Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Omar al-Bashir to deny everything

When in doubt, deny everything. Especially when you're the dictator of Sudan and the topic is the disaster in Darfur.

Rape? Genocide? Nonsense!

In an upcoming two hour interview with NBC journalist Ann Curry, Omar al-Bashir will apparently be denying that the events in Darfur count as genocide, and even if they did, there's no way the Sudanese government could ever be involved. Why, just take his word for it.

"The same forces behind the attack on Iraq are trying to do the same in Sudan" claimed al-Bashir with a straight face. Furthermore, al-Bashir regards any attempt to paint the events in Darfur as a major catastrophe, much less suggesting that the Sudanese government bears any responsibility, as an insidious American plot to seize Sudanese national resources. "The goal is to put Darfur under their custody, separating the region of Darfur from Sudan."

So what about all the photographs of destroyed villages, smoldering wreckage and dead bodies, not to mention the countless refugees fleeing for their lives? "Yes, there have been villages burned, but not to the extent you are talking about," al-Bashir states, as if the entire affair were a minor misunderstanding. And the depressingly well documented use of rape as a weapon in Darfur? Omar al-Bashir wants to put everyone's fears to rest on that topic. "It is not in the Sudanese culture or people of Darfur to rape. It doesn't exist. We don't have it."

So there you have it. I suppose we can all stop worrying about Darfur, because his excellency has finally set the record straight. No genocide, no rape, no problems!

For what it's worth, I've already mentioned how Omar al-Bashir might as well be telling the truth for all the good the international outrage over Darfur has done. Western human rights activists are attempting the unspeakably stupid task of trying to shame al-Bashir by attempting to prick a conscience we already know he doesn't even have. At the same time, we see how western politicians are paying lip service to the outrage about the Darfur issue by levying economic sanctions that Sudan doesn't even care about. The West certainly could end the Darfur crisis with a military response, but gosh, that's not very popular with the voters, and besides, can't the United Nations or African Union take care of it?

Of course they can't, and there's nobody more aware of it than Omar al-Bashir. So if you watch his farcical interview with NBC, don't get angry with al-Bashir when he lies through his teeth about Darfur. You should be getting angry with yourself for electing spineless leaders who acknowledge the genocide and then sit on their hands rather than fulfilling their obligation to actually stop it.

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