In 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama said it would leave “a stain on our souls” if the West continues to ignore Sudan. Six years later, President Obama is ignoring the atrocities in Sudan and humanitarians are taking notice.
Actress Mia Farrow and author Daniel Jonah Goldhagen penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal about Obama’s silence over the genocide committed by Sudan President Omar al-Bashir.
President Obama’s critics have denounced his foreign-policy choices, which they believe have weakened the global credibility of the U.S. But Mr. Obama has managed to avoid scrutiny about his most tragic foreign-policy failure: standing by as Sudan’s Islamic regime perpetrates a slaughter against its own citizens who belong to non-Arab ethnic groups. Bashir continues a 10-year annihilation, slaughtering many tens of thousands, and very likely more.
Obama criticized President Clinton for not acting in Rwanda and President Bush for ignoring Sudan. Obama and Susan Rice promised they would never sit back and allow innocents to be murdered by their dictators. Farrow and Goldhagen point out he went to Libya even though there was no evidence of massacres or ethnic cleansing. They want to know why he is still ignoring Sudan.
So why does Sudan not deserve the same consideration? An enormous number of civilian lives are at risk in Darfur. Bashir’s assaults against the people of Sudan have escalated in intensity. Some three million people are living–if you can even call it that–in refugee camps under wretched conditions. They lack food, water, sanitation and basic medical attention. Hundreds of thousands of children are growing up malnourished with stunted growth and damaged cognitive abilities. If they survive, they are left without an education to a lifetime of suffering, with many likely to eventually succumb to disease.
The camps are not safe. Those loyal to Bashir attack them and rape the women and children. Bashir has cut off the media and threw out the UN and humanitarian groups. Yet, Obama appears to forget the speech he gave in 2007 about the Darfur region in Sudan.
There is a moral imperative to help the people of Darfur, which President Obama once articulated well. In 2007 he said, “Today we know what is right, and today we know what is wrong. The slaughter of innocents is wrong. Two million people driven from their homes is wrong. Women gang raped while gathering firewood is wrong. And silence, acquiescence and paralysis in the face of genocide is wrong.” He made his solution clear: “We’ve got to have a protective force on the ground.”
The UN is meeting in New York and America did deny Bashir a visa because he is facing international war crimes and genocide charges. Foreign Affairs Minister Al Ahmed Karti used Sudan’s time at the UN to protest the denial.