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Wednesday, 2 May , 2007 / Iperione

Darfur: un ex-marine e SL


Introduzione presente su youtube, utente USHMM1:

Brian Steidle, in his position as an unarmed military observer in Darfur, found himself becoming a witness to the destruction of civilians. Mr. Steidle did not have much in the way of equipment with him as an AU monitor, but he had a camera, and he took hundreds and hundreds of photographs.

When Mr. Steidle returned to the United States from Darfur earlier this year, he began to speak out using his photographs. He was the subject of a column by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. “Innocence” appeared on all kinds of media outlets, including CNN and Night Line and the CBS News. He also just returned from a trip to Chad, where he visited refugee camps and met some of the people who had fled from Darfur. Mr. Steidle makes a presentation with photographs from both his time in Darfur and his more recent trip to Chad.

Ecco, invece, cosa succede su Second Life:

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  1. ermes / May 2 2007 6:05 PM

    Ecco l’articolo di Nicholas Kristof sul New York Times: siamo a più di due anni fa.

    The American Witness – March 2, 2005

    American soldiers are trained to shoot at the enemy. They’re prepared to be shot at. But what young men like Brian Steidle are not equipped for is witnessing a genocide but being unable to protect the civilians pleading for help.

    If President Bush wants to figure out whether the U.S. should stand more firmly against the genocide in Darfur, I suggest that he invite Mr. Steidle to the White House to give a briefing. Mr. Steidle, a 28-year-old former Marine captain, was one of just three American military advisers for the African Union monitoring team in Darfur — and he is bursting with frustration.

    ”Every single day you go out to see another burned village, and more dead bodies,” he said. ”And the children — you see 6-month-old babies that have been shot, and 3-year-old kids with their faces smashed in with rifle butts. And you just have to stand there and write your reports.”

    While journalists and aid workers are sharply limited in their movements in Darfur, Mr. Steidle and the monitors traveled around by truck and helicopter to investigate massacres by the Sudanese government and the janjaweed militia it sponsors. They have sometimes been shot at, and once his group was held hostage, but they have persisted and become witnesses to systematic crimes against humanity.

    So is it really genocide?

    ”I have no doubt about that,” Mr. Steidle said. ”It’s a systematic cleansing of peoples by the Arab chiefs there. And when you talk to them, that’s what they tell you. They’re very blunt about it. One day we met a janjaweed leader and he said, ‘Unless you get back four camels that were stolen in 2003, then we’re going to go to these four villages and burn the villages, rape the women, kill everyone.’ And they did.”

    The African Union doesn’t have the troops, firepower or mandate to actually stop the slaughter, just to monitor it. Mr. Steidle said his single most frustrating moment came in December when the Sudanese government and the janjaweed attacked the village of Labado, which had 25,000 inhabitants. Mr. Steidle and his unit flew to the area in helicopters, but a Sudanese general refused to let them enter the village — and also refused to stop the attack.

    ”It was extremely frustrating — seeing the village burn, hearing gunshots, not being able to do anything,” Mr. Steidle said. ”The entire village is now gone. It’s a big black spot on the earth.”

    When Sudan’s government is preparing to send bombers or helicopter gunships to attack an African village, it shuts down the cellphone system so no one can send out warnings. Thus the international monitors know when a massacre is about to unfold. But there’s usually nothing they can do.

    The West, led by the Bush administration, is providing food and medical care that is keeping hundreds of thousands of people alive. But we’re managing the genocide, not halting it.

    ”The world is failing Darfur,” said Jan Egeland, the U.N. under secretary general for humanitarian affairs. ”We’re only playing the humanitarian card, and we’re just witnessing the massacres.”

    President Bush is pushing for sanctions, but European countries like France are disgracefully cool to the idea — and China is downright hostile, playing the same supportive role for the Darfur genocide that it did for the Khmer Rouge genocide.

    Mr. Steidle has just quit his job with the African Union, but he plans to continue working in Darfur to do his part to stand up to the killers. Most of us don’t have to go to that extreme of risking our lives in Darfur — we just need to get off the fence and push our government off, too.

    At one level, I blame President Bush — and, even more, the leaders of European, Arab and African nations — for their passivity. But if our leaders are acquiescing in genocide, that’s because we citizens are passive, too. If American voters cared about Darfur’s genocide as much as about, say, the Michael Jackson trial, then our political system would respond. One useful step would be the passage of the Darfur Accountability Act, to be introduced today by Senators Jon Corzine and Sam Brownback. The legislation calls for such desperately needed actions as expanding the African Union force and establishing a military no-fly zone to stop Sudan from bombing civilians.

    As Martin Luther King Jr. put it: ”Man’s inhumanity to man is not only perpetrated by the vitriolic actions of those who are bad. It is also perpetrated by the vitiating inaction of those who are good.”

    nicholas@nytimes.com

  2. ermes / May 2 2007 6:22 PM

    Ancora due anni or sono, ancora New York Times, ancora Kristof.

    Nelle sue parole, alcuni diranno eccessive e fuori gusto, leggo di nuovo le denunce degli strazi dei dannati della Terra che un tempo eternavano i Camus, i Gide, gli Steinbeck…

    Kristof critica tremendamente l’operato del Presidente degli Stati Uniti, uno dei pochissimi politici al mondo che pure ha avuto il coraggio di definire quale “genocidio” lo scempio di carne umana in Darfur. Non oso immaginare cosa direbbe se vivesse, respirasse e scrivesse in quell’Italia al quadrato che sta diventando l’Europa.

    A Wimp On Genocide – September 18, 2005

    President Bush doesn’t often find common cause with Cuba, Zimbabwe, Iran, Syria and Venezuela. But this month the Bush administration joined with those countries and others to eviscerate a forthright U.N. statement that nations have an obligation to respond to genocide.

    It was our own Axis of Medieval, and it reflected the feckless response of President Bush to genocide in Darfur. It’s not that he favors children being tossed onto bonfires or teenage girls being gang-raped and mutilated, but he can’t bother himself to try very hard to stop these horrors, either.

    It’s been a year since Mr. Bush — ahead of other world leaders, and to his credit — acknowledged that genocide was unfolding in Darfur. But since then he has used that finding of genocide not to spur action but to substitute for it.

    Mr. Bush’s position in the U.N. negotiations got little attention. But in effect the United States successfully blocked language in the declaration saying that countries have an ”obligation” to respond to genocide. In the end the declaration was diluted to say that ”We are prepared to take collective action on a case by case basis” to prevent genocide.

    That was still an immensely important statement. But it’s embarrassing that in the 21st century, we can’t even accept a vague obligation to fight genocide as we did in the Genocide Convention of 1948. If the Genocide Convention were proposed today, President Bush apparently would fight to kill it.

    I can’t understand why Mr. Bush is soft on genocide, particularly because his political base — the religious right — has been one of the groups leading the campaign against genocide in Darfur. As the National Association of Evangelicals noted in a reproachful statement about Darfur a few days ago, the Bush administration ”has made minimal progress protecting millions of victims of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”

    Incredibly, the Bush administration has even emerged as Sudan’s little helper, threatening an antigenocide campaigner in an effort to keep him quiet. Brian Steidle, a former Marine captain, served in Darfur as a military adviser — and grew heartsick at seeing corpses of children who’d been bludgeoned to death.

    In March, I wrote a column about Mr. Steidle and separately published photos that he had taken of men, women and children hacked to death. Other photos were too wrenching to publish: one showed a pupil at the Suleia Girls School; she appeared to have been burned alive, probably after being raped, and her charred arms were still in handcuffs.

    Mr. Steidle is an American hero for blowing the whistle on the genocide. But, according to Mr. Steidle, the State Department has ordered him on three occasions to stop showing the photos, for fear of complicating our relations with Sudan. Mr. Steidle has also been told that he has been blacklisted from all U.S. government jobs.

    The State Department should be publicizing photos of atrocities to galvanize the international community against the genocide — not conspiring with Sudan to cover them up.

    I’m a broken record on Darfur because I can’t get out of my head the people I’ve met there. On my very first visit, 18 months ago, I met families who were hiding in the desert from the militias and soldiers. But the only place to get water was at the occasional well — where soldiers would wait to shoot the men who showed up, and rape the women. So anguished families sent their youngest children, 6 or 7 years old, to the wells with donkeys to fetch water — because they were least likely to be killed or raped. The parents hated themselves for doing this, but they had no choice — they had been abandoned by the world.

    That’s the cost of our passivity. Perhaps it’s unfair to focus so much on Mr. Bush, for there are no neat solutions and he has done more than most leaders. He at least dispatched Condi Rice to Darfur this summer — which is more interest in genocide than the TV anchors have shown.

    One group, http://www.beawitness.org, prepared a television commercial scolding the networks for neglecting the genocide — and affiliates of NBC, CBS and ABC all refused to run it.

    Still, the failures of others do not excuse Mr. Bush’s own unwillingness to speak out, to impose a no-fly zone, to appoint a presidential envoy or to build an international coalition to pressure Sudan. So, Mr. Bush, let me ask you just one question: Since you portray yourself as a bold leader, since you pride yourself on your willingness to use blunt terms like ”evil” — then why is it that you’re so wimpish on genocide?

    nicholas@nytimes.com

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