September 03, 2007
Dar Fur: Not So Simple as Arabs attacking "Blacks"
As longer-term readers of Aqoul know, I have rather long been beating away at a point re Dar Fur: that the nice little story packaged up for college activists and Islamo / Arabophobes re Dar Fur fundamentally mis-characterises tribal resource war as genocide and that the real story is desertification and excessive population pressure on an environment that can't support the combination of population lifestyles and numbers. And that the simplistic narrative of Black Africans versus Arabs (imagined to be people looking rather like Saudis, rather than the said Arab elders in the photo... who are rather obviously Arabised locals of a most "Black" genotype....)
The New York Times in a generally decent article, Chaos in Darfur on Rise as Arabs Fight With Arab makes me point, if belatedly. Of course, it contains certain idiocies, such as referring to Arab tribes in the plural but the Fur as a single tribe - they are of course a linguistic group about as much a single tribe as "the Arabs." Which is to say, they are tribes, plural. The article is very much worth a read and promotion. As I am an optimist by nature, perhaps it can help correct some of the delirious whanking on about Arab genocide on the Blacks, and maybe refocus on the real tragedy of an ecological and economic catastrophe and a spiral of destruction as clan and tribal warfare becomes bloodbaths via guns (not that history of the Maori should be forgotten in reminding one and all this is hardly a new phenomena).
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the real story is desertification and excessive population pressure on an environment that can't support the combination of population lifestyles and numbers.
Spot on. It all reminds me a bit of the whole Rwanda mess.
And if global warming becomes a serious issue, so will the fun. Apparently the Sahara has been spreading for centuries, quite unrelated.
I'd be more concerned about all that melting permafrost in Siberia than a bit of sand and baked rock, personally. Where on earth are we going to get woolly mammoth burgers once all of the carcasses thaw and start to rot?
drdougfir: I have my doubts about the theory that the Rwanda genocide was about population density. It was more about perceived ethnic identity being instrumentalised by that cosy Hutu power gang...
The post is right otherwise as regards the ethnicity in Sudan. The point to make more widely is that you should, in politics as in law, always distinguish - one set of facts from another, one precedent from another, and so on. To lump together the different ethnic and tribal groups in Sudan under the heading Arabs/Muslims against Blacks is plainly wrong-headed. I remember seeing a photo of the some Darfur rebels leaders' some weeks ago - to me they looked like your average salafi jihadia gang leader, with beards and all, only with blacker skin. You don't see posters of these around when George Clooney makes speeches - they are probably not cute enough...
Posted by: Ibn Kafka at September 4, 2007 07:16 AM