Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Daylight from the Arab World?
In a superb editorial, Rami Khouri of the Lebanon Daily Star is the first credible voice from the Arab world to speak out forcefully about the unfolding tragedy in Darfur. Hopefully, there are more.
Say's Khouri, "The relative silence of the Arab world has been one of the striking dimensions of the tragic events in the Darfur region of western Sudan in the past 18 months. Up to 50,000 people may have died and over a million have been made refugees there, as a result of attacks by Arab militias. The international consensus was reflected in the recent UN Security Council resolution giving the Sudanese government one month to disarm the militias and restore security. Human rights groups and governments in the West have described events in Darfur as "ethnic cleansing" and even "genocide," while the Sudanese government rejects these accusations and claims that no more than 5,000 people have died in the region.
Khouri goes on to say, "A troubled Arab citizenry's silent acquiescence in violence and passivity in the face of homegrown atrocity, is today the single most important, widespread symptom of the malaise that plagues this region. It would be a terrible mistake to misdiagnose the Arab silence on Darfur as reflecting some Arab, Islamic or Middle Eastern cultural acceptance of violence. This is, rather, a troubling sign of Arab mass dehumanization and political pacification at the public level, which are largely our own fault due to our acceptance of poor governance and distorted Arab power structures over a period of decades."
A definite must read.