On not inciting a lynch mob

Do you know about the atrocities being committed in Darfur? Is the extent of your reaction being weighed as evidence about how much you know (ie. not enough)? If you are not calling for UN peacekeeper intervention, does it mean you have not exposed yourself sufficiently to the suffering of the Sudanese?
 
This would appear to be the logic of those advocating action/intervention. Surely you are a heartless do-nothing if you are not urging the tugging of every heartstring until a collective decision can prompt swift action. Cool heads might not prevail against a revenge-driven mob mentality, but why split hairs, they are hairs on the necks of Arabs.

When agitators urge action, if even they caution it to be non-violent action, the challenging endeavor of creating non-violent dialog and diplomacy can easily appear to stagnate in the “inaction” category.

The bigger picture about Sudan is that Europe and the US now face an eastern power vying for Africa’s remaining resources. To continue to dominate Africa, they have to mobilize opinion to favor a reversal of what has been a de-colonization consensus granting indigenous peoples their regional autonomy. To this end, grassroots activist mechanisms are being co-opted to manufacture public consent for re-shouldering the white man’s burden. A critical distinction for those concerned for the Sudanese is that western intervention is not the only solution. TO SAY NO TO MILITARY INTERVENTION IS NOT TO ADVOCATE DOING NOTHING. It is fine to raise awareness about the suffering in Darfur but maybe not if the common denominator response is an agitated public crying for blood.

You’d be the odd man out, trying to talk a lynch mob out of meting out justice to the Jesse James Gang. Where would you stand as you saw tempers becoming raised in response to heightened emotional manipulation? No one wants to deny the crimes committed, but what of the mechanisms of a civil society meant to preempt our baser compulsion to vigilante justice?

What if as well, the James Gang members the crowd was after were only the small fry? What if incredibly, the chief mob rouser was Jesse James himself? Perhaps even Jesse James would not have such gall, he would have to work through deputies like think-tank and media mouthpieces, or more insidiously through funding-starved non-profits, and tragically through unknowing surrogates with the best of intentions.

Ideologically it shouldn’t make a difference who is behind justice or before it. No one should be victim to a mob’s wrath. That’s not the point. What if you were working the crowd, trying to build an awareness that the Jesse James Gang was in their midst wreaking disaster of unfathomable consequence? Meanwhile the attention of that populace was being diverted to a humanitarian crisis which was in fact entirely a symptom and not a cause.

The Darfur crisis, begun in 2003, far from being ignored by our media, has successfully been used to obscure the million people killed by the US in Iraq, and the Israeli incursions into Lebanon and Palestine, both of which have been labeled genocides. Neither the ethnic cleansing in Lebanon nor in Palestine have drawn criticism from the lobbyists behind Save Darfur or the Genocide Intervention Network. What outlaws!

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