The time for action in this concern is ...
long since past.
Estimates vary on the number of dead ... perhaps between 400,000 and a million, perhaps even greater than that. All of the rest have been uprooted, relocated, their homes and their lands and their lives destroyed.
So perhaps its time to say what I think really happened, since no one else has said so. A few of the western media stories mentioned the possibility that there may be oil underneath the ground, that the native Nubians living on it did not care to prospect for it, that the Arabs lusting after the land perhaps did, and that the western world thirsty for the commodity might have a bit of responsibility for it. I do not know. For the most part, the western media reports on the slaughter,
the burning of homes and villages and crops, the departure from the area to other places, tend to implicate the Sudan government either by design or by neglect. They tend to portray the situation as perhaps a racial issue, with the native blacks the hapless victims and the Semitic aggressors as the guilty perpetrators. They endlessly debate whether or not the situation may be labeled "genocide" as if that term will make one whit of difference to any of the people affected.
I do know that there is a tree which thrives in the area and grows nowhere else. This tree has been cultivated by the Arabs for many years and they annually tap the sap in order to harvest a product called "Gum Arabic". This substance, a sticky yellowish crystal, is known to be an excellent emulsifier. What an emulsifier does is to allow substances such as oils, such as aromatic hydrocarbons, to be dissolved in water and to remain in suspension throughout the fluid rather than floating to the top or settling to the bottom. Aromatic hydrocarbons include such things as oil of cinnamon, oil of wintergreen, and in fact a thousand other
fragrant oils, many of them considered pleasing to the taste or smell. Chemical laboratories have attempted to create man-made emulsifiers but no product that could be mass-produced has ever resulted. "Gum Arabic" is the best there is.
If this discussion doesn't have your heart racing with excitement yet, then consider one consumer product, that of the carbonated soft drink.
Consider by how many and how often this product is consumed.
Consider the jobs, the factories, warehouses, retail outlets,
vending machines, sales clerks, and everyone involved in
producing and disseminating this product.
The flavors of soft drinks are provided not by natural juices
but rather by the oils that natural fruits contain and which give
them their distinctive flavors. the oils can be successfully and
cheaply manufactured artificially. However, they will not mix
with water or soda-water. an emulsifier is required to
get them to mix and stay mixed. And that means: gum arabic.
The people who were living peacefully in Darfur, minding their own business, were growing subsistence crops and raising animals on the land. The people who have been taking the land from them have been cultivating gum arabic for generations and selling it for cash.
If anyone had really wanted for the violence to end, they needed for citizens of the "civilized" world to stop drinking any soft drinks. That would have done it. Nothing else would have.
But its always so much easier to point the finger of blame
on someone else than it is to change one's own behavior, isn't it?