Today, we stand in the middle of what history will record as the first genocide of the 21st Century. The African Union, who have been providing a tenuous string of peacekeeping forces to the border area of Darfur, are preparing to leave the country after the Sudanese government announced that they would not allow United Nations forces to replace their mission.
Even as President Bush addressed the nation about the memory of 9/11 and claimed that “we must put aside our differences, and work together to meet the test that history has given us,” he once again shows that his focus lies in ideological struggles and not humanitarian ones. Clearly, this administration like others before it, are blind to the implications that yet another genocide will have on the global community.
As Romeo Dallaire (Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda) wrote in a letter to the CBC:
This nation, without any hesitation nor doubt, is capable and even expected by the less fortunate of this globe to lead the developed countries beyond self-interest, strategic advantages, and isolationism, and raise their sights to the realm of the pre-eminence of humanism and freedom.
The nation he was referring to was his own – Canada – but his words are even more apropos for the United States. Not only do we have the strength and finances to intervene in times of crises, we have the humanitarian services to aid those who need it. The only thing we lack is a will of leadership.
Wilson — The Armenian Genocide (1.5 million)
Roosevelt — The Holocaust (11 million)
Nixon — The Burundi Genocide (150,000)
Ford/Carter — The Cambodian Genocide (1.7 million)
Reagan — The Kurdish Genocide (50,000)
Bush/Clinton — Bosnian Genocide (8000 +)
Clinton — Rwandan Genocide (937,000)
In a memo detailing Clinton’s lack of response to the genocide in Rwanda, President Bush wrote a (now famous) message in the margins that said: “NOT ON MY WATCH.” To which I feel compelled to reply, “Welcome to the club, Mr. President.”
Bush — Darfur (400,000 and climbing)