Martin Peretz at The New Republic writes about his frustration that no one is stopping the genocide in Darfur. I’m glad that he’s bringing more attention to this conflict that is too often forgotten in the shuffle, but there are some ridiculous points in his little piece:
One might think that Afro-American organizations in the States and African-American politicians might raise their voices against this infamy. But no. You see, George Bush has actually done this. And he certainly can’t be in the right. I wish he would go further and, as our editorial in this week’s TNR hard copy edition urges, with the U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Australia and, yes, Israel, deploy the troops necessary to save the lives of those whose lives have not yet been taken or simply destroyed.
First of all, Obama Barack and other black lawmakers have been bringing attention to the issue, and seven members of the Congressional Black Caucus were arrested while protesting in front of the Sudanese embassy. So while I agree that the world as a whole has not been giving this issue the attention it deserves, Peretz’s dig at black groups is unfair.
This also made me think of a recent review in The Nation about the understandable ambivalence that many black Americans have felt about Africa. So while I think we all have a moral responsibility to Darfur as humans, I’m not sure that black people have should be held any more responsible than the rest of the world just because they’re black.
Second, Israeli troops? Is he crazy? The Sudanese government has already stated that any foreign troops will be seen as invaders and fought by Khartoum’s forces, so it seems obvious that the more African and Arabic any intervention would be, the better chance it would have of success. American troops (and maybe even British ones) would already be a bad idea, but sending Israelis would guarantee the already likely scenario that such a conflict would be spinned as a religious war against foreign infidel usupers. Peretz should know better than to even suggest such an obviously wrongheaded idea.