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On Responding to ‘Genocide’

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On Responding to ‘Genocide’

Posted by Laura Heaton on October 20, 2009

It’s great to see so many well-considered responses to the new Sudan policy, now that Sudan watchers and newcomers alike have had a chance to digest all of yesterday’s action.

Don’t miss this excellent post, "Fudge the Analysis, Fudge the Policy," from human rights lawyer and author Bec Hamilton, in which she analyzes the disconnect between the words used to describe what’s happening in Sudan today and the response from the Obama administration. Here’s an important clip:

Since when has the policy approach to ending an ongoing genocide been engagement with the regime currently conducting the atrocities, or seeking a negotiated solution? What would we have thought if the Clinton Administration had released a document saying its plan to end the Rwandan genocide involved engagement with Hutu Power and support for a negotiated settlement between Hutu and Tutsi? If I had been given those policy points on an exam and asked to guess what the situation was that they sought to address, “ongoing genocide” would not have been my pick. “Dealing with the consequences of genocide” or “ending a civil war” would have been closer to the mark. And if that is what the Review is really addressing, then why not come out and say so?