Sudan: Hell on Earth

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir responded to his indictment by the International Criminal Court by expelling foreign aid groups currently providing food, water and medicine in Darfur. Among the groups expelled are CARE International, Doctors Without Borders, and Oxfam. According to press accounts, the groups account for the delivery of as much as 60 percent of the humanitarian aid reaching that impoverished land.

The news is no less crushing for its being expected. No one can be surprised that Bashir has shown himself, yet again, to be a heartless tyrant with no concern for human life and an utter disregard for world opinion. The terms of the indictment are chilling: Bashir systematically committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. For the moment, the Court did not charge Bashir with genocide but indicated it might yet do so.

Advertisement

There are no good answers. The worst thing America could do is respond militarily. As bad as the situation in Darfur is, if you want to make it worse, send in the Marines. Al-Queda would arrive the next day and our on-going struggle with Islamic fundamentalists would be added to the burden already being carried by the people of Sudan. An armed intervention by a coalition of African nations is unlikely as many African leaders have disastrous human rights records of their own and do not welcome anyone from outside meddling.

The situation also illustrates why foreign policy is not for the faint of heart. The Chinese government wields whatever influence can be wielded over Bashir. Those who call for America to protest the human rights abuses in China must be mindful that we are than less likely to gain Chinese support for ending the human rights’ atrocities in Sudan. Those who see international tribunals as the answer must remember the 1970s when the United Nations welcomed a terrorist, Yassir Arafat, to its rostrum while endorsing a resolution that equated Zionism with racism.

No one doubts that Bashir’s conduct warrants the charges leveled against him in the Hague. But, we must all wonder, and pray, whether this indictment will do anything but make life worse for his victims. If there is a Hell on earth, it is Sudan.

 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
9 years 6 months ago
What about sending support to the Bishop of Darfur?
9 years 6 months ago
Hopefully someone has ready More's Utopia. He has some interesting ideas for dealing with thugs such as Mr. Bashir.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Youths attending a pre-synod meeting participate in the Way of the Cross at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome on March 23. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
The meeting of the Synod of Bishops on young people is an opportunity for an ongoing conversation between everyday lived experience and church teachings.
Michele DillonSeptember 21, 2018
Pope Francis ends his official visit to Vilnius on Sunday evening at the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights, housed in the former headquarters of the K.G.B.
Edward W. Schmidt, S.J.September 21, 2018
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark told the people of his archdiocese Sept. 21 that Pope Francis has granted his request that he stay at home to remain with them during this "time of crisis" in the U.S. church.
Catholic News ServiceSeptember 21, 2018
Girls gather for celebrations marking the feast of the Assumption in August 2012 in Aglona, Latvia. Twenty-five years after St. John Paul II visited Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, Pope Francis will make the same three-nation visit Sept. 22-25, stopping at a number of the same places as his saint-predecessor. (CNS photo/Ints Kalinins, Reuters)
He is the second pope to visit these Baltic nations. John Paul II came to the region in September 1993, after the collapse of communism, and was welcomed as a hero. Pope Francis comes exactly 25 years later, but much has changed since that first papal visit.
Gerard O’ConnellSeptember 21, 2018