Friday, April 09, 2004
There is a lot about the Rwandan genocide at the Black Star Journal. You can start here and just keep scrolling down.
AfricaBlog wonders how much worse the Zimbabwean economy can get.
Here's a new theory on the Equatorial Guinea "coup": The real target was Charles Taylor.
On the last Winds of Change Africa Regional Briefing, I noted that there had been yet another attack against foreign aid workers in Somaliland. In the past, such attacks were thought to be the work of Somali militia, attempting to destabilize the government of their northern neighbor. But at least some suspects are claiming to be members of al Qaeda:
In an interview with Reuters, Somaliland.org reported that Interior Minister Osman narrated that the captured killers confessed to have taken part in planning the murder of Richard and Enid Eyeington, a British couple running the SOS secondary school in Sheikh, Somaliland. They were assasinated in their living room in October, 2003. He explained that the captured suspects have told interrogators that they are members of Al-Queda.
Hard to know what to make of this, but I'll be interested to see if it pans out.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Claudia Rosett asks the question that I've been asking for quite some time:
Gadhafi is about to find out whether his new friends, the U.S. and Britain, care only about disarmament, or if we also stand behind the eloquent speeches of recent times about the deep need for liberty and justice in the Islamic world. Gadhafi is right now running a reality check on just how serious President Bush might be about pinpointing tyranny as the root of terror (which it is). Gadhafi is, as you read this, checking whether his arms deal has bought him license to carry on with complete impunity as a tyrant and trouble-maker in his own nation, and neighborhood--as long as he ships his WMD collection off for study and disposal in Tennessee.
Read the whole thing. And after you do that, write your Congressman and Senators to make sure that they keep the heat on Libya. It's good for the U.S. that Libya is disarming, but it would be good for Libyans if they were free.
Then there was this from a speech by Qaddafi's son:
"Instead of shouting and criticizing the American initiative, you have to bring democracy to your countries, and then there will be no need to fear America or your people,'' said Seif al-Islam Gadhafi. ``The Arabs should either change or change will be imposed on them from outside.''
It's hard to tell if he's serious, but if so, he needs to go back to Libya and have a long talk with his father.
As if to refute my earlier criticism, Kofi Annan is now talking tough on Sudan...
"It is vital that international humanitarian workers and human rights experts be given full access to the region [Darfur], and to the victims, without further delay," Mr Annan said.
...and so is President Bush:
"New fighting in the Darfur region of Sudan has opened a new chapter of tragedy in Sudan's troubled history. The Sudanese government must immediately stop local militias from committing atrocities against the local population and must provide unrestricted access to humanitarian aid agencies," Bush said. "I condemn these atrocities, which are displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians, and I have expressed my views directly to President [Omar] Bashir of Sudan."
A few points...
First, I'm glad that some people are at least talking about this situation. This puts the nasty behavior of the Sudanese government in the spotlight of international attention. That doesn't mean that their behavior will improve, but it's a start.
While Bush doesn't mention the possibility of military action, the chances are good that Sudan will take him seriously. Whether or not you like Bush's policies, he's shown (Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia, Haiti) that he backs up his words with deeds. Surely that fact isn't completely lost on Bashir.
It can't be a coincidence that these statments come on the anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. Of course, much of the media coverage of that anniversary has concerned the question, "Would the international community let it happen again?" (E.g. here.) The answer is most emphatically "Yes."
Granted the rate of killing in Darfur isn't nearly what occurred in Rwanda; nevertheless, this is a case of "ethnic cleansing." Furthermore, this isn't the first time that the Sudanese government has orchestrated this type of thing. It's a pattern of behavior that the international community (so far) has largely ignored.
Here's a thought: If the UN becomes bogged down (as it almost certainly will) and is unable to come to any agreement on how to deal with Sudan, who will be the first to suggest that the U.S. act unilaterally on humanitarian grounds?
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Ten years after -- a time to remember the Rwandan genocide.
Something else worth remembering in all of this is the resilience of the Rwandan people. Granted that the problems Rwanda faces (and continues to face) are much greater than most of us will ever have to deal with, nevertheless, Rwandans seem to be meeting these problems with a certain degree of determined optimism. Without minimizing what still has to be accomplished, the CSM seems to capture the situation.
UPDATE: Head Heeb has more.
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