Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Time to Applaud the ICC

The warrant has finally been issued and it should be carried out. Omar Al Bashir has demonstrated his complete indifference and lack of empathy for the genocide in Darfur, which if foreign intelligence is to believe he has orchestrated and managed, and furthermore with his appointees and cabinet positions given to members of the JanJaweed has provided more evidence of his unwavering resilience and defiance of the international community. Bashir deserves to be tried by the court. For further information here is an essay I wrote last year that details the complexity of the problem.
(Keep in mind that this was written in the spring so the part dealing with the Olympics is outdated, however the rest and the part about the UN mission is still unfortunately accurate.)

What does the Olympics, Oil, China, Warren Buffet, and the first ever trillion dollar company, have in common? The answer is not a trick question in fact it can all be summed up with one word that ties together these five things. For over fire years now the most inhumane and brutal conflict has engulfed the western region of Sudan. The scope of this conflict is so great that the US congress passed a unanimous bill declaring it genocide. Due to the muddied intelligence that Khartoum has provided the death toll has been placed at between 200,000 and 400,000 with some groups claiming half a million people have died. This would seem like a perfect place to use the saying “history repeats itself”, however this genocide is different from the one that ravaged Rwanda a decade and a half ago. It is more complicated than just one group attacking another, because of the various rebel groups involved. It started when the Sudanese government armed the Janjaweed militia unofficially to combat the threat that it felt the various rebel groups posed to its government. This was an ill-informed and poorly thought out idea, especially considering the fact that the Janjaweed have been known since the 1990’s for their intense hate and several massacres involving brutal killings and rapes. However instead of fighting the rebel groups the Janjaweed instead launched a war against civilians and aided by the Sudanese government have continued to bomb, gun down, and burn, hundreds of thousands of innocent refugees, and civilians.
In a few months the world will huddle around TV sets and flock to Beijing for what is to be the main showcasing of China for the entire world to see. China hopes to display itself as a world leader and a powerful nation, with a successful economy and a proud heritage. To accomplish this China has invested upwards of 30 billion dollars into making stadiums updating transportation, and promoting the 2008 Olympics. China not only plans on making a huge multi billion dollar profit from the 08 Olympics but also has staged the Olympics to show the world the “real” China, the China that has evolved from the brutal days of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, into the world economic power that it has become following those dreadful Communistic years. This is China’s hope, but if the world unites under this proposed plan China could face serious problems. Hosting the Olympics is always a risky business. In an age where the internet and video games have stolen profits from TV and Radio; the Olympics have been struggling to remain the huge attraction that it has always been. As has been proven by past recent failures the hosting city does not always make a profit, sometimes they are launched into deficit. This was the case with Athens and could well be the case of Beijing.
So where is the connection between the Olympics and Sudan? Well, Sudan has paid for this genocide with money that it has made from its oil exports, and the number one buyer of these exports buying over 2/3 of all oil exported is China. China has consistently funded the genocide indirectly by its massive importation of Sudanese oil. In addition to the oil funding the genocide china also sells nearly 2 billion dollars of armaments to countries around the world, including Darfur. The company directly responsible for dealings in Darfur is China’s state run PetroChina Corporation which at its initial public offering (IPO), it managed to become the world’s first trillion dollar company.
Warren Buffet is seen as one of the most generous men in this world, and indeed he is. However his company owned which he controls over 33% of owned over 1.3% of PetroChina, which translates into over 3 BILLION DOLLARS! After activists targeted him and his company he sold nearly all of his shares and PetroChina’s value fell over 40%. This is proof that it does not necessarily take an army to stop genocide. Despite this finding it will take and army one that the UN-and AU have assembled that will be the largest humanitarian relief operation in the world. This mission has encountered enormous difficulties so far as both China and Russia kept vetoing the mission, and then Sudan has interfered and even attacked troops. As of today the mission has been deployed but its success is still hampered by massive amounts of opposition being levied against it by China, Russia, and Sudan.

For more information check out this activist website
and the official website of the UN’s mission
and for a comprehensive overview

So to wrap all this up, I am tired of hearing that if we arrest Omar Al Bashir Sudan will descend into civil war between the South and the North. The fact is, is that the treaty is working and the S. Sudanese government has asserted control and stayed out of Darfur's conflict. Yes, there is the controversy the Somali pirates uncovered with the weapons shipment, but overall I feel that the argument for not arresting Bashir because it will plunge the country into civil war, is not only groundless but is counterproductive

By: Eric Morrel

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