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by Hama Tuma

Staring from my politically incorrect "tower", I would say the people of Darfur should be feeling good now that they have become the centre of the world's attention much to the chagrin of the Congolese (4 million dead and still no worthy hue and cry) and have been told by one veteran American senator that they have left the hell hole of the Sudan and are now found in Somalia.

American concern over Darfur has always sounded phoney on various grounds especially since such a concern was drummed up by George Bush and Condoleezza Rice. The tears looked too political and cynical and also with the likes of George Clooney in it very "Holywoodish". Remember when the Rwandan genocide happened, America not only looked on but refused to call it genocide and only went as far as stating there may have been "acts of genocide" and not genocide as such). Now that Senator Joe Biden has claimed he wants America to give backing to Darfur in Somalia it has become clear that the so called concern is literally misplaced unless there are Darfurians in war torn Somalia. One can say that Senator Biden has a confused tongue given the fact it trespassed all caution and stated Barak Obama is "articulate and clean" to which the African American has politely replied that he did take his shower that morning. A black fellow who talks some sense and shows coherence usually elicits some surprise from white folks be they leftist or rightist. If you want to be cruel about it would be an "Oh! The monkey speaks English!" kind of thing.

The French intellectual who gives philosopher a bad name, the man who visits a trouble spot for a week or so and emerges as an expert on the area and the region, the very man who wrote verbatim on the last thoughts of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, Bernard Henry Levy, went to Chad, visited the Darfur refugees for a week, came back to France and raised a big hue and cry demanding that the Darfur rebels be armed. The cry has been taken up by the president of France and that fazed champion of "war for humanitarian reasons", Bernard Koutchner, Darfur is on the lips of the officials of the very country that collaborated with the late Habiyarimana of Rwanda and is accused of aiding the genocide of the Tutsis. One French official of SOS Darfur also did a "Biden" and told his TV audience/March 22/ that the conflict on Darfur, beware, is not religious but "racial". As Biden has to explain how the Darfur population shifted to Somalia the SOS Darfur official has to explain how a conflict between Janjaweeds/Africans and Moslems and black/ can have a racial war with Furs and Masalits, etc of Darfur who are also Africans, black and mostly Moslem.

As I said at the beginning, Darfur is hot. Hotter than the Congo where America, France, Britain and others are involved in a day light plunder of that country's riches and at the expense of the lives of 4 million Congolese. Being a naturally rich country in Africa is proving to be a disaster. Congo is an example, the self declared defenders of Darfur are silent on its fate. Equatorial Guinea is oil rich but with a murderous regime that is not condemned but feted by Washington. The poor Mugabe in Zimbabwe, who prodded the nest of vipers by taking the land of some whites is, on reverse, being accused for detaining and beating his political opponents while Washington has not raised a peep to criticize its puppet in the Horn, Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia, who has jailed more than 120 of his political rivals, tortured hundreds, banned the free press and killed close to 200 peaceful protesters who said no to his election rigging. It has actually become almost nauseating to observe the crude double standard that has become the trademark of the West. He is an SOB but our SOB kind of slogan. They see the movie Blood Diamond and pretend they never knew of Sierra Leone (where Britain and even South Africa meddled to assure control over diamonds) and then go on to buy thousands of dollars of diamonds.

Darfur has little to do with race or religion. There is a whiff of oil and of right wing fundamentalist politics at odds with Islamic fundamentalism. Beshir of the Sudan is unsavoury but then again America allied itself with murderous warlords in Somalia, armed and financed them and, at one time long ago, was also a close ally of the Taliban, Osama Bin laden and Sadam Hussein. The cold hearted and cynical politics makes the ongoing concern for Darfur sound hollow. America is arming the rebels of Darfur through other countries in the region though Bernard Henry Levy may pretend he does not know it. Washington meddles and meddles bad--just see Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. Down in the Congo where Kabila junior is holding a year round discount sale of the wealth of the Congo and British and American gold and diamond companies hire militias that wreak havoc in Eastern Congo and a country is being bloodied and ruined, the bloody hands we see first of all belong to America, Britain and France. Can such elements have the moral right o talk of Darfur?

How come those who refused to recognize the genocide in Rwanda now cry and shout genocide in Darfur? How can those who aided and betted the foul murderers in Rwanda and the Congo are now crying genocide in Darfur? How come those who are giving millions to a regime that massacred hundreds in Ethiopia and sent hundreds of opposition leaders to prison till now dare accuse Mugabe? How come indeed. The West hobnobs with African dictators who hand over their nation's wealth, from Gabon to Equatorial Guinea to the Congo and beyond this is what we see. With all the sympathy we have for the people of Darfur and other oppressed peoples in the Sudan it just does not seem right to join the chorus of the Bush and Blair orchestra. Perhaps if Darfur is in Somalia, Bush could order Meles Zenawi to intervene, no?

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