ME and Ophelia

Monday, June 07, 2004

- - -

Mr Hilary Benn went to Khartoum yesterday

According to a report in the Guardian on June 5, 2004, pointed to by Bob Piper: Britain's international development secretary, Mr Hilary Benn, went to Khartoum yesterday to (1) press the Sudanese to end a system of permits required for internal travel for humanitarian agencies (2) he will also ask Customs to lift blocks on aid.

I wonder what has taken Mr Benn so long?

Update: see The Horn of Africa: "Here, Have some Bad News"
- - -

"If we get relief in, we could lose a third of a million -
If we do not, it could be a million"

Warm thanks to Jim Moore, Dan O'Huiginn and Joanne Moore on their voluntary work at Passion of the Present on Sudan. It must feel emotionally draining at times. Most of the posts here on genocide and the Sudan are met by stoney silence. But I don't take it personally. I've noticed the same elsewhere. Not many bloggers seem interested in discussing such matters. Blogging about it may seem hopeless but it feels so empowering because getting help to people who are suffering so badly may be (if there were enough of us bloggers helping) just a few keyboard strokes away...

One can empathise with Patrick Hall when he writes:

"I've spent the last several hours reading about a crisis that appears to be an unavoidable catastrophe in the Sudan. I started at about midnight, my time, with a plan to read a few articles and then write a short post. But the magnitude of what is happening there is overwhelming. It's quite impossible to convey, even after 9 hours of reading article after article, one impassioned plea after another. It's very disheartening, and the only way to describe what I feel right now is nauseous. The comparisons to Rwanda are unavoidable."
- - -

It was great to see Patrick writing about Bono, the 44-year-old Irish rock star and political activist who for the past two decades has worked hard at urging Western governments to fight poverty, AIDS and debt in Africa. (Patrick please email me whenever you post on Bono so I can share it here).
- - -

Thanks to Jim Moore for this:

"Who is responsible for the tragedy in Darfur? Ingrid Jones asks the right questions. On her very insightful blog Me and Ophelia, Ingrid Jones has been writing diligently about the Sudan crisis.  Today she wrote an extraordinary post--with (seemingly) some of the white anger of outrage that is appropriate to what is happening in Sudan.  In reference to a BBC report following the UN donors' meeting for Sudan that  "A catastrophe is now unavoidable in Sudan's Darfur region, the United Nations and aid workers say. Some 300,000 people will starve, even if emergency aid is delivered immediately, according to the head of the United States aid agency."

Also, thanks to the Passion for this:

"Ingrid Jones asks tough questions: If we get relief in, we could lose a third of a million. If we do not, it could be a million, said Andrew Natsios, head of USAid. (source: BBC report). Ingrid Jones writes a must-read piece today asking who is to blame for the mess now. She writes in what feels like the white heat of anger--appropriate, I must say, to the situation."
- - -

Microsoft has $60 billion cash in the bank

In response to Jim's post, Eric Case of the Blogger team at Google writes this - in The Horror:

"If I were Microsoft, I'd withdraw 0.4% of the cash from my bank account and give it to the UN to sort this out, just because I could. Then I'd do the rest of what Ingrid is saying: "After Bosnia and Rwanda, they can't be allowed to get away with it. They've had enough years. Let's shake them up. Monitor them. Make them work better. Put the heat on them. Name and shame them. If their jobs and reputations are put under real pressure, they will put real pressure on politicians. And perhaps the whole business of providing timely help and protection to people in times of crisis - such as genocide in Darfur - could be made to run much more efficiently and effectively."
- - -

Says cutie pie Bob Piper

Although Counciller Bob Piper and I support the same political party, I back its leader Tony Blair but sadly Bob does not - so we don't seem to agree on most things. However, I must thank him for his latest post on the Sudan where he says this blog is better than Bella du Jour. Thanks Bob. I had no idea genocide was that riveting. Heh. Maybe he needs to get out more ;-)
- - -

On mercenaries, private military, oil - and Sudan

American writer Kathryn Cramer lives in Pleasantville, New York. This morning I found her weblog via Technorati links to Passion of the Present. It's encouraging to see a female blogger writing about the Sudan. Seems to me it's mostly male bloggers covering serious issues such as genocide, ethnic cleansing, the politics of oil, and the tragedy in Darfur.

I have left a comment at Kathryn's post, in the hope that she can get more female bloggers interested. I've tried here before, in a post last April, where a few female bloggers responded - there was a much more decent reaction from male bloggers who kindly took the time and trouble to spread the word and link to Passion of the Present. Kathryn is a skilled writer on a whole range of deep subjects, so it would be interesting to read her views on why she thinks female bloggers are in a tiny minority when it comes to writing on serious matters such as genocide and mass rape being used as a weapon of war.

Update: Kathryn, responded with this comment: "The issue of subject matter and gender is an interesting one. I have written a lot about mercenaries and private military firms, which elicited similar remarks. That is also how I came to read about Sudan in the Drohan book."

Note, Kathryn stated in her post on the Sudan: "Madeline Drohan has a fine chapter on the role of oil in Sudan's political violence in her book 'Making a Killing: How and Why Corporations Use Armed Force to Do Business'. (Buy the book from Amazon Canada; it's not out in the US yet.) Talisman, the Canadian oil company she discusses was forced by public pressure to pull out of Sudan and a scandanavian company followed. Their interests were bought up by Chinese and Malaysian state companies, which I suspect continue or expand upon the same lethal practices."

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 6/07/2004
Comments: Post a Comment
0 comments Newer›  ‹Older