Ten Years After Rwanda

June 3, 2008
Never Again

a found poem
with thanks to Salih Booker & Ann-Louise Colgan
The Nation, July 12, 2004

Ten years after Rwanda
Genocide unfolding again
Promises of “never again”
World watches
Darfur is genocide

Failure of United States
To act in Rwanda
Cost 800,000 lives
1 million people
in Darfur, Sudan
face a similar fate
government campaign to destroy
a portion of its population

Humanitarian emergency grows
No indication
United States or the United Nations is prepared to intervene

Khartoum government
Block relief program
30,000 people killed
a million internally displaced
people may still die

Civil war with only a ten-year pause
In Darfur, Sudanese government
Destroying African Muslim communities
Because some have challenged Khartoum’s authoritarian rule
Conflict between north and south
Ethnic and racial identities
Khartoum rules by force
Cannot represent majority of northerners

United States
Involved in promoting peace in Sudan
As long as the government
Is waging genocide in Darfur
United States cannot pretend
That a meaningful peace deal can be achieved

Permanent members of the UN Security Council
The Genocide Convention
bound to prevent and punish genocide
genocide, a crime in international law
“intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”
130 countries worldwide
hesitate on Darfur
economic and diplomatic interests
action will depend
on the United States

obligation to act
treaty obligation
involvement in Sudan’s peace process
US intelligence, track militia
Troops in nearby Djibouti
Could be mobilized quickly
Lead a multinational force to secure the region
Until a UN peace keeping force can be assembled

G-8 summit
Leaders of world’s riches and most powerful countries
Merely urged Sudan to disarm militia
In Europe
Summit would have focused on little other than intervention

Worst humanitarian crisis in the world
Unless immediate military intervention
A million could die this year
Should have learned from Rwanda
To stop genocide
Washington must first say the word.

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