The situation in Darfur is truly horrific. People are dying by the thousand every week, the Janjaweed continue to wage brutal warfare against a civilian population. Media outlets and celebrities have spent a lot of time detailing the human rights violations going on over there, and anyone who isn't aware of what's happening is willfully ignorant or chronically stupid.
George Bush has been personally informed of what's happening. He claims to be a diehard Christian. He claims to care.
Still, we do nothing.
Some think that it's because, in America, black lives are worth less than white lives. This is undeniably true. Whether it's the healthcare system, our courtrooms, or our actions overseas, the blacker the skin the lower the value we place on its wearer.
Some say that it's because Darfur, unlike the Sudan has no real natural resources. Certainly this plays a role. Every empire throughout history has used military might as a way of gaining resources, and if Darfur were full of oil or metals or other things we need our intervention would be much more likely.
Some argue that it's about military overextension. Despite the fact that our army is designed to to fight two wars at once it is clear that Iraq has stretched it to its breaking point, and there's no way we could launch a full scale operation over there.
Some point to the fact that the Saudis and other OPEC members are supposedly financing the Janjaweed, and think that our government doesn't want to antagonize them by interfering in a place where there's no potential strategic value.
All of these are valid and important points, but ultimately this is about murder. Rape and murder. We don't care about those things. Not when they don't affect us directly. Humans are tribal and as much as we like to talk about some sort of universal morality, we care a lot more about our neighbor than some dude who lives halfway across the globe.
We let the Holocaust happen. We did nothing to quell the slaughter in communist Russia and China. We tsk tsked Pol Pot and Idi Amin. We bombed Bosnia, but that was more about creating distraction than actually stopping slaughter.
Never again is a refrain we hear whenever there's a horrific genocide. We look back at the inaction of previous generations and we cluck at their ignorance and failure to DO something to stop it. But when our turn comes around to put up or shut up, when it's time to spend the money and send the men to actually DO something, well, there's always an excuse. There's always a reason.
Let's stop saying never again. It will happen again. Darfur isn't the end. It will happen until people stop being provincial and short-sighted and start caring for others regardless of color, creed, or distance. It will keep happening as long as vast inequities exist between the haves and have nots, and until people stop viewing force as a legitimate means to obtain land or money or sex.
I wouldn't hold your breath.