Issue 1, May 2008
|Introduction: Why It Matters|
Genocide cannot be allowed to continue: A humanitarian crisis of monumental proportions is playing out in our global community at this very minute – not in history books or in stories of horrible times past. Millions of innocent people (many of them women and children) have been driven violently from their homes; hundreds of thousands have been killed. The devastation is having a terrible impact today and will continue to plague generations to come. Despite cries of “never again” after the Holocaust, Bosnia and Rwanda, this tragedy is unfolding right now in front of our eyes. It is our human responsibility to understand the reasons why it is happening and how it can be stopped.
Sudan is becoming a failed state and a terrorist hotbed: In an increasingly borderless world, events thousands of miles away have real, tangible repercussions worldwide. The problems of Africa’s largest nation are already affecting its immediate neighbors and will impact Western nations as well. Unmitigated violence, conflict and poverty furthers the spread of extremism, weapons, and terrorism worldwide.
Accountability is key to stopping future human rights violations: The atrocities that are occurring in Darfur today, like those in genocides past, are being committed in part by the Government of Sudan. When states not only fail to protect their populations, but use their authority to harm civilians, their crimes set terrible precedents. If governments are not held accountable for these human rights violations, seeds are planted for future atrocities. Impunity increases the likelihood of similar tragedies occurring again in the Sudan and worldwide.
Without action, this will happen again: The crisis in Darfur is the ultimate test for the international community in global problem solving. Many of the key issues that challenge us in the 21st Century coalesce in this catastrophe: conflict, poverty, racism, underdevelopment, refugees, poor governance, environmental degradation, global warming, Islamic extremism, arms proliferation, petro-politics, government-sanctioned violence, ethnic cleansing, competition between outside powers, the rise of China, multinational trade in an era of globalization, and, ultimately, the frailties of human nature. Global society can learn from the interaction of the complex issues at play in Darfur in order to more quickly respond to and neutralize future potential conflicts.