Thursday, August 23, 2007

Save Darfur: a Chatterati's wet dream

The cause of peace in Africa can never be served by self-righteous liberals in the West who constantly make events on the ground in Africa sound far worse than they really are. These liberal interventionists honestly believe that people will only care about Africa if it can be presented to us in the most horrific way they can imagine.

George Clooney has been one of the worst culprits of only presenting Africa to us in the most lurid, and in many cases, the most inaccurate way possible, it doesn't seem to bother Clooney, who is by no stretch of the imagination an expert on African civil wars, seems to think his hot air on Darfur is beyond criticism and interrogation.

Clooney, and the rest of the Chattering classes in the West have cynically adopted Darfur as 'Our Righteous Cause'. They insist that the civil war in western Sudan is just a simple case of savage Africans trying to wipe out another set of African victims. The propaganda they use is to over exaggerate the scale of the suffering because it suits their morality tale, which is ready-made for simpletons. Indeed, Clooney has nothing of real substance to say that can actually clarify what is precisely going on in Darfur, his constant labelling of the civil war as a genocide is meant to flatter the listener and their sense of self-serving anger. It simply hasn't occurred to Clooney that his demands for Western military intervention in Darfur comes at a time when there was, and still is, a marked decline of armed conflict in the Darfur region.

The Chatterati like Clooney have got what they wanted, 26,000 heavily armed UN personnel roaming around Darfur, telling the Sudanese what to do in their own country. As far as I'm concerned, this is just as cynical as the Bush administrations military adventures in the Persian Gulf. Activists that support the latest UN interventions in Darfur are really no more than western apologists for militarism as a final solution in someone else's country, and to someone else's civil war, all just for their own moral self-gratification.

Save Darfur activists appear actively to distort public understanding of the complex debates that surrounds the question of Darfur, worst still, the relentless good victim verses the evil/Black Nazis presentation of the conflict is in fact having perverse effect on the ground. Indeed, an official from the American State Department back in 2004 told the world's press that instead of standing up and fighting the Khartoum government, the rebel faction the Justice and Equality Movement; "are doing everything possible to keep it going. The S.L.A. has never stood up to the army the way the S.P.L.A. did in the south. Instead, they’ve been very content to sit back, let the village burnings go on, let the killing go on, because the more international pressure that’s brought to bear on Khartoum, the stronger their position grows".

Mahmood Mamdani is an expert in African political affairs, he is also professor of Government at Columbia University, and author of Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War and the Roots of Terror. In a recent essay he explores how Save Darfur activists have slowly transformed the Sudanese civil war into a platform for self-righteous moral posturing. I agree with much of Mamdani's sentiments regarding Save Darfur activists - for they have managed to systematically reduced a complex African civil war, that involves many armed factions and government troops fighting over land, water and grazing rights, down to one single word - 'genocide'. As far as Save Darfur activists are concerned, Darfur can only be described in lurid and exaggerated terminology. Mamdani talks about how newspaper 'writing on Darfur has sketched a pornography of violence’, he adds that liberal interventionists are 'fascinated by and fixated on the gory details, describing the worst of the atrocities in gruesome detail and chronicling the rise in the number of them. The implication is that the motivation of the perpetrators lies in biology (“race”) and, if not that, certainly in “culture”.

Mamdani rightfully calls this the 'pornography of violence', it's for hardcore Save Darfur activist who think nothing of exaggerating the facts about how many people have died in Darfur. Take for example the Save Darfur Coalition who also work closely with Clooney, and all their international campaigns on TV, in the cinema, and their full page adverts in the press, have thought nothing of exaggerating mortality rates in Darfur. The worst thing about all of this, is that very few people will be 'aware' of how Sudan is literally being prostituted by Western interventionists, who appear hell bent on trampling over any Third World countries national sovereignty.

Original source material from here.

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2 Comments:

At 11:36 PM, Anonymous Alastair said...

Thanks, I basially agree with your post. One thing worth noting - it is possible this really is *just* a chatterati / Westminster village / Matt Damon / inside the beltway phenomenon. The Guardian quote mark Malloch Brown today saying, "Malloch Brown believes that 'despite cynicism' the celebrity pressure worked and praised an 'exciting new activism' that was springing up among ordinary Americans. 'The Save Darfur Coalition has done a fantastic job of keeping the pressure on the American public. Bush and Blair both had a great deal of personal passion about Darfur. But there's a limit to what leaders can do if there isn't a heavy level of concern from the public.'" But it seems to me to be the other way around. Politicians are trying to reach out to the public through this thing which is, nonetheless, making very little impact on the public consciousness. None of the major media outlets I can find are providing figures of the number of people who've turned up to any of the pro-intervention protests. The campaign organisations websites haven't yet made any claims about numbers and are leading their newsfeeds with a new clebrity single. The BBC website has some footage of the London event, but I can't watch it on work computers. If I am right that these were strikingly small events we would have to ask why BBC etc are not reporting 'Sudan demonstrations flop'. Can anyone clarify numbers?

 
At 10:24 PM, Anonymous emily said...

Thank you for this article! It is impossible to find accurate information on what is happening in Sudan. I am suspicious of Western journalists and special interest groups who have no interest in providing me with the truth.

It is sad how the news is so dumbed down nowadays that instead of reporting on Africa seriously, broadcasters seem to rely on celebrities posing with poor people, mouthing meaningless platitudes about how the poverty makes them 'feel' - absolutely no information as to where they are or what is going on!

Celebrities are a distraction our leaders exploit to ensure the power of propaganda is never challenged with truth.

These self appointed moral guardians of the universe are more concerned with their own ego and the 'legend' they believe they are bestowing of themselves to history, than for the potentially disasterous future they are condemning generations of Africans to with their posturing for the recolonialisation of this continent.

Africans need to be left alone and protected from invading white people who think they are the worlds saviours.

 

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