The Darfur advocacy movement has been going through a period of self-examination. A new American president, a changed pattern on the ground and a growing realisation that conditions for many of the displaced have not eased despite almost six years of campaigning has provoked some headscratching about the way ahead.
Readers of this blog will know my thoughts on the misguided analysis and wrongheaded policy prescriptions that have dominated the debate. So I’ll not be banging that drum again, which brings me neatly (ahem) to a wholly positive development in the field of Sudan advocacy.
The Sudan365 campaign, which began its noisy efforts last week, seems a good thing for the following reasons:
- It combines pure advocacy groups (Save Darfur, Amnesty International) with a lot of behind the scenes input from humanitarian agencies which have direct, first-hand experience of Sudan
- It has shifted the focus from purely Darfur to examining the conflict there in a pan-Sudan context, bringing the problems of the South back on the radar
- And, while making loads of noise and headlines, its policy prescriptions are limited. It has created the space for policymakers to consider the issues, without pushing its own unaccountable agenda
And finally, although I’m pretty certain that drums are rarely a symbol of peace, at least this particular tool of advocacy is familiar to people in Africa and Sudan. Unlike dolls houses…