More than Bad Luck for Darfur

In Uncategorized on March 11, 2009 at 4:08 PM

            So I’ve been told that 13 is an unlucky number… well in the realm of the Sudan, the number 13 holds much more weightiness than luck.

            The Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir has ordered the removal of 13 non-governmental organization (NGO) humanitarian aid groups from his country. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there are an estimated 70 other organizations that will continue to operate in Darfur, but these thrown out 13 account for more than half of the humanitarian assistance.

            Halting their operations would leave 1.1 million people without food, 1.5 million without healthcare and at least one million without drinking water, as claimed by the UN. Aid totaling around $2,000,000,000 annually.

            This Sudanese Presidential move by President Al-Bashir came the day after the International Criminal Court at The Hague issued an arrest warrant for him for the five-year campaign of violence in his country.

            “We will fill the gap left by the NGOs,” claimed the insolent President at a rally on March 8 in the North Darfur state capital El-Fasher. Government spokesman Kamal Ibaid gave more explanation, “What had been provided by those organizations to people in Darfur could simply be provided by national organizations,” And if these aren’t enough to calm your worries check out a website titled, Sudanese Media Center. The site reports Undersecretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mutrif Siding, as saying, public service and security are the sole responsibility of the government. The first, and only seen, plan that would prove this to be true is in three months stock worth of medicine.

            Three months of medicine among the hordes of unattended problems about to be exposed by the NGO expulsion… sounds like a plan.

            How can a government that allows one of the worst genocides in history be entrusted with the relief work of 13 successful humanitarian organizations? They can’t. It’s their tangled heap of problems, and until they cease to continue building this heap of a mess, they can’t be trusted to clean it up.

            For example, it’s like the Sudan government is a guy spilling/pouring coffee on beautiful white silk cloth (Darfur being the beautiful cloth) and the NGOs are a dry cleaner. If the dry cleaner is removed and the guy, who is continuing the spilling, says he’s going to clean it, the problem will only get worse.

            At the White House, last Thursday night March 5, officials in the Obama administration congregated with NGOs currently operating in the genocide-ridden country to discuss these recent developments.

            “U.S. officials listened to the concerns of the NGOs, particularly regarding humanitarian needs that will go unmet in the wake of the expulsion of aid groups,” acting State Department Spokesman Gordon Dugiid told reporters. Dugiid also reported that the Obama officials “expressed deep concern.”

            The United States is one of many countries urging the Sudanese government to reconsider the decision. Prustice will be watching.




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