The Darfur Debate

This debate between Mahmood Mamdani and John Prendergast took place on April 14, 2009 at the School of International and Public Affairs and the Institute for African Studies, Columbia University. I recently finished Mamdani’s new book Saviors and Survivors, which I will be reviewing for The Electronic Intifada shortly. The book is a tour de force brimming with political, historical, and anthropological insights. I would highly recommend it to anyone with interest in the subject.

(Also see James North’s review of the debate, and this follow up post.)

Author: Idrees Ahmad

I am a Lecturer in Digital Journalism at the University of Stirling and a former research fellow at the University of Denver’s Center for Middle East Studies. I am the author of The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War (Edinburgh University Press, 2014). I write for The Observer, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Al Jazeera, Dissent, The National, VICE News, Huffington Post, In These Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, Die Tageszeitung (TAZ), Adbusters, Guernica, London Review of Books (Blog), The New Arab, Bella Caledonia, Asia Times, IPS News, Medium, Political Insight, The Drouth, Canadian Dimension, Tanqeed, Variant, etc. I have appeared as an on-air analyst on Al Jazeera, the BBC, TRT World, RAI TV, Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon, Alternative Radio with David Barsamian and several Pacifica Radio channels.

9 thoughts on “The Darfur Debate”

  1. Erudition and urbanity there was in profusion at this Columbia debate.

    Pity everyone was too polite to mention the key names and sponsors of the various contending parties.

    Firstly the ICC and Prendergast are key Soros/Malloch-Brown assets.Their goal is the not unfamiliar genocidal British imperial one of breaking up another African nation-in this case the biggest,Sudan-into warring ethnic,religious and tribal groups.

    Prendergast,a consummate bullshitter from the same slime-mould as Susan Rice and Samantha Power gave the game away back in February when he let it be known that if Bashir agreed not to stand in the forthcoming elections-the ICC charges could then be set aside.

    No further proof that the ICC warrant was a fraud designed to weaken both the Sudanese government and its ongoing peace initiative was required.

    Again,our unbearably elegant academics were too polite to mention that the main trigger for the current bout of blood-letting in Sudan’s long-running conflict was the launching in 2003 of the British/Muslim Brotherhood-backed rebellion led by Turabi.

    This foreign-sponsored anti-government insurgency came just as the government was on the point of a peace deal with South Sudan.

    Naturally the only country in the world willing to subscribe to the view that Khartoum is guilty of genocide is the US.The charge has been made increasingly by new Obama ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice.Strangely reticent again,neither of the participants mentioned Rice,a protege of Madeleine (we think the price is worth it)Albright,Chatham House and CFR member.

    While Prendergast has not produced one shred of evidence to support the inflated figures for deaths in Darfur he appears not to have noticed that the economic genocide in the Congo that followed the incursion from Rwanda that occurred soon after the Kagame take-over in Kagali in 1994 has claimed a veritable 6m lives.

    The participants were too polite to mention this conflict-a product of the Anglo-US Great Lakes destabilization programme initiated on the back of the removal of the Habyrimana regime in Rwanda amid typically frauduent claims of genocide.

    During the 1990s,along with Rice and Anthony Lake, Prendergast consistently misled Clinton on the situation in Darfur.They cited US willingness to intervene in Kosovo as a precedent that must be followed up in Sudan.

    The aggressive posture of this trio was rudely rejected in 2006 by Bush’s special envoy to Sudan,Anthony Natsios,who told Rice that a NATO deployment was out of the question given the increased conflict levels in Afghanistan and Lebanon at that time.

    Had Mamdani not been so polite he would have mentioned the role the US and Israel has played in arming the SPLA.

    Moreover there was no mention of how RPF violations of sovereignty in both Congo and Sudan have been conducted according to a premeditated plan with Pentagon logistical,tactical and military support and outsourcing assistance from the likes of Haliburton,Ronco,and Military Resources Inc.

    He might also have brought up Prendergast on his own efforts to explain the phenomenon of child soldiers.These were a product of conflicts initiated by Albright’s “beacons of hope” in Africa in places like Uganda,Rwanda,Ethiopia,Angola,Eritrea,Burundi and the DRC.These were leaders who seized power by force then donned civilian clothes and abetted corporate looting of their sovereign territories.

    Being brutally honest with Predergast and his ilk means reminding them that the wars in the DRC,Sierra Leonne,Angola and Sudan are Western-syndicated proxy wars using the upheaval caused by war as cover for coporate extraction of valuable minerals and materials.

    As for the “Darfurian” attendees who backed US intervention to a man-I hope Prendergast paid their fares home!

  2. The attendees’ reactions were disappointing.Is it the current mood in universities?

    btw the “review of the debate” link is broken.

    1. The broken link can be found below:

      You can also get a perceptive article by James North about the real reasons the Iranian revolution has survived in the last article in the link below:

      About the above debate itself , a very important missing link was the lack of mention of Chad in the prolongation of the Darfur Conflict ( though i understand that this is explored in a chapter of the Book), by not mentioning the dynamic of Chad , the conflict , as save Darfur try to imply, can be seen as the sole responsibility of Khartoum and not , as Mamdani explains as a regional crisis with a pan-regional solution.

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