Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Last week, the International Criminal Court (ICC), issued an arrest warrant for current President of Sudan, Omer Hassan Al-Bashir. Al-Bashir has been charged with five counts of crimes against humanity: murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape. He also faces two counts of war crimes. The ICC may be growing its first tooth.

Behind the warrant were the many groups that have tirelessly worked to bring global attention to the matter. The ‘Save Darfur’ campaign has been extremely successful example in rallying public support, beginning in churches and university campuses, to influence the public dialogue and bring pressure upon public officials. Through organizing local events, but aiming to influence public opinion on a global level, the campaign is a model in their use of new media, internet, and public rallies and theatre to bring attention to the genocide and plight of a people. While I am in admiration of the campaigns strategies and efforts, it is still worthwhile to ponder on global culpability in allowing such genocides to continue to occur.

As part of these efforts, the campaign has been successful in bringing pressure upon China for its continued support of the genocidal regime and its willingness to condone the Sudanese government’s behavior in its bid to keep receiving returns on its billions of dollars investment into the country’s oil industry. Although on some level I understand realpolitik and China’s strategy of attempting to find oil supplies in those states that are considered pariahs by the US in order for China to satiate its growing oil needs. Still I cannot condone such actions and cannot trade human life for oil.

Grassroots efforts and political efforts are starting to show that the pressure upon China for its support of Sudan is beginning to have effect. Steven Spielberg’s boycott of the Beijing Olympics was one example. Protecting Sudan through its veto ability in the Security Council of the United Nations (UN), it is understandable why world pressure focuses on China. It is heartening that the pressure may even be beginning to have some effect.

However, left out of the equation is India.

India has long supported its economic interests despite worldwide attention about the ongoing genocide in Darfur. India’s oil flagship ONGC Videsh Limited is operation a producing oil field in Southern Sudan and is seeking to expand its efforts. It is these oil fields that are part of the reasoning that fuels the ethnic cleansing of Darfur and it is largely oil revenues that are used to purchase the weapons used for the extermination.