The international community’s excuse for failing to prevent the genocide in Rwanda was that they did not know what was happening until it was too late. A feeble, disingenuous defense which was discredited and lambasted by those who raised the alarm but were met with deaf ears, such as General Dallaire.
The words “Never again”, like the victims of the first genocide this century, in Darfur, have no worth, hold no significance and imbue no moral compulsion to act. Despite the genocide convention (1948) compelling us to intervene to prevent genocide and instructing us that failure to do so makes us complicit, still the UN remains on the sidelines, occasionally adding fuel to the genocidaires’ fire but never, never invoking its duty to protect the beleaguered, butchered civilians of Darfur and increasingly Southern Sudan.
The international community’s policy on Sudan seems to be that of silence. Whether it’s the rape of 200 women in girls in Tabit or the bombing of an MSF hospital a few days ago, say as little as possible and it’ll all blow over.
Excerpts from the MSF press release:
“A hospital operated by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was directly targeted in an aerial bombing in Sudan on January 20, forcing the suspension of medical activities, MSF announced today [22 January 2015]. The hospital, located in the Nuba Mountains village of Frandala in the South Kordofan region of Sudan, was bombed by the Sudanese Air Force (SAF). Repeated and targeted bombings in the region prevent the safe operation of medical activities, depriving the local population of lifesaving care...
“Approximately 150 patients and staff were in the hospital when a SAF fighter jet [almost certainly a Sukhoi-24 air-to-ground attack plane] dropped a cluster of 13 bombs, two of which landed inside the hospital compound. The others struck just outside the hospital fence. One MSF staff member and one patient were injured. The property also suffered damage... [The Mother of Mercy Hospital was also attacked by a fighter jet from Khartoum's air force, identified from its profile by Dr. Tom Catena, surgeon at the hospital, as a Sukhoi-24—ER.]
The eminent Sudan scholar, Eric Reeves, had this to say:
“If we want moral clarity in understanding the Khartoum—as opposed to the political "complexities" adduced whenever the regime is the subject—then let us look to Frandala. This deliberate bombing attack on an MSF hospital, by an advanced military jet aircraft, is the very face of the Khartoum regime. It is what the world should see when it looks at these men. Instead, the feckless Europeans, with only a couple of exceptions, accept the legitimacy of the regime and several have done substantial commercial business with it, at least before the collapsing Sudanese economy made the regime's ruthless survivalists even more desperate to do whatever it takes to maintain their monopoly on national wealth and political power. In the process they've made further commercial investment highly unlikely, and the economy will sink even more quickly”.
When I asked a Sudanese friend how she felt about the increasing attacks on schools and hospitals and the international community’s silence, she said:
“They will say nothing. They will do nothing. They do not care about us. Our children are being killed and no-one cares”.
If we allow our hearts to harden in the face of genocide, look away when we should bear witness and remain silent when we should speak up, what hope is there for humanity?