By Michael Kleinman, Change.Org’s Humanitarian Relief Blog, 09 March 2009
A quick round-up of some of the more interesting Darfur-related posts over the past few days:
“International justice is a virtuous enterprise, but not risk-free. Sudanese people are already paying a high price for the abandonment of the diplomatic approach that has yielded such benefits over the last four years. We fear there is more to come: NGO expulsions, actions against UN staff members and, worst of all, a go-slow or reversal of commitment to elections and self-determination for Southern Sudan. There will be no justice in Sudan without peace. When peace and justice clash, as they do in Sudan today, peace must prevail.”
“The response of the blog ‘Wronging Rights’ to the arrest warrant had it about right, “@)*&U#*()$&!!!!! Are you KIDDING ME?????) @*($)%&)%>>>>>>&*#^%*#&%^>.”
This pretty much sums up international policy too. Such incoherence, tinged with panic and righteous anger, is a terribly bad basis for taking irrevocable steps. Under other circumstances, the UN Secretary General and the Security Council would step in to calm things down and offer a face-saving formula for both sides. But there’s no obvious way to de-escalate this conflict–imagine the columnists’ response to the SG if he were brave enough to try (’coward’ and ‘appeaser’ would probably be the first adjectives used).”
(To which I would add – paging Nicholas Kristof.)
“When something like an ICC warrant comes floating down into Sudan, it’s not blind, impartial justice. It is an act of power, directed at one party to an ongoing conflict. If it takes full effect, and Bashir gets sent to the Hague, then it is a coup removing a leader from power. And while there are a lot of organizations that think that’s a good idea (The Enough Project does, to judge from this detailed report), if that’s what the international community is doing, shouldn’t we acknowledge it? ‘Ocampo deposes President’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as ‘ICC issues arrest warrant.'”
- And, just to add a little excitement, I give you Kevin Heller of Opinio Juris, writing in response to my suggestion that the international community cut a deal with Bashir:
“Kleinman’s response to Michelle’s question [what would I do in Darfur] was a non-answer: she was asking him to explain his long-term solution for Darfur, not his short-term solution. And his response was… silence.
That is an unacceptable position for someone who so savagely criticizes anyone who dares support the arrest warrant. Does Kleinman really believe that this time — unlike all the others — Bashir will pursue peace and help the Darfuris if the international community leaves him alone? If so, he should say so openly. But if not — if he doesn’t believe that doing nothing is enough — I think it behooves him to (1) tell us what actions the international community should take instead of pursuing Bashir’s arrest, and (2) explain to us why those actions will be more likely to influence Bashir’s behavior.
I would be very curious to see Kleinman’s answers, especially to the second question…
In his attack on Kristof, Kleinman wrote that ‘what’s delusional — if not dishonest — is the refusal to admit that perhaps [the arrest warrant] wouldn’t work.’ I would suggest that what is equally delusional, if not equally dishonest, is for Kleinman to refuse to admit that doing nothing won’t work, either.”
A taste of my own medicine, as it were. At the least, Heller raises a number of interesting points, to which I’ll respond manyana. Oh, the rumble, it continues.
- Finally, please check out my genocide co-blogger Michelle for detailed updates on what’s happening on the ground, and behind the scenes.