There are hundreds of blog on Darfur out there in the blogosphere. Most are unfortunately parroting the same crap they read or hear in the media. There are many inaccuracies floating around (too many). The majority of my blogging when I first started was aimed at explaining the complexities and correcting the inaccuracies, the most famous ones being the whole “Arabs Vs Africans” and “rebels: good, government: bad” narratives. Early and long time readers of this blog know that it’s “Bad Vs Worse”.
(For the sake of new readers, I’ll dig up all the important posts I wrote regarding the aforementioned and I’ll arrange them in the “Best of this Blog” section.)
Anyways, today I want to bring your attention to two excellent blogs which don’t contain the usual and annoying inaccuracies you see elsewhere.
Andrew Heavens, a journalist, has been writing a nice series of short posts at his blog. He’s now based in Sudan. Rob Crilly is also a journalist who travels to Sudan quite often. In fact he just returned from Darfur back to Nairobi recently. They’ve got some good stuff and by going through their posts, one can observe they have a deep understanding of what’s happening.
See what Rob Crilly has to say in his post “Shades of Gray“:
Every time I visit Sudan or write about the conflict in Darfur, I am struck by the same feelings of inadequacy. By and large the crisis there is badly reported.
… Nevermind the fact that everyone in Darfur is black and African, and the term Arab is often used by tribes to signal that they are nomads and aspire to some sort of “higher” social status. If the rest of that analysis was true, it was maybe only true for a month or so in 2004. Things are very different now. “Arabs” have joined the rebels and the government has its own “black, Africans”.
… I also met a former rebel commander in El Fasher. He had quit the movement two years earlier after becoming frustrated at the leadership’s preference for using civilian villages as bases. “They seemed to want to use civilian suffering caused by government and Janjaweed attacks in their PR campaign,” he told me in the offices of the human rights organisation where he now works.
… The rebels have a reasonable argument that their province has been marginalised for decades. My point is that there is more to a thinking, sensible, reasoned analysis than simply believing that it’s a case of good guys against bad guys.