NAIROBI: There is one surefire way to rile the activists at the Save Darfur Campaign: Suggest that the bloodshed in Sudan’s troubles western region is not genocide. So hats off to Jimmy Carter for doing exactly that during his recent visit to Darfur.
Carter said Washington’s use of the term genocide to describe the situation in Darfur, where international estimates say 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million driven from their homes, was unhelpful.“There is a legal definition of genocide and Darfur does not meet that legal standard. The atrocities were horrible but I don’t think it qualifies to be called genocide,” he said.
So far the US is pretty much the only government to have gone with the definition genocide. A UN investigation concluded genocide had not taken place, European statesmen have not adopted the term and even human rights organisations have decided not to use it for fear of weakening its power. Yet to read some of the reaction to Carter’s statement (Good Ol’ Jimmy, America’s Disgrace: Jimmy Carter) you’d think he had just said Khartoum was entitled to treat its own citizens however it saw fit.
Genocide isn’t happening in Darfur. And at least Carter has gone to the trouble of visiting the place, unlike the US-based genocide campaigners intent on finding genocide wherever they look.