The Darfur situation, albeit slightly having improved as of late, has not been getting the same attention from the ‘genocide’ obsessed media of yesteryear. Considering that the ICC’s final ruling is upon us, I thought I might attempt to brush the dust off the Darfur issue and reopen the topic for discussion.
I have recently read a 2007 article written by a Harvard student for The Harvard Crimson. For a business student, Harvard students are demigods; for a business student who enjoys writing, Harvard students who write for The Crimson are religiously admired. However, this particular Crimson contributor has managed to not only write a poorly constructed article, but also write it on a topic based on false pretenses. His article is less about the Darfuri plight and more about the issue of divestment, which I might add is the most adorable solution I have ever heard to combat the war in Darfur. It is almost as pathetic as the “boycott Denmark and Starbucks” chain mails I receive from my mom every day–except more so. Divestment to me seems like a vindictive and dangerous retaliation mechanism rather than a step towards a resolution.
To investigate this idea of divestment further, I contacted Mohamed Yahya, founder and Executive Director of Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy. I have previously met Mr. Yahya, who is from Darfur, and had a brief discussion with him about the situation. Mr. Yahya’s approach to reviving people’s consciousness about Darfur was highly sensationalist and emotionally charged rather than fact-based. Needless to say, I found that objectionable and ungratifying. However, I decided to give this divestment idea the benefit of the doubt, and see if there is any merit to it.
Here are Mr. Yahya’s responses to my questions (I left his responses unedited partly for comedic relief, partly because I’m evil like that.)
Why is it necessary for universities to divest from Sudan? Isn’t Divestment counterproductive and divisive considering it hurts the Sudanese people as a whole?
It is necessary for the Universities to divest from Sudan, because any divestment has a direct impact on Sudan government
which was using the money of investors to fuel the war in Darfur. As we know over 50% of the money goes to buy weapons from China, Russia and other countries to be used in Darfur. Therefore, any divestment will directly affect the Sudanese government. Sudanese people were already hurt by the government violations for their human rights..specially Darfuri people. They already getting
nothing despite the huge investments taking place now. We also have examples of some successful divestment that made a difference in the live of South African people during the Upper tight.*
What are other altrenatives to divestment in which universities could productively voice concern about the Darfur issue?
The alternatives could be: Calling for the implementation of Resolution # 1769 that passed by the UN SC last 2 years July 2007.
Also all Student and the Universities have to support the ICC The International Criminal Court in it’s efforts to bring Al-bashir the President of Sudan to the justice. Universities and all Americans and others need to support the ICC to bring the arrest warrant
against Sudanese president for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. Universities could do more by raising awareness and asking the new administration and the United Nation a long African Union and the International Community to work to bring justice first before peace. Because there’s no justice without peace.**
Do you believe that the situation in Darfur has improved?
The situation in Darfur doesn’t improved yet. Unfortunately, it gotten worse everyday. Still Sudanese government and the Janjaweed militia targeting the Innocent Civilians everywhere in Darfur. Bombing the refugees and the IDP’s Internally Displaced People. Rape and looting is still going on.
*I rolled on the floor laughing when I realized he meant to write ‘Apartheid’
**It tickles me when people regurgitate clichés!
Do you believe divestment to be a valid and viable aid to the Darfur situation? Feel free to answer the questions I asked Mr. Yahya, or otherwise voice your comments about his responses.