First published @ Celestial Junk

It may come as a surprise to some that NGOs that fly under the umbrella of “Aid Groups” are in the midths of a dispute with Human Rights groups over how to deal with the Darfur crisis. The squabble isn’t trivial … in fact, it is centered around a fundamental question; Does one use a hammer or a carress to save Darfur?

David Reiff offers an impartial analysis:

Generally, humanitarian aid groups see nothing wrong with advocacy organizations like Save Darfur campaigning to mobilize world public opinion about the plight of the Darfurians (though some of the mainline relief NGOs, notably Doctors Without Borders, have disputed the assertion that what’s going on in Darfur is, in fact, genocide). But they are quick to point out that human-rights activists do not remain on the ground in Darfur and do not have the burden of looking after the immediate needs of the refugees and the internally displaced. To the relief groups, the chief danger of an outside military intervention is that, to paraphrase that infamous remark by the American officer in Vietnam, the interveners will destroy Darfur in order to save it.

Pro-intervention advocates in the human-rights community, in contrast, tend to take the view that relief workers are being too cautious. They point out that the same anxieties were voiced by many aid groups during the Bosnian war and in the run-up to the war in Afghanistan, and that, given Khartoum’s refusal to curb its murderous surrogates in Darfur, outside military intervention is the only viable solution both practically and morally. In their view, allowing the current political and military situation to continue so that humanitarian aid can be dispensed may have short-term benefits, but it condemns the Darfurians to a future of endless human destruction. Far from helping, they argue, relief without intervention amounts to keeping people alive now so [that] the Sudanese government forces can kill them later — a Band-Aid on a cancer, as some activists put it.

There is no question that both sides believe they are acting morally. And, in fairness, it should be noted that there are some in the humanitarian aid community who do favor outside intervention, even if they have been reluctant to voice this view publicly.

What a world … it’s bad enough that “right” and “left” can’t talk to each other long enough to save Darfur … it’s even worse when the self proclaimed “do gooders” can’t even agree among themselves.

In the end, it’s entirely possible that nobody will save the hapless victims of Darfur until someone, somewhere, calls in the cavalry and the real professional fixers, NATO Troops, come and clean up everyone’s mess.

Further reading: A Shadow on the Human Rights Movement

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