Co-opting the peace movement

Look for images on Google of crowds amassed to save Darfur and you get a paltry result. But google for posters and you get a flood. Quite the reverse when you google anti-war. The dearth of evidence of popular support for SaveDarfur caught me unexpected, particularly after watching George Clooney’s documentary on HBO. He showed shot after shot of supporters, the same assemblage it now appears, of a DC rally at which he spoke, from diverse angles to make it look like a mass movement. Then his voice-over declared that “the American People had spoken,” and it was now our government’s turn to act.
Clooney addresses a DC wellwishers

Far be it for me to denounce enthusiastic hype, but let me tell you where the fabrication took me. Even now, knowing that Darfur efforts are in fact proliferating on campuses nationwide, I see that it is not a fait accomplit, I see the Save Darfur objective, and why it is supported by establishment advocacy groups: they mean to co-opt the peace movement.

The people who will turn out to demonstrate for peace and against injustice, who will plead emphatically with the media and fellow citizens, who have hope for a better world, who trust in man’s better nature, who believe that one, ten, or several thousand can make a difference against the odds, these people are a limited population segment. Idealists, altruists, with a heavy conscience and usually an education which guides their belief that social progress lies in man’s common destiny.

Peace activists for DarfurHow best to diffuse the efforts of altruists where there emerge too many to incarcerate? Misdirect their focus. Preoccupy them with victims of your choosing. Tie up the media outlets and the limited public attention span with a crisis that will serve you, not a crisis you might be perpetrating.

Clooney defines the Darfur Crisis as “the 21st Century’s first genocide.” Does that strike you as omitting a genocide or two? Americans have killed five times as many Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Israelis have been cleansing the Holy Lands of their original Muslims for sixty years. Both efforts ongoing. Who are the agents decrying “genocide” in Darfur? Israel and the US. Nobody else. But plenty have all along criticized our ethnically motivated attack on Muslims and Arabs. And it bears repeating: from whom, by chance, are we asked to Save Darfur? Islamic Arabs.

The “genocide” distinction matters such that according to a UN resolution, intervention on the part of the international community becomes mandated. It’s a hammer wielded by those on the Security Council and withheld from those who are not. The US and Israel veto any attempt to label their aggressions as “genocide.”

It’s a thankless task to be a nay-sayer cautioning against “action” to “save” Darfur. In the end to what result? We might have tried to halt America’s revenge-driven invasion of Afghanistan. But had we prevented that tragedy, would the common citizen have recognize the danger averted? Even now those who supported the illegal US extra-judicial attack of Afghanistan can be excused as misinformed, those who advocated it accepted for being misguided. All forgiven, not counting the millions of Afghan lives overturned. Those who cried foul at the start, remembered as unpatriotic and recalcitrant, not at all given credit for being right, certainly not as the next opportunistic Neocon aggression presents itself.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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