Just in time to mark the tenth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide that it largely ignored, the human rights community is beginning to take notice of the genocide in Sudan. As welcome as this is, and as refreshing as it is that the New York Times and Washington Post have done extensive reporting on Darfur in recent weeks, few have noted that the tragedy of Darfur is actually the second Sudanese genocide of our age. The first killed over two million African Christians and animists in southern Sudan.
They may be forgiven for being slow on the uptake; after all, Darfur marks the third genocide in Africa that Kofi Annan is declining to notice: Rwanda, Sudan I and now Sudan II. Over 100,000 people have been killed in Darfur. By autumn the number of those who have been displaced or impoverished, or whose lives have been destroyed by the war in other ways, will most likely exceed three million. Yet Annan declared that he cannot consider it “genocide or ethnic cleansing yet.”
There is another word that Annan has never uttered in connection with Sudan. For a decade Khartoum has waged what the regime itself calls a jihad against Christians and tribalists in the South. A 1992 fatwa issued by a group of pro-Khartoum Sudanese imams declared: “An insurgent who was previously a Muslim is now an apostate and a non-Muslim is a non-believer standing as a bulwark against the spread of Islam, and Islam has granted the freedom of killing both of them.” This allowed for the murder of Christians and animists in the south; now it has been turned against the Muslims of Darfur, whose Islam doesn’t measure up to Khartoum’s hardline standards.
Yet Annan has never acknowledged that what is going on in Sudan is a jihad. And this is just one manifestation of the by-now inescapable fact that the United Nations is damaged beyond repair. The Islamic states maintain an unbreakable solidarity. The only exception to their unwillingness to condemn other Muslim states came when Saddam Hussein’s Iraq attacked Kuwait. Meanwhile, the Europeans and Chinese have oil interests in Sudan that dovetail nicely at the UN with the Islamic bloc’s determination to repel any criticism. France, the most energetic opponent of UN sanctions against the Khartoum regime, is heavily invested in Sudan through its oil giant ElfTotal.
The emperor has no clothes, but Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights and Oxfam are still paying enthusiastic obeisance. A perusal of each of their websites demonstrates that they criticize the UN only with extreme reluctance and in the most muted tones. In a startling recrudescence of the old “white man’s burden” mentality, they tend to focus more anger at the United States and Western Europe for failing to stop killings than at the murderers themselves. And above all, they won’t describe the conflict as what it really is: a jihad, another example of the crying need for large-scale reform within Islam.
Yet until they do so, they give jihadists carte blanche to continue their work. Instead of providing a platform for those who will work for Islamic reform, the human rights organizations, out of political correctness and a reflexive inability to see any non-white, non-Western entity as anything but a victim, are treating the symptoms but not the cause. Search for “jihad” at the Amnesty International website, and you will find articles alleging that Israel has mistreated a man named Jihad Shaker Abu Ayesh, as well as members of the terrorist group Islamic Jihad. You won’t find the word mentioned in connection with Sudan. Human Rights Watch analyzes the Sudanese crisis exclusively in economic and ethnic terms, with no notice of how the murderers themselves have explained what they are doing.
So the very people who are supposed to tell us the truth — that the UN is broken, and no longer truly stands for human rights — can’t or won’t do so. Why? Are they so trapped in their old illusions about how the world works, and how to make peace, that they are in denial about the harsh realities of the post-9/11 landscape? It seems so.
The victims are the blacks of Darfur and southern Sudan, who continue to be murdered and enslaved by Islamic Arab fundamentalists. The jihadists operate with impunity before a world that doesn’t dare give a name to the crime they are committing. How more deaths will be needed before Kofi Annan and the human rights establishment admit the truth?