An interesting thought
Columnist Dimitri Vassilaro suggests "The slaughter, rape and torment of the citizens of Darfur would end if humanitarian aid included guns."
Amnesty International responds that
""Fighting fire with fire is not a solution to the genocide. It is a dangerous proposition to arm the minorities to fight back."
After 70,000 people have been killed, isn't it a bit late to worry about making things "dangerous?" Sounds more like it's time for shipments of "Beecher's Bibles."
[Thanks to Joe Olson for this one}
Gun control's best friend
By Dimitri Vassilaros
Friday, April 1, 2005
The slaughter, rape and torment of the citizens of Darfur would end if humanitarian aid included guns.
Darfur is a Texas-size region of Sudan. The Sudanese government and its militia proxies have killed roughly 70,000 civilians, raped and mutilated untold numbers of others and caused about 3 million refugees to live in camps.
udan could teach Serbia a thing or two about ethnic cleansing.
This carnage has been going on since 2003. The Sudan People's Liberation Army, a small band of revolutionaries from Darfur, were the only excuse the government needed to wage war on unarmed citizens in the region, who also happen to be fellow Muslims.
s I was reading story after story about the horrific treatment of the innocents by government-backed forces, I always wondered why there was no mention of the victims fighting back.
"Some do defend themselves," said Bill Garvelink, acting assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance in the U.S. Agency for International Development. The United States has given about $600 million since 2003.
"But Sudan has helicopters and AK-47s. People in the camps have machetes," Garvelink said. International treaties covering humanitarian aid prohibit giving any side arms to defend oneself; otherwise no aid workers would be allowed to bring in supplies to a troubled region.
But Sudan is not allowing aid workers much access anyway so the refugees are caught in the middle, he said.
Amnesty International prefers to end the genocide by moral persuasion instead of self-defense.
"We at Amnesty International are not going to condone escalation of the flow of arms to the region," said Trish Katyoka, director of Africa Advocacy. "You are empowering (the victims) to create an element of retaliation.
"Whenever you create a sword-fight by letting the poor people fight back and give them the arms, it creates an added element of complexity. You do not know what the results could be."
But we do know what they are now.
Self-defense could exacerbate the situation, Katyoka said. "Fighting fire with fire is not a solution to the genocide. It is a dangerous proposition to arm the minorities to fight back."
Better they should be slaughtered.
Katyoka hopes the United Nations can do something -- someday -- to stop the killing. She also hopes Sudan's leaders are charged with crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court. But at this rate, will there be any eyewitnesses left to testify?
Even Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, founder and director of the African Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania -- who was born and reared in Darfur -- does not believe in arming the victims.
"That could create a vicious cycle of violence," Ali-Dinar said. "The cycle now is mainly orchestrated by the government. Give guns to the traumatized and it will definitely get out of hand. There is no limit then, for them to stop."
He, too, hopes the international community comes to the rescue -- someday.
(Ali-Dinar will be speaking 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Avenue in Squirrel Hill. There is no charge for admission. It is sponsored by the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition.)
Darfur is one more reminder that gun control is genocide's best friend.
Ah, what gracious lofty sentiments! This is another good reason why the UN should leave NYC and be there out where the action is, along with all of these bleeding heart humanitarian agencies who spend most of their time as desk jockeys safe in some western urban center.
Posted by: David Rike at April 2, 2005 09:08 AM
I concur. The UN and other "humanitarian" agencies have little to do with reality. Just how humane is it to allow violent, painful extinction instead of a possible escalation of violence or a (gasp) unknown changing of the circumstances? Wouldn't it be nice to at least set a time limit on their "action"? Gee, if asking them to stop doesn't work in X months, we get to try something else. How well can moral persuasion work on a group of people willing to commit genocide in the first place? I'll grant that if the people of Darfur were armed, the killing would not stop immediately but it certainly hasn't with their proposal either. If it were my family they were coming after, I would rather go down at least trying to save their lives than having to stand there and ineffecively pound on someone with my bare hands while they took my children to rape and murder... I'll take the gun, thanks - even if it gets me killed, at least I died trying and hopefully I took some of them with me so maybe my neighbor had a better chance.
Posted by: Julie Lindley at April 3, 2005 09:40 AM
*Self-defense could exacerbate the situation, Katyoka said. "Fighting fire with fire is not a solution to the genocide. It is a dangerous proposition to arm the minorities to fight back.
Better they should be slaughtered.*
Quoted for truth. AI is not interested in solving the situation, but rather on looking like they have the moral high ground while they make ineffectual noises. How noble and useless, like much of the blather coming from international communities, communities that we're supposed to respect.
I prefer to listen to my ancestors as they knew the truth and carried a six-shooter. Justice doesn't come from the barrel of a gun, but evil always thinks twice when stating down one.
Posted by: kresh at April 3, 2005 03:28 PM
Violence begats violence, and it should be the peoples duty that anyone who initates violence gets more violence in return than they can handle.
It is for situations like this that US Special Forces were developed.
Posted by: Don Meaker at April 4, 2005 04:11 PM
When discussing the UN it is important to note that is it a trade association for the executive branch of the various nations. In no way is it representative of the people, or where they separately exist, of the judicial or legislative branches.
Posted by: Don Meaker at April 4, 2005 04:12 PM