Jimmy Carter on Darfur
The Christian Science Monitor reports what happened after former President Jimmy Carter's much-publicized shouting match with Sudanese security men who prevented him from meeting with refugees.
As the Darfur peace mission of the retired statesmen known as the Elders came to an end, two of their number - former UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and former US President Jimmy Carter - chastened the West for its handling of the violent situation in Sudan. ... The BBC adds that although he praised the plans for UN-sponsored peace talks later this month in Libya, Brahimi warned that the West needs to ensure that the people of Darfur are properly represented at the talks. Brahimi's criticism of the West's handling of Darfur was joined by that of Mr. Carter, who singled out the United States government for its use of the term "genocide" to describe the Sundanese conflict. Reuters reports that Carter called Washington's use of the term "genocide" was both legally inaccurate and "unhelpful."
"There is a legal definition of genocide and Darfur does not meet that legal standard. The atrocities were horrible but I don't think it qualifies to be called genocide," he said. Washington is almost alone in branding the 4 1/2 years of violence in Darfur genocide. Khartoum rejects the term, European governments are reluctant to use it and a U.N.-appointed commission of inquiry found no genocide, but that some individuals may have acted with genocidal intent. Carter, whose charitable foundation, the Carter Center, worked to establish the International Criminal Court (ICC), said: "If you read the law textbooks ... you'll see very clearly that it's not genocide and to call it genocide falsely just to exaggerate a horrible situation I don't think it helps.
Then in the next sentence the Monitor tantalizingly describes a dumb show that the Elders repeatedly encountered.
Brahimi's and Carter's comments come at the end the Elders' two-day mission to Sudan. Voice of America reports that during their visit, the Elders found that "people in Darfur were desperate for protection, despite the Sudanese government's insistence that the situation in the region is getting better."
Some people they visited slipped them notes full of allegations of rape and other abuse by militias aligned with the Sudanese government. The wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel, told of her meeting with women in Darfur. "The first thing they told us they need security," she said. "They need security. They gave us examples of what happened to them, even graphically, to show how women are being raped, are beaten and are brutalized. I think because they thought we may not get a clear translation, they went at length of using gestures to show us how brutal it was, the kind of assault they are subjected to."
Translation: "We are being subjected to atrocities but they don't meet the legal standard for genocide. The reason we are using sign language and cryptic notes to communicate this point is not only to avoid being overheard by your minders but also to prevent being 'unhelpful' to the solution that is going to be cooked up by the ever-wise United Nations."
For some reason I think Jeremiah Denton would understand the dumb show perfectly.
Navy Cross Citation
"The Navy Cross is presented to Jeremiah A. Denton, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism while serving as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from February 1966 to February 1973. Under constant pressure from North Vietnamese interrogators and guards, Rear Admiral Denton (then Commander) endured years of inhumane treatment including torture, starvation, and constant threat of death in an attempt to procure military information or propaganda material. If a POW could be "broken" they could be forced to write letters or make audio recordings "apologizing for their war crimes". During this prolonged period of physical and mental agony, Denton heroically resisted cruelties and continued to promulgate resistance policy and instructions. Forced to attend a press conference for propaganda with a Japanese correspondent, Denton blinked the word "T-O-R-T-U-R-E" in Morse Code at the television camera which was immediately understood by United States Naval Intelligence. Displaying extraordinary skill, fearless dedication to duty, and resourcefulness, he reflected great credit upon himself, and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces."