Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Protesting for Darfur in London

On Sunday a friend of mine and I went to the Day for Darfur protest in London. It started in front of the Sudanese embassy which is just off the end of Pall Mall; there was some chanting and several interesting (but occasionally unintelligible) speeches. After that we walked towards Downing Street, taking the long route along Piccadilly. Here are some pictures I took while walking down Whitehall, looking back towards Trafalgar Square:

and forward towards Westminster:

There were more people than I expected, and despite my cynicism the worldwide protests may be having some small positive effects:
Sudan is expected to withdraw its deadline for African Union peacekeepers to leave the war-torn western region of Darfur at the end of this month, when AU foreign ministers discuss the mounting crisis in New York today, according to senior officials in Khartoum.
Sudanese president Omar al Bashir's ultimatum for an AU troop pull-out threatened to leave the huge area with no international monitors and provoke a major escalation of a three-year war which has already left a quarter of a million people dead.
A special "global day for Darfur" yesterday saw protesters in several dozen cities around the world call for an end to the fighting and warn of impending genocide.
Those who know me won't be surprised to learn that I favour a more vigorous approach:
Led by the United States, the UN security council has called for international forces to replace the AU troops with better equipment and a stronger mandate. Although the resolution says the troops require the consent of Sudan's government, President Bush hinted at the weekend that they should go in regardless.
"What you'll hear is, well, the government of Sudan must invite the United Nations in for us to act. Well, there are other alternatives, like passing a UN resolution saying we're coming in with a UN force in order to save lives," he said.
I doubt that will happen, but I firmly believe that if the international community is any more conciliatory than that, it will be condoning the continuation of genocide (once again).

1 comment:

Michael said...

The real problem in Sudan is that it's just one group of muslims, (the Arab government) killing another group of muslims (sub-Saharan African blacks). Why should the west care? Muslims killing muslims isn't news.

Now if some Israelis went down there, and killed some muslims, there'd be a Security Council resolution in no time at all!

What, me bitter?