At 7 p.m. Wednesday, activist John Prendergast spoke to a crowded Whitley Auditorium. Prendergast, who has worked in the White House under President Clinton, is a vocal activist for taking action in Darfur, and has recently written a book with actor Don Cheadle titled “Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond.”
IT HAS BEEN 18 months since the United States concluded that genocide was taking place in Darfur. Yet President Bush, the only president to declare an ongoing genocide since the term was coined 50 years ago, has done little to stop this crime against humanity.
Why not? The answer may lie in the complex story of Salah Abdallah Gosh. Gosh isn't exactly a household name, but there are two groups of people for whom his name is exceedingly important: U.S. counterterrorism officials and victims of atrocities in Sudan.
Sudan's slow-motion ethnic cleansing campaign in Darfur has elicited an equally slow-motion international reaction, which has almost no impact at all. A U.N. Security Council deadline demanding Sudanese action has been reached without an adequate response from Khartoum. The international response to the horrors in the western region of Sudan remains appallingly ineffectual.
Donors have woefully under-resourced the humanitarian campaign. Their aid is frequently held up by Khartoum, which capriciously cites security problems it itself created by turning loose the Arab Janjaweed militias against the African Muslim population of Darfur.