Thursday, June 4, 2009

Weirded out by de Waal again....

A couple weeks ago on his blog he had this rant about too many international visitors to Sudan taking up all the time of Sudanese government officials who needed to be "working" on peace (that's right, they are never involved in coordinating helicopter gunship attacks or suppressing newspaper editors or bad things like that, honest). But then, like a week later, we get this report of his from Darfur, where he's visiting and .... having meetings. With no trace of irony, he posts a picture of a big school "ceremony" with him (presumably taking the picture) and Julie Flint in northern Darfur (I think) and hundreds of kids and teachers standing at attention in the sun. Good thing the kids and teachers don't have important "work" to do, so they have time for a meeting with important international visitors.

Honestly, it seems never to have occurred to de Waal that the purpose of all the visits is precisely to make government officials stop doing bad things, because when you do bad things you have to answer questions all the time from lots of foreign officials! Reminds me of how after the Iraq war they found the hundreds of thousands of letters written by Amnesty folks about political prisoners, unopened. Maybe there should have been more international visitors and fewer letters? De Waal seems to imply an email would be fine:

"Dear Mr. President,
It has come to my attention that 2.5 million persons continue living in IDP camps in Darfur because of continued insecurity due in large part to your unwillingness to enter into genuine cease-fires with a number of small rebel groups in the region. I was thinking of a high profile visit to Khartoum and perhaps even Darfur to express my fervent desire that you and your government do more to enable these 2.5 million persons to return to their homes. But after some thought, I decided that most likely this was of course what you were already doing, 24/7. So my visit would just have been a distraction. In fact, as I think about it, I have decided not to send this email, because I know you would then have to spend some of your valuable time drafting a response.
Yours sincerely if I had sent the email,
Barry Obama"

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