Articles and Analysies
Darfur Crisis: Mediation Failure (2)/Ahmed M. Mohamedain
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May 29, 2007 - 12:13:42 AM

Darfur Crisis: Mediation Failure (2)



The residents of Aamo and its surroundings have coexisted peacefully with the nomad community headed by Hillal senior for generations. Yet, those peace-loving inhabitants of the area were unjustly described by Alex de Waal as being hostile, inhospitable and cruel when he referred to them as ¡°The local villagers, from Tunjur group (a close relation of Fur, the largest ethnic group in the region), had given them [nomads to which Hillal senior belonged] only dry, sandy soil.¡±  This is a clear indicative that Alex de Waal does not hesitate in labeling not only the local farmers of Aamo but the entire farming communities across Darfur as being evil to the nomad of Darfur .

A few lines later in his article ¡°counter-Insurgency on the Cheap¡± de Waal has surprisingly contradicted himself when he, probably unconsciously, emphasized the recollection by Ahmed Diraige, a former governor of Darfur ¡°how his father, Ibrahim, a Fur sharti (shartai is another word for a paramount chief), hosted Sheikh Hilal¡¯s clan and their camels every season in his village, Kargula, on the southern slopes of the mountain of Jebel Marra. Shartai would slaughter a bull to welcome the Jalul, who would pasture their camels on the harvested fields.¡±  

Across refugee camps in Darfur , demonstrations took place as reaction to the flimsy piece of paper signed in Abuja on May 5th, 2006 . Alex de Waal was quick to claim that Darfuris demonstrated not because they disagree with DPA that is not worthy the ink it has been written on but ¡°because it lacked the signature of their leader.¡±  Since he was not in Darfur the moment the deal was signed, how could he verifiably be so sure that Darfuris in the camps demonstrated because their leader had not signed? If de Waal assumes that all refugees and IDPs in Darfur blindly follow their leader without reasoning them, then he missed the bull¡¯s eye as there were at the moment more than one leader representing the dwellers of the camps. Still some followers of other leaders who signed the flawed Abuja deal detached themselves from the dead-born deal.

It is unlikely to think that de Waal has interest in seeing Darfur crisis speedily coming to an end. His focus is in pouring his utter rage on the people who indirectly or unconsciously did not support his philosophy of my way of no other way. From the very outset, de Waal has worked meticulously and invested heavily in defending his way vehemently even though his way, conceived by the people of Darfur , exacerbates the situation of the ongoing genocide in Darfur . He ¡°can¡¯t seem to escape his heavy investment in the failed Abuja peace process, and writes contemptuously¡¦¡± so concisely summed up Eric Reeves. This approach genuinely explains that the primary concern of de Waal does not rest in finding solution to Darfur crisis rather than finding himself in a better position in terms of entrepreneurship.


AU envoy for Darfur , being unambiguous about his knowledge of Darfur that he knew little about the context, saw the need for an assistant to enable him understand the situation. Among the conditions of making the person eligible to assist him were that the government of Sudan approves the appointment of the person in question and that the person should not be a Sudanese. The first condition could have formed a driving force behind de Waal¡¯s fierce attack on any attempt, deliberately or otherwise, jeopardizing the smooth flow of his probably ready-made plans. What makes many Darfuris perplex is why de Waal is inclined in propagating views hostile to decreasing the suffering of the victims of the genocide orchestrated by the government of Sudan . Why is he marketing those ideas that contribute little in helping alleviate the suffering of the people of Darfur ?  


AU with very limited knowledge about Darfur turned for advice to Alex de Waal whose advice could have, in understanding Darfur , very little value added significance as his knowledge in most cases is invariably based on assumptions rather than facts. No two people with relative familiarity with Darfur would disagree about the type of advice AU could have gotten from the author of the book whose many lines, relevant to Aamo & Bor©¯o Fatta, were filled by misinformation about the farming communities in Darfur. It could not be incorrect that de Waal has not been to Darfur since probably his only visit to Amo, if he indeed did, at the beginning of the 4th quarter of the last century.


¡°Military intervention won¡¯t stop the killing¡± emphasized de Waal despite the fact that the people of Darfur have experienced ¡°terrible war, massacre, hunger and displacement at the hands of the Government¡¦¡±  UN Security Council resolution 1706 authorized UN troops with a clear mandate to protect civilian population as well as humanitarian operations. This will indisputably improve security situation in Darfur . Contrary to de Waal¡¯s intention, UN troops could undoubtedly have decreased the increasingly deteriorating security situation in Darfur . Many civilian lives could have been saved and many more will still be spared. Systematic operations of indiscriminate killing of civilian population by the Sudanese military and its aligned Janjaweed militias will certainly and gradually be reduced. The campaign of massacre, hunger and displacement orchestrated by the Sudanese regime could be accounted for and possibly prevented.


Discouraging viable alternatives that lead to relatively speedy solution to Darfur crisis and advertising alternatives that does not only deliberately postpone the solution but prolonged the suffering of the civilian population in refugee and IDPs camps seem to be strong motivating force behind the consultation of de Waal in Darfur situation.   Alex de Waal has never attempted to surprise us. Since the eruption of Darfur crisis, he consistently remains the same person who worked tirelessly to secure his main concern: to remain a business man no matter what happens or at expense of whoever's misery.  Doing business where no blood is involved is one thing but doing it at the expense of other peoples' lives is quite another. Had de Waal not been involved, could the situation in Darfur have had taken a different and probably a better course.


Ahmed M. Mohamedain

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Darfur Daily News

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