Darfur Again and the Misery

 Darfur Again and the Misery


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



“It is unacceptable that the AU mission is not better equipped. They couldn’t

even evacuate the injured after the Haskanita attack because they don’t have

military helicopters,” Reuters reported the Archbishop as saying.



Julie flint & Alex deWaal, Darfur: a short history of a long war. Zed Books, in association with International African Institute, 2005. 151 pages.

Gérard Prunier. Darfur: The Ambiguous Genocide. Cornell University Press, 2005. 212 pages.

David Morse. The Iron Bridge (1998)

*   *   *   *   *

It is Darfur again and the misery goes on

By E. Ablorh-Odjidja, Ghanadot


Three days after the brutal murder of African peacekeepers in Darfur, Archbishop Tutu, the highly regarded leader of conscience, led a council of elders on a mission there. In tow also was President Carter, the perpetual peacekeeper.

It is hard to fit President Carter in any African leadership construct, but he was there. Perhaps, after this junket, he could earn a Nobel Peace prize like he did after Oslo, and then there would be peace in Darfur, like there has always been in Palestine since!

Indeed, we need to dull our senses to believe that this hybrid council of elders is necessary because our African villages, towns, cities, parliaments and the AU organization itself are empty of competent elders, so President Carter can act as substitute! 

Still, with great respect to this council, the purpose of the trip is the question to ask. Has there not been enough talk and fact finding already? Peace in Darfur, this hell hole which the Sudanese government has allowed to exist since the beginning of this century, will not come through talk alone.

Ten AU soldiers have been reported murdered in the latest attack at Haskanita, Darfur. Many are wounded and some are still missing.

The AU, as usual, is threatening action, which it will not take, instead of asking how it got itself hoodwinked into providing a fighting force that it is incapable of sustaining without help from outside nations.

But to hear from President Carter, it is as if the end of the conflict is near. He reported the following from President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan.

“He (Bashir) promised us there would be $300 million in all coming to the Darfur region in compensation, $100m coming from the government, and $200m to be a loan from the Chinese.”

Permission for mirth should be granted at this point: But the question is compensation for what, the lives of the 400,000 plus African Sudanese who have been killed in Darfur so far? A paltry sum of $750 per head for each dead?

You would think money is all that is needed to bring peace to Darfur. If so, then why not let President Bashir keep his $100 million, and the borrowed $200 million from the Chinese, so he could assure peace within his own dominion rather than accept this insult on the heads of so many dead African Sudanese?

Again, Darfur is an ongoing conflict. The UN doesn’t seem to see it as genocide. And now that the AU has gotten itself right smack in the middle, the conflict is conveniently being seen as a tribal one as the latest report seem to suggest.

The 157 AU soldiers at the Haskanita outpost were attacked by “a large force numbering up to 1,000 well-equipped Darfuri rebels.” Note, the Darfuri rebels, the Sudanese Africans, are now the bad guys, not the Arab Janjaweed .

Of course, in the middle of a desert and in the dark of the night, optical illusions do happen. A Janjaweed  could be mistaken for a Darfuri rebel, especially when the former is in disguise. Hopefully, it will take another tour of the Council of Elders to find that out.

But all may not be lost. It seems Archbishop Tutu, the great freedom fighter, would have been calling for war were it not for his cassock. All one need to do is to listen to his language during this mission of the elders, when he called on world governments to speed up deployment of the 26,000 joint UN-AU replacement force of peacekeepers for Darfur.

“I am making a call to people of good will … for goodness sake, tell your governments to get off their butts,” Tutu said.

St. Peter will not tolerate this outburst, but for an Archbishop to use this language means his spirit has been pushed beyond his human skin.

“It is unacceptable that the AU mission is not better equipped. They couldn’t even evacuate the injured after the Haskanita attack because they don’t have military helicopters,” Reuters reported the Archbishop as saying.

So the Archbishop is mad. The AU can get mad too. Individual governments can stand up to Sudan. At least South Africa can. So can Nigeria or the ECOWAS countries. But what are they doing?

Just listening to Mr. James Kalilangwe, chairman of the AU peace and Security Council explain future AU action is enough to make your stomach turn. The AU, he said, was thinking about “strengthening the camp defenses of the peacekeeping force.”

Perhaps, with the $300 million from Sudan now in the hands of President Carter of the African Council of Elders; AU troop defenses can be rebuilt and strengthened. Sadly, the defenses can also be blown to smithereens by Chinese supplied arms. 

A lot has been said about how easy is it is to ridicule Africa. The $300 million in the hands of the Council of Elders is one sure way. Allow this writer to think that a lot can be done for Darfur by banishing Sudan from the AU.

E. Ablorh-Odjidja, Publsiher, Washington, DC, October 4, 2007. Permission to publish:  Please feel free to publish or reproduce, with credits, unedited.  If posted at a website, email a copy of the web page to . Or don’t publish at all.

*   *   *   *   *

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

*   *   *   *   *


Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. “Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”—Lisa Adkins, University of London

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *


*   *   *   *   *






posted 4 October 2007 / updated 17 March 2008 




Home Nuba-Darfur-South Sudan Table Transitional Writings on Africa

Related files: The Joseph Principle Enacted  Disadvantaged by race, set back by language  OUT OF AMERICA DENIED A Critique  EPA Hobson’s Choice

Post Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.