Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Darfur: Where is the American black outrage?

What has been described as "the first genocide of the 21st Century" is raging in Darfur, a region in western Sudan the size of Texas. During the past two years more than 400,000 black African Muslims have been slaughtered and more than 2.5 million made homeless.

The perpetrators of this savagry are the so-called Janjaweed, government-sponsored Sudanese Arab militias whose rampages are clearly racially-inspired. A survivor of a Janjaweed raid told a New York Times correspondent that the raiders called her a slave, ridiculed her black skin, and told her that "we cannot let black people live in this land."

The racial component in this humanitarian disaster has been confirmed by other news reports, emphasizing the strong traditional bias of Sudan's Arabs against the nation's black people. What is happening in Darfur mirrors a similar campaign in recent years by Sudan's Arab Muslim regime against black Christians and animists in the southern part of the country.

The mystifying angle in this tragedy is that most Sudanese Arabs are themselves dark-skinned and would probably be considered Negroid elsewhere. But because of their Arab roots and much lighter skin, they regard themselves as racially superior to the fully African, black-skinned tribes of Sudan's western and southern regions. Despite Islamic doctrine that preaches ethnic and racial universality, it is evident that skin pigmentation is an important cultural element in some Arab societies.

Against the horrendous background of racial cleansing in Darfur, where is the outrage in the American black community? Where are the public rallies, boycott threats against Sudan, demands for international action, and other protest demonstrations?

Some African-American community leaders do participate in the Save Darfur Coalition, an alliance of more than 100 human rights groups fighting to halt the butchery and aid the hapless Darfur people. Included in the alliance, not surprisingly, are Jewish organizations which see in the genocide in Darfur a dreadful semblance to the Holocaust.

But I am unaware of an angry outcry about Darfur by the most prominent African-American militants, notably Louis Farrakhan, Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Most striking is the apparent absence of Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, in the effort to defend fellow black Muslims in Africa. If these activists have expressed outrage at the massacres of African blacks by Arab militias, it has certainly been muted.

Ironically, Farrakhan, McKinney and, to a lesser extent, Sharpton and Jackson, continue to devote their energies to bashing Israel and promoting the Palestinian Arab cause. With little critical understanding of the issues in the Middle East, they and some other African-American spokesmen have simplistically demonized Israel.

Instead of continuing to depict the Israelis as colonial ogres oppressing Palestinian Arabs, they should focus on the more relevant issue of the genuine suffering of Darfur's Muslim black people at the hands of Sudanese Arabs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where was the Arab-Muslim outrage when events were going on in Bosnia-Kosovo.

Great post

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 1:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting post, thank you. I've asked myself the same question - omitting the word "American".

Where is the outrage from the black community the world over?

I hope you follow this up and find some answers. Please let me know if you do and I will publish a post on it at Sudan Watch.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 6:11:00 PM  
Blogger BRE said...

First Mortart, let me welcome you to the Blogosphere. An 80-year-old retired professional journalist with a hot blog is a story all by itself. I found your post on Darfur via a link from Global Voices Online by the way.

In regards to why more prominent American blacks do not speakout or act against the genocide taking place in Darfur, Sudan I would have to say that many black leaders in America are trying to do just that (Powell, Rice, etc. etc.). But you are right in that the raised voices and calls to action for an end to the violence and demands for justice for the victims of these atrocities is not nearly widespread and strong enough in American communities. You can forget about the Europeans and much of the rest of the world in re: to Sudan. Their societies have "other" priorities.

I like Ingrid Jones of Sudan Watch et. Al. in the Blogosphere have written a great deal about our personal views, opinions, and outrage re: the GoS strategy of extermination and displacement of black Africans in Darfur and throughout the country of Sudan. I am an African-American who has lived and worked abroad for many years (Europe) so I can't say much about today's African-American leaders since I don't know many of them.

That Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam doesn't speakout against the GoS should be obvious but I won't resort to insults and expressing my feelings about that L-L-S on your blog (out of respect for my elders, mind you). That Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton do not speak up and do more just reveals the nature of their game, they have no game.

If you are really interested in following-up on this issue I would suggest that you research the posts on the blog "Booker Rising". Prominent African-American leaders and thinkers many times share their viewpoints on global issues at Booker Rising.

Also read the November 18, 2004 article by Columbia University professor Mahmood Mamdani titled "Naming the Darfur Crisis" for an Islam-centric viewpoint on the racial aspects of the Darfur genocide crisis.

Hope this is helpful and sorry for making such a long-winded comment and taking up so much space at your place.

Friday, December 02, 2005 7:53:00 AM  
Blogger Observer said...

Hello MortArt:

I am surprised and disappointed that you even bother with that bunch.

Saturday, December 03, 2005 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger BZ said...

I appreciate the entry and must agree. I am disappointed in the world's response to this atrocity. However, unfortunately, such a lack of response only speaks toward the world's apathy for the continent of Africa. We only need to reference the reaction (or lack thereof) to Rwanda in the early 90s. And the lack of attention to the pain and suffering causing hundreds of thousands of deaths per day from AIDS, malnutrition and civil unrest (as opposed to the one-time natural disasters occuring in such strategically economic locations as Southeast Asia). What is more disappointing is people's refusal to acknowledge the fact that Africa is the continent from which millions of enslaved individuals were taken and exploited to provide the economic boost to those countries we now called "developed nations". As now, it appears as only an eye-sore to be neglected and ignored, for it no longer serves our financial best interest. (Reference the disappointing outcome of the G* conference.) Our nation would not possess the economic advantage it does today (nor would many others), if not for the use, abuse and genocide in our own nation of the African people. Do we owe it nothing?

Monday, December 19, 2005 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger Rabbi Ruth Adar said...

Hello Mortart! I recently found an interesting voice from Darfur on the Internet, a blog written by a young woman doing aid work in Sudan:


Thank you for the kind words in your Nov. 16 post!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 2:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is old, but I have to ask - especially in light of your later post concerning Iraq - the U.S. is not in danger from this so why should be get involved?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 11:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why should the US get involved? For that matter, why should any non-Sudense get involved? Because it's the right thing to do. Sitting back and watching our fellow humans murdered poses a far greater threat to our very humanity than any national security concern could.

Friday, April 28, 2006 7:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, this is an issue that really needs to be raised more. The hypocrisy is frightening, they just won't criticize even the most extreme Islam.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe loves
a little genocide

one race against another
intra religion killing

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