July 1, 2004 Special Dispatch No. 736

Former Editor of Major Arab Daily on Arab Indifference to the Violence in Sudan

July 1, 2004
Sudan | Special Dispatch No. 736

The London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat published an op-ed by the paper's former editor Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, titled "The Death of 300,000 People." In the article, Al-Rashed decried the Arab media's indifference to the violence in Sudan. The following is the article: [1]

'They are Not the Victims of Israeli or American Aggression; Therefore, They are Not an Issue for Concern'

"They are not the victims of Israeli or American aggression; therefore, they are not an issue for concern. This is how an approach of indifference towards others outside the circle of conflict with foreigners, and of permitting their murder, is spread as you read and write about the Darfur crisis and consider it an artificial issue, or one unworthy of world protest.

"Is the life of 1,000 people in western Sudan less valuable, or is a single killed Palestinian or Iraqi of greater importance, merely because the enemy is Israeli or American? According to estimates by U.N. delegations inspecting what is happening in the [Darfur] region, 300,000 Sudanese are in danger of liquidation because of the ongoing war there.

"The legal department of the U.N., for its part, says that this is a massacre, and will be treated like Bosnia-Herzegovina, and senior Sudanese officials will be punished like the Serb rulers of Yugoslavia were judged."

'It is a Grave Matter that Government-Sponsored Forces or Militias Should be Allowed to Carry Out the Annihilation of People'

"It is a grave matter that government-sponsored forces or militias should be allowed to carry out the annihilation of people in order to achieve quick or decisive victory. And here is the United Nations, which established legislation requiring intervention and depriving the state of its internal sovereignty, and viewing the matter [of the massacre] as international – which makes it possible to bring the accused, especially the high-ranking ones, to trial.

"Is this what the Sudanese want? I imagine that the Sudanese leadership, with its political and security sense, cannot possibly agree to get involved in the most dangerous accusation that can be leveled at it – namely, genocide. Everything that they have built for their own interest will collapse in a single moment if they leave things to murder squads or militias that have broken out of the authority of their leaders. There will be no one that can stop international trials, and none would stand by the accused leaders, and they will meet the same end as Milosevic, who believed that the world would never intervene and that the political balance would never tip and bring down his regime, and that the ally state Russia would never abandon him, and that even should his regime be overthrown, it was inconceivable that he would be brought to international trial. Now he rots in a prison cell, like any other prisoner, wishing history could turn back so he could rectify his deeds."

'It is Important to Understand the World After the Fall of Belgrade'

"Therefore, it is important to understand the world after the fall of Belgrade. For this was an important turning point in the way international bodies understand the meaning of national rights and the inviolability of sovereign states.

"It is no exaggeration to ring the warning bell to alert the Sudanese government [to the fact] that what happened to the Fur of Sudan, and what may yet happen to them, is a matter of the utmost seriousness. None here are talking about the political aspect, which is not a matter of controversy, for we are in favor of the unity of Sudan, and first of all Darfur. However, this should not go together with the massacre of thousands of people, or throwing them out of their villages and letting state-sponsored militias protect their rights as they see fit. No! This measure will in fact ultimately lead to the state being accountable for the end result.

"As for Arab intellectuals who see nothing in the world but the Palestinian and the Iraqi causes, and who consider any blood not spilled in conflicts with foreigners to be cheap and its spilling justifiable – they are intellectual accomplices in the crime. Before them, the Serbs used historical justification, modern analogies, and permitting the murder of other ethnic groups to impel their army to kill Muslims and to convince the people of the justice of the campaign."


[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 24, 2004.

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