Don’t miss actress and longtime Sudan advocate Mia Farrow’s pointed op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal. Farrow has been to Darfur and eastern Chad more than a dozen times, and her frustration over the conditions under which Sudan’s election is set to take place is palpable. “Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir should be plastering ‘We Love Gration’ posters all over the capital,” she wrote.
While Farrow takes a hard line on the U.S. special envoy, the true target of her frustration is apparent:
Hope is rare in Darfur, but when Barack Obama became president the refugees had reason to be hopeful. As a junior senator in 2006, Mr. Obama made his feelings about the evils in Darfur quite clear. "Today we know what is right, and today we know what is wrong. The slaughter of innocents is wrong. Two million people driven from their homes is wrong. Women gang raped while gathering firewood is wrong. And silence, acquiescence and paralysis in the face of genocide is wrong."
A year later, then-candidate Barack Obama said: "When you see a genocide, whether it’s in Rwanda or Bosnia or in Darfur, that’s a stain on all of us. That’s a stain on our souls."
Darfuris were listening, and they hoped anew when President Obama said the Sudanese regime "offended the standards of our common humanity." They believed he would appoint an envoy who would take their plight seriously and serve as an honest broker between warring rebel groups and the Sudanese regime.
The timing of Farrow’s piece, though a coincidence, is noteworthy. Just as she warned that “no one in Sudan believes the elections will be anything approaching free or fair,” the European Union announced it would withdraw its election monitoring team from Darfur due to concerns about security. The withdrawal underscores Farrow’s recommendation to the international community: “acknowledge the deeply corrupt voting process that will reinstate President Omar al-Bashir…declare publicly that Mr. Bashir, a man indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity, will rule without a genuine democratic mandate.” Far from it.
Photo: Mia Farrow (AP)