Friday, February 25, 2005


I crashed early last night, and didn't get to post on the other things I wanted to post on. Ah, well -- I needed the sleep. I'm off to New Jersey this afternoon (wish me luck driving in the snow). But first, I'll share with you one of the more unsettling things I've read lately. A column in the New York Times Wednesday makes reference to a Sudanese internal memo:
The archive also includes an extraordinary document seized from a janjaweed official that apparently outlines genocidal policies. Dated last August, the document calls for the "execution of all directives from the president of the republic" and is directed to regional commanders and security officials. "Change the demography of Darfur and make it void of African tribes," the document urges. It encourages "killing, burning villages and farms, terrorizing people, confiscating property from members of African tribes and forcing them from Darfur."
And it includes horrific pictures and worse descriptions:
Last is the skeleton of a man or woman whose wrists are still bound. The attackers pulled the person's clothes down to the knees, presumably so the victim could be sexually abused before being killed. If the victim was a man, he was probably castrated; if a woman, she was probably raped. There are thousands more of these photos. Many of them show attacks on children and are too horrific for a newspaper. One wrenching photo in the archive shows the manacled hands of a teenager from the girls' school in Suleia who was burned alive. It's been common for the Sudanese militias to gang-rape teenage girls and then mutilate or kill them. Another photo shows the body of a young girl, perhaps 10 years old, staring up from the ground where she was killed. Still another shows a man who was castrated and shot in the head.
Not many people in the U.S. are hearing about Darfur these days, and that's something of an outrage.
What will really stop this genocide is indignation. Senator Paul Simon, who died in 2003, said after the Rwandan genocide, "If every member of the House and Senate had received 100 letters from people back home saying we have to do something about Rwanda, when the crisis was first developing, then I think the response would have been different." The same is true this time. Web sites like and are trying to galvanize Americans, but the response has been pathetic.
One more website, for refugee camp relief efforts (not the same as stopping the genocide, but also critically important): Oxfam America: Crisis in Sudan. Those pages will tell you how you can help.


  1. Nicholas Kristof had a (gruesome) pictorial on the NYT Op-Ed pages last week.

  2. Thanks, Joe -- that's the column I was quoting from, but I forgot to link it!