A Review of Mahmood Mamdani’s Saviors and Survivors

The conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan, along with the ongoing conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia, represents one of the most vexing challenges on the African continent confronting the international community today.

A dispute which the United Nations estimates has killed at air max bw pas cher over 200,000 people and displaced at least 2 million since 2003 [1], the conflict in Darfur has seen Sudanese military and government aligned militia forces (the latter collectively know as janjaweed) squaring off against an array of rebel groups who in recent years have splintered into an ever shifting tapestry of alliances.

Mahmood Mamdani, a professor of government and anthropology at New York’s Columbia University, is the latest in the line of academics to try and make sense of Sudan’s tangled history with Saviors and Survivors : Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror (Pantheon Books), a book whose bile unfortunately overwhelms its reason.

When Mamdani unfavorably compares the mobilization against the Iraq war as tepid in comparison to the mobilization against the Sudanese government’s actions in Darfur, one wonders if he is unaware of the massive demonstrations that took place in early 2003 demanding that no military action be launched in Iraq. A demonstration that took place in New York in February of that year numbered around 100,000 protesters, numbers that those seeking to halt the violence in Darfur could never dream of approaching in sheer scale. based grouping of nearly 200 religious, political, and human rights organizations of varying political stripes.

Sneeringly dismissing the group as a collection of Christian Right and Secular Zionist groups, humanitarian intervention lobby and American and Christian groups, Mamdani assails, without apparent irony, the tendency of Save Darfur to on the evidence of their eyes nike air max 90 and avoid any discussion of context. recounts Save Darfur organizational structure boringly normal to anyone familiar with chaussures air max the workings of non governmental organizations as if revealing a smoking gun about the illuminati at the Darfur debate’s core. Though grudgingly granting that the movement had the salutary effect of directing world attention to the horrendous violence in Darfur. it now now bear some of the blame for delaying reconciliation, a seeming wild overstatement of the group’s lobbying power.

Leaving aside the fact the Save Darfur is part of a global, not national, solidarity movement with the victims of Darfur’s violence (a movement which includes organizations such as Urgence Darfour in France), some of Mamdani’s more damming claims would appear not to stand up upon further inspection. Satellite evidence on the group’s website is marked with both the month and the year air max noir of attacks and the destruction of buildings therein [2]

Perhaps the book’s most troubling aspect, one that is of a piece with some of Mamdani’s more outlandish claims about the Save Darfur coalition, is a worrisome pattern of simplification and omission when digging into the actual mechanics of how the Darfur counter insurgency was conceived and conducted.

The murderous handiwork of janjaweed leader Musa Hilal is relegated to two sentences in the book’s 398 pages. By contrast, in their 2005 assessment Darfur : A Short History of a Long War, veteran Sudan observers Julie Flint and Alex de Waal wrote of Hilal that supremacy has converged with criminal impunity, and the result has been cataclysm. As much as any one individual, Musa Hilal has helped bring Darfur to its current wretched state, but you wouldn’t know it from reading Mamdani’s book.

Sudan’s president, Omar al Bashir, who seized power in a 1989 coup launched with the support of the National Islamic Front of al Bashir’s then ally Hassan al Turabi, is likewise strangely absent from Mamdani’s analysis, except for Mamdani’s claim that none of the charges laid against al Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) bear historical scrutiny. ICC charges, which call for al Bashir’s arrest on five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes [3]

are, despite Mamdani claims, not a departure from the ICC usual mandate, but rather quite similar in their language to charges laid out against Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo, two of the militia leaders in the Ituri conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the early part of this decade [4]. Despite this, Mamdani declares that the Sudanese president guilt or innocence is less important to Africa than relationship between law and politics, as if the continent is a suitable canvas over which academics to theorize, but not where lawyers and judges can enforce the rule of law

Chronicling the splintering within the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) rebel movements in 2005 which made the situation even more perilous for Darfur’s long suffering civilians Mamdani focuses heavily of the freelance banditry of various rebel factions, with far less attention is paid to the nike air max 90 pas cher activity of government aligned militias. Such outrages as the slaughter of over 100 civilians by Sudanese government forces in Darfur in February 2008 [5] go unrecorded, with Mamdani stating flatly at one point that the was not an ideological forces nor the fighting arm of an ideologically driven movement. is simply untrue. Documents obtained from the Sudanese government in 2004 by Human Rights Watch an organization whose work in Sudan Mamdani almost entirely ignores demonstrate conclusively to any reasonable obersevor the involvement of the Sudanese state in the recruiting and arming of janjaweed to carry out violence on an ethnic basis [6]

. Mamdani’s silence on this score is inexplicable.

As the book progresses, Mamdani hyper focus on actual imperialist history and presumed imperialist intent leads to a schizophrenia in the book that never fully resolves itself. congress. Mamdani’s seeming relegation of those who did not die directly from violence from his tally of the dead in Darfur, as if war related starvation and disease leave the human body any less dead than a bullet, is one of the book’s more distasteful arguments. Mamdani’s colonialism under every rock approach nike air max bw is such that at one point he claims that brutal counterinsurgency methods originated with era settler wars against Amerindians, which must come as news to anyone who has ever read Tacitus’ 2,000 year old account of the Roman conquest of Britain, or Thucydides’ even older History of the Peloponnesian War.

Mamdani also has an unfortunate tendency to make sweeping statements which he is unable to back up with evidence in his text.

Stating as unchallenged fact that one of the main rebel groups, the JEM, was by Hassan al Turabi (a charge that both al Turabi and the JEM have denied) is an assertion that Mamdani never proves, despite repeating it several times throughout the book. Secretary of State Colin Powell made his famous September 2004 declaration that genocide was taking place in Darfur pressure. tone when writing about the Sudanese themselves can often be jarring in its arrogance. Non combatant Sudanese who call for an international military mission in Darfur are guilty of a knowledge of developments in their own country, while those issuing the same calls from within Darfur itself suffer from the book’s flaws, through its middle half, Mamdani is relatively sober, and surveys the dramatic litany of coups, counter coups and violent political skirmishes following Sudan’s 1956 independence from Britain in thorough if rather wooden fashion. Accurately pointing the finger at the governments of Ronald Reagan and Libya Muammar Gaddafi for their roles in stoking regional conflicts throughout the 1980s, Mamdani neglects to explore in any depth the latter history of regional destabilization through support for brutal rebel armies such as Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia and Sierra Leone Revolutionary United Front.

Towards the end of Saviors and Survivors, Mamdani charges that Save Darfur lobby in the United States has turned the tragedy of the people of Darfur into a knife with which to slice Africa. strident statements do precious little to illuminate the actual dynamic the context, as Mr. Mamdani would say of the suffering of the disenfranchised, left at air max tn such loose ends and defenseless in the villages and refugee camps of Darfur and eastern Chad.

Despite its dismissive attitude towards the actual victims of violence in Sudan and their concerns, upon finishing Saviors and Survivors it is their voices voice one searches for in vain in the book itself that the reader most wishes to at long last hear.

Les textes d’AlterPresse peuvent être reproduits, en tout ou en partie, gratuitement, à condition d’indiquer clairement la source, avec lien actif vers notre site.

a town in the Middle Ages

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The air max classic inscription tells us a great deal about the high cultural level that was present at the nike air max monastery during the Carolingian era. It informs us that the deceased was born to noble parents. When the child was seven, they entrusted him to the abbey, in return for a donation of money or land, so that he would be educated by monks. Indeed, the reputation of the monastic school had been established since Charles Martel had his son Pepin educated there. But, unlike Pepin, Hunus nike air max pas cher did not « return to secular iife ».

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