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Title: Saviors and Survivors : Darfour, Politics, and the War on Terror
Contributors: Mamdani, Mahmood
Keywords: Darfur
Ethnic relations
Politics and government
Darfur Conflict
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: CODESRIA (Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa)
Place of Publication: Dakar, Senegal
Series/Report no.: CODESRIA Publications in Full Text
Description: It is after rethinking key assumptions—about tradition, race, tribe, and locality—that I return to the core concern of this book: political violence in Darfur. The big difference between violence in Darfur and in the south of Sudan in an earlier era is that the conflict in Darfur began as a civil war in which the government was originally not involved. The war began as an internal Darfuri affair in 1987–89; the government got involved only after the Islamist coup of 1989, and the national opposition parties joined the fray in 2002–3. Despite the racialized ideology that drove the civil war in its opening phase, the mobilization for and conduct of the civil war took place through tribal institutions. Apart from government forces, the war has all along been fought by tribal militias and tribally mobilized rebel movements. At no point has this been a war between “Africans” and “Arabs.” As I show in part three (“Rethinking the Darfur Crisis”), the effect of the drought was filtered through colonially crafted institutions, which divided Darfuri society into two groups: tribes with dars (tribal homelands) and tribes without. The more drought and desertification devastated entire groups, the greater was the tendency for tribes without homelands to be set against those with homelands. The conflict unfolded along two axes. Each pit tribes looking for land (a homeland) against those with land. The difference was that whereas the adversary tribes along the north-south axis were usually “Arab” and “nonArab,” those along the south-south axis were “Arab” on both sides. The work of the Save Darfur movement—and the media in its wake—has had the effect of obscuring the south-south axis in the conflict so as to present the violence as genocide unleashed by “Arab” perpetrators against “African” victims. The conclusion returns to the discussion in chapter 1: the many ways in which the mobilization around Darfur (“save Darfur”) has sought to reinforce the War on Terror. One needs to bear in mind that the movement to save Darfur—like the War on Terror—is not a peace movement: it calls for a military intervention rather than political reconciliation, punishment rather than peace. In the final analysis, the problem of Darfur calls for a triple solution: a regionally negotiated peace, reform of power in the nation-state of Sudan, and reform of land and governance systems within Darfur.
ISSN: 978-2-86978-317-1
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Appears in Collections:Serials and series reports (Publicly Accessible) - CODESRIA

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