Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Hurray for George Bush!

Tuesday’s announcement by President Bush that he is imposing stiffer sanctions on the Sudan for its genocide in Dafur is welcome news, and puts the rest of the world to shame.

“Too long the people of Dafur have suffered at the hands of a government that is
complicit in the bombing, murder and rape of innocent civilians,” President Bush
said at an 8am press conference. “My administration has called these actions by
their rightful name: genocide. The world has a responsibility to help put an end
to it.”

Too right. After the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, the world’s leaders descended into miserable self-reflection which resulted in a collective agreement never to allow such a tragedy to recur. And yet ten years later it did recur, and now estimates of the death toll range between two and four hundred thousand. If between a quarter and a half as many have died as in Rwanda, then the difference is merely quantitative; in essence, the genocide has happened again, and every government that has stood by and allowed it to happen is stained by it.

This latest ratcheting up of the pressure remains fairly token; while 31 companies and four individuals have been targeted, the Sudanese government has long expected this action and has moved to protect its assets. Nonetheless, this sends a strong signal, and I hope the first of many. It is now beholden on the European Union and any country whose citizens believe in, and whose government claims to uphold, human rights to at least equal these sanctions, and to come together to discuss further efforts to force Sudan’s government to end the state sponsored killing.

Britain’s own government has been timorous in its response – when I confronted Kim Howells on this last year, he fudged the issue. Little of worth has so far come from the European Union. Meanwhile, China continues to invest in Sudan and prop up its murderous regime, and Russia is becoming more obstreperous. However, whether or not we can persuade China to change its ways, or dissuade them and the Russians from vetoing a UN Security Council resolution, we have a duty to do what we can to protect the innocent victims of Dafur.

Our leaders seem to have forgotten. It seems that it takes George W. Bush to put this back on the agenda.


Jeremy Jacobs said...

"It is now beholden on the European Union and any other country whose citizens believe in and whose government claims to uphold human right"

The EU is NOT a country. Besides, what makes you think that the unelected officials in Brussels care two hoots about human rights?

Also, the so called EU has done nothing for those in the Darfur region.

Tom Papworth said...


You are right. That was a typo. It should have read "...the European Union and any country government..."

The EU is indeed not a country, but it is the forum through which European governments work together to co-ordinate sanctions, so that they are more effective. It has nothing to do with unelected officials, however, as these decisions are taken by the Council of Ministers.

I agree that the EU has done nothing for Dafur. That is why I am urging it to act now.

Anonymous said...

Tyrant of the Month

President Omar al-Bashir

jachan said...

action is of course necessary, and genocide certainly seems to be occurring. however these sanctions will merely add to the death toll.

Tom Papworth said...


That very much depends on the type of sanctions. I hope we'll never again see the blanket sanctions that were applied to Iraq. But targetted sanctions at the leaders, their supporters and families, and at key industries - as well as arms, of course - will weaken the regime without harming the majority of the people.

jachan said...

of course it depends on the sanctions, but the people enforcing the sanctions have displayed their lack of concern for human life and their weak grasp of reality many times. looking at recent decisions to place no fly zones over sudan one should question where the US will take these next.

Anonymous said...

Bush is a fuc*ing wa*ker!

Tom Papworth said...

With such insightful commentary, I can see why you remained anonymous!