I’m joining this fast today in solidarity with the people of Darfur, who for six long years have borne the brunt of violence and suffering orchestrated by their own government. As if the brute violence wasn’t enough, Khartoum now is inflicting further trauma on civilians by expelling the aid agencies that were providing life-saving food, water, and medical supplies. President Bashir’s retaliatory move, which came in reaction to the International Criminal Court’s warrant for his arrest, is further evidence that the government of Sudan thinks it can treat its own citizens as pawns. This is unacceptable.
As we fast to draw attention to this latest devastating situation in Darfur, we must also look for ways to press our leaders to develop a strategic vision for U.S. policy aimed at ENDING the cycle of war and famine in Darfur, rather than simply managing the genocidal consequences. What’s needed is for the U.S. to commit to leading the international effort to build a credible peace process in Darfur and to rebuild a viable mechanism to oversee the implementation of the North-South deal.
There will always be immediate crises to address. As activists, we must, of course, press our government do everything it can to address these crises of the day. But we must also keep our eyes on the longer-term prize: a peaceful, democratic Sudan. That should be President Obama’s top priority, and his envoy to Sudan, General Scott Gration, should organize U.S. efforts and work multilaterally to achieve this objective.