Nick Kristof continues to remind us of what's going on in Darfur and Chad:
In diplomatic circles, the Sudanese government can be wonderfully polished as it scoffs at accusations of genocide and denounces calls for U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur.
In isolated villages, everything is more straightforward — like the men in Sudanese military uniforms who on Tuesday captured Abdullah Idris, a 27-year-old father of two, in the fields as he was farming. They tried to shoot him in the chest, but the gun misfired.
"So they beat him to the ground," explained Osman Omar, a nephew of Mr. Abdullah who was one of several neighbors who recounted the events in the same way. "And then they used their bayonets to gouge out his eyes."
Mr. Abdullah lay on his back on a hospital bed, his eye sockets swathed in bandages soaked in blood and pus. A sister sat on the floor beside him, crying; his wife and small children stood nearby, looking overwhelmed and bewildered. He was so traumatized in the incident that he has been unable to speak since, but he constantly reaches out to hold the hands of his family members.
Three men and two women were killed in that attack by the janjaweed, the militias of Arab nomads that have been slaughtering black African farmers for more than three years now. A 26-year-old woman was kidnapped, and nobody has seen her since.
The janjaweed even explained themselves to the people they were attacking. Survivors quoted them as shouting racial epithets against blacks and yelling, “We are going to kill you, and we are going to take your land.”
Mr. Abdullah’s eyes were gouged out as part of a wave of recent attacks here in southeastern Chad. Officials from the U.N. refugee agency counted at least 220 people killed in the last week in this area near Goz Beida.
As I write this on my laptop, I’ve just returned from a long drive through abandoned countryside. The village of Tamajour was still smoldering after being burned by janjaweed attackers two days earlier.
I finally found some residents of Tamajour, clustered around the hospital of Goz Beida. Abdelkarim Zakaria, a 25-year-old man, lay in a bed with two bullets lodged in his back. Friends had carried him more than 20 miles to the hospital to save his life.
Outside the hospital, two old women from Tamajour lay on the ground, suffering from terrible burns. The women were too feeble to flee, and they said that the janjaweed fighters set fire to their huts even though they knew the women were inside. One woman, Gida Zakaria, who said she thought she was about 70, had a back that was just an ulcerating mass of raw flesh.
After more than three years of such brutality, it seems incredibly inadequate for the international community simply to hand out bandages when old women are roasted in their huts and young men have their eyes gouged out. What we need isn’t more bandages, but the will to stand up to genocide....
Don't let Congress and President Bush get away with offering platitudes and humanitarian aid. Someone needs to send in some troops. That someone should be the UN. If the UN fails, then NATO should intervene. If precedent is needed, then Serbia in 1999 is precedent. Every day that nothing happens is another day that people are brutalized.