We have not yet hit the apex of the crisis.”
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) estimates that 350,000 people or more could die in the coming months. Ongoing assessments by independent organizations such as Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) suggest that USAID’s estimate may be conservative. If aid is denied or unavailable, as many as a million people could perish.
Lives are hanging in the balance on a massive scale."
The Beautiful People decided to get behind this effort , and a massive fund-raising drive was conducted. When enough cash had been collected , the Save Darfur Coalition decided to send New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to Sudan - not to redress the ongoing genocide, but to negotiate a ceasefire between the oppressors and their victims.
Richardson seemed tailor-made for the assignment: a former US Ambassador to the UN,a former Secretary of Energy (who had proved a good friend indeed to the Chinese), and a good friend of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
On January 10,2007 , Richardson flew to Khartoum, sat down with all the available parties, and negotiated a "60 day ceasefire". Returning in triumph the same day, he gained much-desired "face time" with the Media and the Beautiful People ....just in time to announce his candidacy for President in 2008.
As Bill Richardson basked in momentary glory, life as usual resumed in Darfur. The Janjaweed Militia announced they were not bound by the decisions of the Sudanese government - no matter how many papers were signed with Unbelievers - and the rattle of weapons began anew.The 60 Day Truce-like the May ceasefire that had preceeded it-was empty words on worthless paper : a pointless gesture, contrived by foreigners for their own ends.