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Damn! He's blaming the Darfur crisis civil war on America!!
In one of the most remarkable explanations I've heard so far, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon claims that the people of Darfur "lived amicably" until global warming affected the climate.
His opinion appeared on Saturday in an article he authored in the Washington Post:
Two decades ago, the rains in southern Sudan began to fail. According to U.N. statistics, average precipitation has declined some 40 percent since the early 1980s. ...
It is no accident that the violence in Darfur erupted during the drought. Until then, Arab nomadic herders had lived amicably with settled farmers. A recent Atlantic Monthly article by Stephan Faris describes how black farmers would welcome herders as they crisscrossed the land, grazing their camels and sharing wells. But once the rains stopped, farmers fenced their land for fear it would be ruined by the passing herds. For the first time in memory, there was no longer enough food and water for all. Fighting broke out. By 2003, it evolved into the full-fledged tragedy we witness today."
The Atlantic Monthly article by Stephan Faris (also available here for free) completes the picture as follows:
So there you have it. Darfur's genocidal civil war finally has a politically correct cause -- global warming. It's America's fault, and the Europeans' fault.
What about the other genocides? There was the 1994 Rwanda genocide, and the 1990s Bosnian genocide, and the 1970s Cambodian killing fields genocide. There were dozens of genocides in World War I and World War II. Were those caused by global warning too?
As fatuous as this reasoning is, it contains an interesting admission: That the Darfur genocide is not the Darfurians' fault. The reason I call that an "admission" is because the previous position is that the genocide was the fault of the Janjaweed militias and of the Sudan government in Khartoum. By blaming it on the Americans and the Europeans, Moon is exonerating the people involved. After all, global warming isn't the fault of these "amicable" people, is it? No, it's the fault of those venal, thoughtless Americans. How convenient.
It's worthwhile to summarize how the Darfur civil war came about, because it follows a fairly standard generational path. Here's a brief summary:
In Darfur prior to the 1980s, there was intermittent low-level violence between farmers and herders.
This kind of struggle between farmers and herders is a major factor in less-developed countries. In 1800s America, there were major conflicts between whites and Indians over land, but there were also smaller conflicts between farmers and cowboys (cattle herders). Farmers would be infuriated when herds of cattle trampled their crops. They'd respond by building fences, and that infuriated the cowboys.
In fact, there was a feel-good song on this subject in Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1941 Broadway show, Oklahoma!:
Oh, the farmer and the cowboy should be friends, Oh, the farmer and the cowboy should be friends. One man likes to push a plough, The other likes to chase a cow, But that's no reason why they cain't be friends.
Territory folks should stick together, Territory folks should all be pals. Cowboys dance with farmers' daughters, Farmers dance with the ranchers' gals.
In pre-1980s Darfur, camel and cattle herds would often destroy farmer's crops, but the incidents were rare enough that traditional local leaders on both sides would normally resolve disagreements.
Darfur's previous crisis war was World War II, so during the 1970s, there were still plenty of survivors of the war, and the local leaders were skilled at governing and resolving problems.
This is the drought that Ban Ki Moon was referring to.
Darfur war takes a major turn, as Sudan expels aid groups.: Oxfam, CARE, Save the Children, and numerous other aid groups... (11-Mar-2009)
Chad and Sudan may be close to a declaration of war: The peace agreement signed in March seems to be falling apart.... (18-Jun-2008)
Sudan's Darfur war expands as Khartoum comes under attack by rebels: What were they thinking? everyone's asking. But it DOES make sense.... (14-May-2008)
Ban Ki Moon blames Darfur genocide on global warming: Damn! He's blaming the Darfur crisis civil war on America!!... (19-Jun-07)
Senator Joe Biden wants to move troops from Iraq to Darfur civil war: Saying on Meet the Press that we should remove troops from Iraqi "civil war,"... (29-Apr-07)
President Bush gives Sudan "one last chance" to end Darfur genocide: But is Steven Spielberg aiding the genocide?... (19-Apr-07)
Women's groups protest rape as a weapon of war in Darfur: As the civil war in Darfur continues to grow more violent,... (11-Dec-06)
UN: Darfur became much worse "while we were watching Lebanon and Israel": Amnesty International reports that Sudan's new military buildup is precursor to a "catastrophe"... (29-Aug-06)
UN declares that Darfur war was "not genocide," in the most sickeningly cynical story of the year: If mass murders and rapes and forced relocation of millions of people isn't genocide, then what is?... (01-Feb-05)Today's slow-motion genocide in Darfur recalls the lightning quick genocide in Rwanda in 1994: Why do these things always seem to happen in Africa? Understanding Africa's geography explains why. (22-Aug-2004)
Jesse Jackson calls for sending American troops to Darfur: You see how it works? Everyone has a war they like.... (27-Jul-04)
Darfur saga like depraved game of musical chairs: As I've said before, I've gotten good at turning off my own feelings of horror... (19-Jul-04)
Darfur genocide: The UN is completely irrelevant: It was just three months ago that Kofi Annan said "never again," referring to the 1994 Rwanda genocide.... (28-Jun-04)
The game "Let's you and him fight" is often played on the world stage, where one politician or group, or an outside agitator, tries to instigate a war between two other groups.
In Darfur in 1987, there were outside agitators on both sides, resulting in a brief war.
The two groups of Darfurians -- herders and farmers -- could also be distinguished ethnically as Arabs and non-Arabs, respectively. But that distinction had never before made as much difference as the individual tribal identifications, according to Sudan expert Alex de Wall.
The 1987 Darfur war was instigated by Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, who for years had been trying to start up a "pan-Arab" movement across northern Africa, under his leadership. As part of this, he recruited the Darfur Arab herders and tried to agitate them to be part of his attack force on the neighboring country Chad. That attempt failed, but the identity group name "Arab" stuck.
Furthermore, the "Arab" name also served to identify this group of Darfurians with the élite group running the government in Khartoum, who think of themselves as "Arab." This relationship became important later with the formation of the Janjaweed militia.
Newton's Third Law in physics says that for every force, there's an equal countervailing force in the opposite direction. The same law applies in politics, so if the Arab Darfurians required an identity group, so did the non-Arabs.
In this case, the outside agitator was the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), a group from the south fighting a different war with Sudan. The SPLA tried to get the Darfurians to join their war, and they used the identity group name "African."
This is a very interesting development, because it fundamentally changed the nature of the war. Up to this point, the war was just a bunch of African tribes fighting each other. Who could care anything about that?
But now it became very different. Now it was the Arabs versus the Africans. Suddenly it's a battle with international significance. The mere use of identity group names changed the Darfur war from a tribal war to an international war.
This is a textbook case for how outside agitators come into a region and, using identity group names, turn a local conflict into a major war.
However, in this case, the outside agitators, Qaddafi and the SPLA, didn't succeed in their goals. There was a brief war that fizzled quickly, but not the major war that both agitators had hoped for.
So now let's look at the situation from the point of view of the Khartoum government. To analyze a crisis war, you MUST look at it from all points of view (at which time you discover that they all seem to be fighting completely different wars).
If you're standing in Khartoum, Darfur is almost 1,000 miles away, and seems as far away as the moon, and the Darfurians might as well be an alien species. All the Sudan government wants is for the Darfurians to take care of themselves, and leave Khartoum alone. This was particularly true in the 1990s, when the Khartoum government was already fighting a completely separate and unrelated war with the SPLA in southern Sudan.
The SPLA, on the other hand, wanted to radicalize the Darfur farmers so that they would join the SPLA war against Sudan. In 1991, the SPLA sent an armed force to Darfur to foment resistance. The attempt failed, and the SPLA leaders were arrested.
After this, the Khartoum government essentially delegated the responsibility of policing the region to the Arab Janjaweed militia, formed from certain groups of herders. This was an ideal solution to Khartoum, since it meant that the "African" and "Arab" Darfurians would have to solve problems themselves, and Khartoum would stay out of it. This would leave the Sudanese army free to focus on the southern war.
For shock events to cause such a transition, they have to occur at the correct generational time. If shock events occur too early, they'll have no effect. In particular, shock events seldom have much effect prior to the beginning of the "generational crisis era."
The generational crisis period begins generally 55-60 years after the end of the preceding crisis war. It's at that point in time that the survivors of that last war all disappear (retire or die), all at once, and a new generation of leaders takes over. The new leaders were born AFTER the last crisis war, and have no personal memories of its horrors, and so aren't afraid of another war like it.
There are two shock events that caused the Darfur war to transfer from the "low-level violence phase" to the "crisis phase."
The first occurred in April, 2002. The young men of one ("African") farmer village in central Darfur complained to the district authorities that they were being harassed by a herder ("Arab") militia group. The shock that they and the farmers received was that, instead of getting help, the young men were jailed, and so was a lawyer who tried to represent them.
As we previously stated, disputes between farmers and herders had formerly been resolved by traditional local leaders, "village elders." These traditional leaders were most likely respected heroes of the previous crisis war. Their motivation was that a new crisis war must be avoided at all costs, and they could always negotiate with one another to compromise and contain problems.
But village elders one day die off.
Most people think that one older person is pretty much like any other, and that if one generation of "village elders" dies off, then a slightly younger new generation of village elders takes its place.
But not all older persons are the same. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, there is always an enormous difference in world view between people who survive a genocidal crisis war, and those born after it. The new generation (called a "Prophet" archetype generation, corresponding to America's Boomer generation) is much more confrontational, much more arrogant and narcissistic, and much less willing to compromise than the generation of survivors that it replaces.
So after the respected elders representing the farmers and herders died off, the new generation of elders did not have the skills or temperament to reach a compromise with one another. Like America's Boomers, they were unable to govern.
So they did the next best thing, and turned to the district authorities of the Khartoum government.
The Janjaweeds also went through a generational change, and the old herders who could negotiate with the farmers were gone. The young Janjaweeds, born after the last crisis war (World War II), are much more confrontational, less willing to compromise.
So, when the Darfurian farmers complained to the Sudanese government's district office, the Sudan government had them jailed. From their point of view, it was the easiest way to avoid trouble, and simply continued the police-type action of the 1990s.
But this time, the police action acted as a catalyst. It infuriated the farmers, and led to the formation of the Darfur Liberation Front.
When a society or nation enters the crisis phase of a war, the reaction is very similar to the mass hysteria that occurs among young girls at a Beatles concert. Prior to that point, the population may feel a great deal of anxiety and fear of some enemy, but the feelings are subdued to meet political demands.
The shock event brings the subdued anxiety and fear out into the open, and causes the public to demand that the government "do something." This is the time of great vulnerability for a nation or society, since the public might find any of a wide variety of solutions acceptable.
The next significant change comes when a shock event causes a population to panic.
On February 26, 2003, the Darfur Liberation Front attacked a police station to take back their lost weapons from the time of the arrest.
From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this attack triggered the "regeneracy," a kind of point of no return when a crisis war turns into an unstoppable tsunami.
What was so special about an attack on a remote police station? Things like that had been going on for years, so what was so special now?
Here's a summary of what happened next, according to the BBC's "Quick Guide" to the war:
For years, there have been tensions between the mostly African farmers and the mostly Arab herders, who have competed for land. Opposition groups in Darfur say the government neglects their province, and discriminates against black Africans.
The conflict began in 2003, when rebel groups began attacking government targets. In retaliation, the government launched a military and police campaign in Darfur. More than 2 million people fled their homes.
Many spoke of government aircraft bombing villages, after which the Arab Janjaweed militia would ride in on camels and horses to slaughter, rape and steal. The refugees and some western observers said there was a deliberate attempt to drive black Africans out of Darfur.
The government admits mobilising "self-defence militias", but denies links to the Janjaweed and says the problems have been exaggerated."
From the point of view of the Darfurian farmers and herders, the conflict had started years earlier, but notice that the BBC says that the conflict began in 2003. That's the Sudanese government point of view. Prior to that, Darfur was "out of sight, out of mind" for them.
And that's the point. Suddenly the Darfurians, though still out of sight, were no longer out of mind. From the point of view of Khartoum, suddenly this non-existent group of people turned overnight into a huge mass of millions of people ready to attack Khartoum itself!
What happened next is what always happen leads to a generational crisis war. The leaders who grew up during the last crisis war are gone, and all that's left are the arrogant, scornful, narcissistic postwar generation (corresponding to America's Boomer generation), sure of themselves and contemptuous of anyone who tries to accomplish anything, along with the angry, frustrated younger generation (like our Generation X), and the impatient college-age generations. They all suddenly discover that all their assumptions are wrong, and that they're very exposed after all -- exposed so much that their entire way of life may be in danger.
The result is a kind of mass hysteria, and once again I would compare it to young girls screaming their love for the Beatles or another pop star. For a more relevant example, take a look at my article on How Israel panicked in pursuing the summer Lebanon war with Hizbollah. That was exactly the same kind of generational panic that occurred in Darfur in 2003, although in the Lebanon case, it didn't spiral into a full-fledged crisis war.
From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this is known as the "regeneracy."
It's a "tipping point" that occurs in every crisis war, when the public becomes so anxious, panicked, furious and outraged by acts (real or perceived) on the other side that the desire to win and to protect one's nation and way of life become more important than anything else. This point is called the "regeneracy," because the public forgets about political differences, and starts worrying about national survival. It's the time of regeneration of civic unity, and, in a sense, it's the time of regeneration of the entire nation. (In the case of a civil war, each of the two belligerents is unified against the other.)
At this point, and in the months that follow, the value of an individual human life goes to near-zero, and nothing matters more than the survival of the society and its way of life.
In the American Civil War, it was the Battle of Bull Run that turned the war from a spectator sport into a serious war, and led to the bloody Battle of Gettysburg and Sherman's "scorched earth" March through Georgia. In WW II, it was the Bataan Death March that infuriated and united the country, and led to the Allies' saturation bombing of civilians in Germany and Japan.
This lead to the mass murders, rapes, genocide, and scorched earth that has characterized the Darfur war since then.
So that's the sequence of events that led to the current Darfur genocide.
In 2004, when the Darfur situation first gained international focus, I wrote that the U.N. is completely irrelevant to the Darfur genocide, and that it would not be stopped until it's run its course. That has continued true to this day. The genocide has gotten worse, and has even spread into neighboring countries Chad and Central African Republic.
So this shot out of the blue, where Ban Ki Moon is blaming it on
global warming is actually hilarious. It shows just how ignorant the
people in power are about what's going on in the world today.
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