Aug. 11 - The NFL preseason is underway, and I'm pretty sure we can expect to hear an announcer refer to someone's "Janjaweed" defense in the near future. It's also our high political season, and I'm sure there'll be inflammatory talk of "The Janjaweed Wing" of both parties. Late night comedians will have a lot of fun with the word Janjaweed, which sounds more like a variety of cannabis than an apocalyptic harbinger of death, rape, and destruction.


* * *

"Janjaweed" is apparently derived from the Arabic for "Devils on Horseback." These irregular soldiers, whose exact relationship with the Sudanese government is a matter of some debate, are accused of perpetrating ethnic cleansing in the Darfur region of western Sudan. (The Janjaweed are Arab Muslims; their victims are black muslims.) The U.N. estimates 50,000 dead and over a million displaced already, but the crisis continues apace.

There are 200,000 refugees in Chad alone. Their stories are bleak:

''The Janjaweed burned our village. They took about 20 of our men, tied their hands together, and shot them all. Many of the women were raped and kidnapped," said Borgo in a near whisper, almost hiding behind the tangle of mukheit branches holding up her canopy. ''After that, we stayed in the mountains away from the Janjaweed and waited for the rain."

The U.S. Congress has declared the situation to be one of genocide (US official insists ''genocide'' taking place in Darfur). The EU demurs: "A delegation of EU officials has said widespread killings are taking place in the Dafur region of Sudan, but that they could not be qualified as genocide." Seriously:

"We are not in the situation of genocide there," said Pieter Feith, an adviser to the EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, according to news agency AFP.

"But it is clear there is widespread, silent and slow killing going on and village burning of a fairly large scale. There are considerable doubts as to the willingness of Sudan's government to assume its duty to protect its civilian population against attacks," Feith added.

And what's the so-called conscience of the world doing about this? Read for yourself:

Jan Pronk, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Sudan, and Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail met in the capital Khartoum to discuss preparations for the next meeting Thursday of the Joint Implementation Mechanism (JIM), which will focus on the status of implementation of the 3 July joint communiqué between the UN and the Sudanese Government, as well as the Darfur Plan of Action.

The two co-signed a letter transmitting to Mr. Annan and Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al Bashir the text of that plan, which was agreed to last week and approved Sunday by the Sudanese Cabinet. [Entire article.]

Won't that send shivers down the spine of the murderous rapists on horseback! Hold up, Hasim! We better not kill these men, burn their village, and rape their women. The Joint Implementation Mechanism might find unsatisfactory results on the status of the implementation of the July 3 communiqué!

* * *

If I were to give full vent to the vindictive bastard inside me, here's what I'd say: I'd say, whatever.

Genocide? Like the gassing of Kurds? Like the mass graves of tens, maybe hundreds of thousands? Hey, man, whatever. You can't go messing with a sovereign government just because they're, you know, putting a whole bunch of people to death or whatever.

We upheld the U.N.'s "resolve" in Iraq and all we got for our trouble was an endless load of shit thrown at us. You want us involved in Sudan? Sure. Tell you what... you guys go ahead and straighten things out, and once they're "stable" enough for our boys we'll think about sending you some financial aid.

Seriously, world. Whatever.

* * *

But I'm not vindictive enough to sacrifice the poor doomed bastards of western Sudan to my wrath. Nor are most Americans. We'll do what we can, and we'll try not to bristle at the grotesque hypocrisy of a world crying out for our help out of one side of its mouth while accusing us of war crimes out of the other.


* * *

It's Independence Day in Chad, King's Accession Day in Jordan, and Heroes Day in Zimbabwe.

Today is the birthday of Terry "Hollywood" Hogan (1953), Rev. Jerry Falwell (1933), Mike Douglas (1925), and Alex Haley (1921).

© 2004, The Moron's Almanac™

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