In an April 19 article in the Washington Post , Rep Frank Wolf (R-Va) was reported as saying that “he could live with a few more weeks to see if Bashir is willing to cooperate.” This was in reference to President Bush’s announcement of and delay of (all in one speech) the so-called “Plan B” of sanctions on the Sudanese regime and its business interests.
Representative Wolf has been one of those putting pressure on the Bush administration to act in Darfur. However, his choice of words emphasizes the great chasm between policy makers in cities like Washington and victims of those policies on the ground in far-away lands. Representative Wolf can surely live a few more weeks with this delay in the implementation of sanctions. How many Darfurians can say the same thing? How many more people in Darfur must die over the next few weeks?

To be fair, the President was responding to the plea of the Secretary General of the United Nations who called Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice pleading for more time for diplomacy. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon considers that he has had some success over the past few weeks with the President of Sudan and would not like to anger Bashir at this time. This success is more than a little dubious given the reports this week in the New York Times and other newspapers of Sudanese military planes (carrying arms and heavy military equpiment in to Darfur) being painted white to resemble UN planes. “UN” was even painted in blue on the wings of these barely disguised angels of death. Bashir continues to play the different intenational actors like a harp.

Save Darfur and other activists are understandably angered at this turn of events. John Prendergast of the International Crisis Group said that the President’s speech came up as being “bark with no bite.” Four years into the crisis in Darfur and nearly three since the US called the situation there ‘genocide,’ dithering continues. All of us continue to live with the situation, as horrifying as it is to read about in the papers. Those in Darfur continue to die.

AFJN invites members to write to the President and express the urgency of the situation. Check out the events prepared for Global Days for Darfur, beginning April 23. Include the people of Darfur in your personal prayers and as much as possible in your churches and religious communities. If we’re going to live with this situation, let us at least not live in silence or too much comfort.

Phil Reed