Darfur is the latest addition to our geographic knowledge for the most hideous of the reasons. This is a terrible way to learn of places. No place is far any more, in this small world. In the last fifty years we came to know many names as signposts of human depravity. Some have faded from memory others still haunt those with conscience.
The end of the 2nd world war brought on the end of the era of European colonialism, ushering fresh breeze of freedom to the billions in the world. There were high hopes that the people who had chafed under the yoke of racism would not let racism or other prejudices stand in the way of emancipation of toiling and suffering fellow humans. The world appeared young and beautiful.
That breeze has turned stale and deadly, leaden with racial hatred.
In first couple of decades the internal problems were explained away as growing pains and after effects of the colonial legacy. Within a few short years most of the independent countries had deteriorated into pseudo-socialist dictatorships or religious tyrannies. With no check on the power of the governments, the rulers got filthy rich with inane slogans for the toiling exploited masses.
The former colonial masters, smarting from the end of the grand era of colonialism, afraid of the spread of communism and opportunity to gain concessions from the dictators or kings, turned a blind eye to the corrupt dictators and controlled them with bribes, loans and arms aid.
By mid seventies many of the newly independent countries had failed and were spiraling down into utter chaos. Many individuals and organizations have been in the forefront of helping the helpless and nudging the conscience of the rest of us. They can and do help in the early stages of a building crisis, but they are not equipped to contain the torrent. The powers that can help; ignore or are involved in some other crises, usually of their own making.
The thresh-hold for the world governments to take notice seems to be, tens of thousands massacred and hundreds of thousands displaced. These crises come with the regularity of seasons. They happen even in Europe, such as Bosnia and Kosovo. But they happen with greater severity in Africa and the world takes a longer time to react to it.
In case of Darfur, it is a shame that the Organization of Islamic Countries as well as the Organization of African Countries have utterly failed. One of the reasons is that they can not chastise others, for what to various degrees they are doing within their own borders.
Through out the human history racial and color prejudice has proven to be a more potent evil than any other prejudice. Time and again religion has either been ignored or more often used as a handmaiden of racial begets.
All the excuses and explanations harking back to colonial and neo-colonial exploitation fall woefully short. They can not wash away the sins, spiritual and temporal, of those involved in this genocide. After initial neglect, a few survivors are helped and very few of the guilty are punished. It infects all of us as a plague. Each of us should do what ever we can and speak out against it in robust voices.
It seems that Liberia crisis happened yesterday, Rwanda the day before, Mauritania, Chechnya, Bosnia, Somalia, one can go on and on. It is time for a task force under the command of the United Nations to attend to these crises in early stages.
This was proposed after the Bosnia crisis, but was ignored. Member countries should pledge a contingent to be activated under the aegis of the UN to be used after a Security Council resolution. It requires thoughtful discussion. It is time to consider it seriously. Had such a force existed, even the Iraq crises could have been avoided.