You remember Darfur, right? It is that region in Sudan where militias are raping and killing locals. These militias are said to be under governmental orders to carry out acts of violence against the locals. Does any of this ring a bell?
Everybody in Hollywood and points East have jumped onto the bandwagon to help the people of the region with humanitarian aid, education of the world to their plight and to try and exert some pressure on the government of Sudan. Actors, some politicians, NBA stars, a lot of Americans are trying to help the best way they can–that is by bringing the plight of the people of Darfur to the media. So far the news is getting out, but getting out slowly, unfortunately.
Guess what! Today, 29/05/07, the President of the United States of America had a news conference, and no a bird did not crap on him, this time, he announced the US would impose sanctions on the government of Sudan, in an effort to get the Darfur situation settled.
A statement made by the Prews during his news conference. “I promise this to the people of Darfur,” Bush said at the White House. “The United States will not avert our eyes from a crisis that challenges the conscience of the world.”
Here is the gist of what the Pres is calling for:
With international diplomatic efforts to halt atrocities in Darfur at a standstill, the President announced three measures intended to change the calculations of the regime in Khartoum and intransigent rebel leaders. First, the U.S. will add 31 Sudanese companies to a list of 130 that are already denied access to the U.S. financial system. Second, the U.S. will freeze the assets of three of the many individuals responsible for the violence in Darfur. And finally, it will “seek” a resolution at the United Nations Security Council to impose targeted sanctions on individuals and expand an ineffective arms embargo that has been violated with impunity.
Comments from allafrica.com:
Three people? After four years? And not one of them the real ringleader of the policy to divide and destroy Darfur? And once again the U.S. is going alone? This is not leadership. This will not create missing leverage. This will not build multilateral pressure. And this will not end the crisis in Darfur.
What small steps that have been announced are largely due to tireless activism from concerned citizens, persistent efforts by members of Congress from both sides of the aisle pressuring the White House, and the president’s own demands for tougher policy options. However, the current Plan B is too unilateral in nature and much too weak to have an impact on the calculations of either Sudanese officials or intransigent rebel leaders.
Ok, why did the pres really hold a news conference on Sudan? WAKE UP! Smell the coffee! Elections! He is trying to take a weapon away from the Dems. Bush can be criticsed but he can say at least it is a start. Meanwhile, the people of Darfur will continue to suffer and die!