Letters to the Editor

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

This letter is in response to Mark Egerman's column [Darfur: more complicated than it seems, 9/7/04]. We were stunned to read his attempt to present a more "complicated" perspective of the genocide in Darfur, though it should first be noted that he did not offer one source to support his conjectures.
His primary claim is that there are "actually two sides" to this conflict because it exists against the backdrop of a twenty-year long civil war in Sudan. This does not, of course, preclude the indisputable fact that the genocide within the Darfur region has been overwhelmingly perpetuated by one group and its allies in Khartoum. In the words of Human Rights Watch, "The uncontrolled presence of Janjaweed in the burned countryside, and in burned and abandoned villages, has driven civilians into camps and settlements outside the larger towns, where the Janjaweed kill, rape, and pillage – even stealing emergency relief items - with impunity." Yet Egerman claims we should be satisfied because the Sudanese government "tried and convicted six Janjaweed."
It requires quite an imagination to cast the forced deportation of a million innocent people, the murder of over thirty thousand civilians, and the systematic use of rape as a weapon of war, as an "ethnic conflict" (which implies two sides of equal guilt).
Historically there are always people willing to argue for inaction during times of genocide. Examples of unstopped genocides abound in the twentieth century: Rwanda, Cambodia, East Timor, the Armenian genocide, and the Holocaust itself. Sadly, such arguments have been historically successful in stalling concerted action until it was too late.

A response from the author: I am troubled by what I consider to be a misinterpretation of my article. I never dismissed this conflict; in fact I directly named it to be a genocide. I never argued for inaction but rather supported the increased use of African Union troops instead of US or NATO forces. This happens to be the same path advocated by Human Rights Watch, quoted by the authors.

The focus of my article wasn't on the situation itself but on how it is being represented. I didn't say we should be satisfied with the Sudanesegovernment's treatment of the Janjaweed, but that we do not hear about it. I maintain that the coverage of this situation is being portrayed in a way to encourage US involvement with a specific aim. I return a question to the authors: wouldn't it strike you as awkward if the African Union sent troops to Kosovo in 1999? I continue to support a local solution to this problem, this does not mean I oppose intervention.

Yaron Rachlin & Lisa Krebs

As a member of the Greek community at Carnegie Mellon, I was disappointed in the Tartan’s treatment of Kappa Sigma [Fraternities take steps in right direction, 9/07/04]. Last year, I was as dismayed as anyone in our community at the behaviors that caused these men to lose their fraternity charter. However, I have since become educated about what Kap Sig is trying to do to salvage its organization. The remaining brothers are attempting to keep their colony alive by doing things right. Their recruitment may not be subject to specific Inter-Fraternity Council policy, but the Kap Sigs are recruiting with as much integrity as most CMU fraternities. We cannot expect these men to “rise from the ashes” if we don’t even give them a chance to work with our Greek community without fear of exclusion and judgment. I challenge all of the fraternities on this campus to carefully examine their own recruitment activities, as well as their hazing practices, before they condemn the efforts of a new and improving Kappa Sigma.

Anne DiGiovanni
President, Panhellenic Council