October 17th, 2004

Sudan

How did Darfur Happen?

It doesn't actually answer that question, but since I didn't know anything about the background of the catastrophe over there, it was a useful article.

What a declaration of genocide certainly would not do is to lend greater clarity to what is happening on the ground. If this is a genocide, it doesn't look very much like those we've known before. No public proclamations about ''the enemy within,'' no extermination lists, not even Interhamwe mobs butchering Tutsis in the streets of Rwanda. Instead, it is shadowy, informal; the killing takes place offstage. It is the destruction of a people in a place where it is virtually impossible to distinguish incompetence from conspiracy. Is that by design, the sheer evil genius of it all, or just more evidence of a government's utter haplessness? A genocide may, it seems, occur almost inadvertently.