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Were Darfur Promises for Real?

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Were Darfur Promises for Real?

Posted by Enough Team on September 2, 2009

This post by award-winning author Dave Eggers and Enough Co-founder John Prendergast originally appeared on

We have been part of an extraordinary social phenomenon over the past four years surrounding Darfur: the development of a genuine anti-genocide people’s movement. It’s succeeded in cultivating a number of true champions in the political sphere, led by three former senators: Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Barack Obama.

Now that Obama, Biden and Clinton are in office, and another fierce anti-genocide advocate, Susan Rice, is in as ambassador to the United Nations, we felt there finally would be a consequence for the perpetrators of the genocide, the regime officials in Khartoum, Sudan.

But rather than the kind of tough actions the these top officials had all advocated in their previous jobs and on the campaign trail, President Obama’s Sudan envoy instead began to articulate a friendly, incentives-first message that even Sudan’s president, an indicted war criminal, publicly welcomed. Our chins hit the floor in disbelief, because our chins had nowhere else to go.

The administration is preparing to announce the results of its Sudan policy review soon, but the policy direction has already been set, and it is of urgent concern. There is no clear decision for the U.S. to take the lead in revitalizing a peace process for Darfur, or to create real costs for non-implementation of the existing North-South peace deal.

But this isn’t just a debate about policy towards one country. President Obama, like President Bush before him, has called Darfur an ongoing genocide. So the policy that will be unveiled soon on Sudan will have global ramifications, because it will be the president’s first chance to articulate his policy on responding to genocide.

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