Daily Darfur

Friday, March 18, 2005

Daily Darfur

The Daily Darfur is up over at the Coalition blog.

Anyway, I came across this article about a speech Madeleine Albright delivered at Georgetown but I didn't include it in the Daily Darfur because I am trying to keep it nonpartisan and civil
Albright also spoke on the genocide in Rwanda and drew comparisons to the current crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan.

"We vowed never to see a repeat of the violence in Rwanda, yet meanwhile something similar is happening in Sudan where more than four times as many people have been killed than in Rwanda," she said.
Albright then goes on to discuss the need for the world to create institutions that can respond to and prevent genocide.

Considering that she was the US ambassador to the UN during the genocide in Rwanda and pushed the US line completely gut the UN force there just as the genocide was unfolding, she ought to know.

But more importantly, I want to know what the hell she is talking about when she says that "four times as many people have been killed than in Rwanda." Estimates put the death toll in Darfur anywhere between 200,000 and 400,000. The death toll in Rwanda was close to 1 million.

In her interview for "Ghosts of Rwanda," she stated
It sits as the greatest regret that I have from the time I was U.N. ambassador and maybe even as secretary of state, because it is a huge tragedy, and something that sits very heavy on all our souls, I think
If it truly is her greatest regret, you'd think she could at least bother to know the actual death toll.

To be fair, perhaps Albright was including the deaths caused by the twenty year North/South civil war. But the generally accepted estimate of the death toll there is around 2 million. Adding Darfur to that would give her, at most, 2.5 million deaths. This is far short of the "four times as many" figure she uses.

I will grant that the world's response to Darfur is, in many ways, far more shameful than its reponse to Rwanda, simply based on neglected opportunities to act. In Rwanda, 500,000 people were dead within the first month and effective action would have had to have been taken as soon as the genocide began, if not well in advance.

In Darfur, on the other hand, the world has known about it for a year and a half and very little has been done.

Nonetheless, if Albright is to make comparisons to Rwanda, she owes it to those who died to at least get her numbers right.

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