About Fuckin' Time
The UN has tripled its task force in Darfur.
The Bush administration has called the conflict "genocide," and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called the conflict "the greatest humanitarian disaster the world faces today."
That's according to CNN. You can see that story here.
You know, for all my bluster and venom, I don't hate George Bush. I hate his administration. I hate his politics. I hate most of his actions in his two terms. Him, though, I consider harmless. I ultimately think he chose the wrong advisors, got the wrong politics, and was naive as all fuck.
Now, though, I think he's legacy-making. And he's doing it, likely, for all the right reasons, and maybe a few of the wrong ones, but let's stay positive here.
We finally, at long last, have statesmen and nation heads declaring Darfur for exactly what it is: a cryin' fuckin' shame, and something that has gone on far too long and cost far too many lives. It's the original "how the hell did we get here" dilemma. How in the hell did it have to amount to -- stay with me here -- what the US State Dept says is 200,000 dead, or what the National Geographic said nearly a year ago was more than 500,000 dead before we finally realized "uh, okay, now THAT was one corpse too many"?
Fuck, man. Philip Gourevitch (hope I spelled that right) in We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families analyses the politics of numbers and the weight of our casualties versus theirs. But you just have to keep coming back to what in the hell makes the 176,854th corpse any more horrific than the 72nd?
About fucking time.
We have the privilege of living in a time and place that is almost ubitiquously accessible. You wanna know what's going on there? We got pictures. At the push of a button and a flicker of a screen, you go anyplace your heart desires. Just type "toilet cam" on Google and see how freakishly true my words are. I dare ya.
Okay, so no one broadcasts much of North Korea, but that place is gonzo anyhow.
Back to Darfur. We know like we've never known before. Back a century ago the first ever international human rights movement was gaining power throughout the western world. Why? A little invention called photography. It was with the birth of portable photography that we had a real, inarguable bit of proof of the kinds of travesties unfolding on the Congo River in the rubber trade. It took 10 million corpses before an international body pressured Belgium into better behaviour.
Now we can see these mass killings happen more quickly. Surely 200,000/600,000ish is a little excessive?
But who am I to rain on anyone's parade? We got more guys who are not able to shoot their guns (no, seriously) in a country full of machetes and automatic weapons, but hey, they have presence and it's sure to be at the very least a start. I can live with a start. (We'll see how many else can, tho.)