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Ho Hum. Another Genocide

Darfur, Sudan, South Sudan (Encyclopædia Britannica)

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about genocide. In this blog I wish to address one significant example of genocide that was not received a lot of attention. I am referring to Darfur. As will be seen, the area and the people are victims of British colonialism and arbitrary map-drawing developments.

Think for example in Iraq. There the British did not include Kuwait in the new artificial country of Iraq. Hence what Saddam Hussein did was an invasion of a foreign country. On the other hand, the Kurds, or at least some of them, were included in Iraq. This meant their resistance could be labeled an insurrection. Thanks to the American protective zone, the Kurds were able to create a defacto country within Iraq. These boundary lines show how even a century or more later, we have to live with the consequences of the lines in the sand drawn by (British) imperialists.


Sudan is one of the artificial countries in Africa created by Europeans, specifically, the British in this case. The following recap comes from Tim Jeal, Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure (Yale University Press 2011). The bulk of the book deals with these great adventures to seek the source of the Nile in ancient times and through Victorian times. The last section deals with the consequences of the mainly 19th century search which continue to reverberate to this very day.

Samuel Baker, one of the explorers, in May 1871, raised the Egyptian flag over Gondokoro. The city on the east bank of the White Nile represented the upriver limit for European vessels before reaching the swampy, nearly impassable Sudd. He renamed it Ismailia and declared a new Egyptian province that extended as far south as Buganda and Lake Albert, deep into Africa. His anti-slavery actions earned the support of black African tribes and the enmity of Arab slave traders. His actions also heralded the “Scramble for Africa” which would partition a continent. Jeal notes:

… Baker’s recipe for creating new colonies , with a few steamers and a regiment or two, had little to do with adventure and a lot to with brushing aside legitimate African rulers, whose only crime was to have indicated they wished to remain independent in the face of superior might (343).  

But the proposed Equatoria province with the extension of Egypt’s and Sudan’s border south failed with disastrous consequences.

In 1894, Parliament declared Uganda a protectorate. It incorporated Equatoria as its immense northern province. In 1898, Kitchener triumphed over the Madhists in the one-sided Battle of Omdurman on the west bank of the Nile opposite Khartoum, The battle has been likened to a mass execution. The combatants were like armies from different centuries. The victory made Britain the effective ruler of Sudan. It now controlled the entire White Nile.

France had been angling to create an east-west corridor, but was prevented from doing so.

By the terms of the Anglo-French Declaration … France allowed Sudan’s border to be stretched westwards at its expense and to incorporate Darfur within Sudan – an arrangement not considered momentous at the time, but of immense importance a century later when an independent Arab government in Khartoum was able to practice ethnic cleansing with impunity against Darfur’s black Muslims because they lived within Sudan’s legal borders. Before 1898, the Sultanate of Darfur had been fully independent (393).

Equatoria had been an entirely African territory in which the northern Arabs were considered invaders and exploiters. Britain then apportioned the failed province between Uganda and Sudan. Uganda received an influx of Nilotic people with whom the southern Bantu including the Buganda had nothing in common. The Arabs of northern Sudan expanded to include southern tribes. They derided the culture of the people whom they had long raided and enslaved.

An almost incalculable amount of suffering would spring from Britain’s decision to dispose of Equatoria so casually (398).

The actions of Sir Harold MacMichael who was the top civil servant in Sudan highlight the problem. He was stationed in Khartoum which he loved and avoided visiting the bog upriver to the south. Finally in 1927, he visited it and was “shocked to the core” per Jeal. It was a giant swamp or an endless mud-baked plain.  The Dinka, Nuer, and Annuak who lived in this hot and treeless wilderness were a tall, physically graceful, and proud people who were absolutely determined to preserve their way of life in their remote and inaccessible habitat. According to Jeal, MacMichael “feared that it would be impossible to persuade such people to embrace ‘civilisation’ as the norther Arabs appeared to wish do” (399). Consequently since the area was of no economic value, MacMichael refrained from any infrastructure development there. The British administrators in Khartoum responsible for the south Sudan became known as “Bog Barons.”

There was a genuine fear among the Bog Barons that education per se might undermine a rich traditional way of life without putting anything of value in its place (401).

Jeal optimistically states that the south could have been saved from subordination and second-class citizenship in an independent Sudan, but no such political decision was made. The “south was now doomed to be subservient after independence” (402). Nor could the Nilotic people of south Sudan become part of Uganda with its Bantu-dominated south either. Yet the South Sudan was not going to accept absorption and control by the Moslem north. Ultimately, after a long and bloody “civil war,” these two areas separated and South Sudan became a new country. In the meantime, the black Moslems in the formerly independent kingdom of Darfur continued to suffer genocide from the Arab Moslem north.


DARFUR (Getty Images)

A series of recent newspaper articles tell the tale about Darfur.

“Sudan’s War Sends a Fresh Wave of Refugees from Darfur to Chad,” (NYT, May 17, 2023, print).

“A ‘Dystopian Nightmare’ Unfolds in Sudan’s Battered Darfur,” (NYT, June 8, 2023, full-page print).

“Death and Displacement Return to Darfur,” (NYT op-ed column, July 5, 2023, print), which puts the current conflict in its historical context dating back to its Sudan’s creation.

“Sudan conflict brings new atrocities to Darfur,’ (AP in Gannett, July 30, 2023).

“UN: Sudan has plunged into humanitarian crisis,” (AP in Gannett, August 7, 2023, print).

“War Drives South Sudanese Back to Ill-Prepared Homeland,” (NYT September 8, 2023, print, front-page above-the–fold)

People who had fled war in Sudan to South Sudan. Now they were returning to a country experiencing a vicious civil war that has generated over 5 million refugees. Fillipo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said in an interview in South Sudan:

The very low level of funding in response to the emergency in Sudan and from Sudan is really shame. This needs to change (NYT, September 8, 2023).   

“Left ‘Broken Pieces’ as Darfur Clashes Force New Generation to Flee,” (NYT, September 22, 2023).

“Sudan’s Civil War Isn’t Over, but General Takes a Victory Lap: His Paramilitary Force Is Secretly Being Armed By U.A.E., Report Says,” (NYT January 20, 2024, print, one full page).

“Atrocities Rise in Sudan by Two Warring Forces: U.N. Stark Report Documents the Horrors,” (New York Times February 25, 2024, print).

The article refers to ethnic rampages, accompanied by rape and looting that killed thousands in the western region of Darfur. Sudanese soldiers displayed decapitated heads of students who were killed on the basis of their ethnicity. The war has displaced eight million people.

“Israel, Gaza and Double Standards,” (NYT March 3, 2024, print, op-ed piece Nicholas Kristof).

He compares the waves of atrocities unleashed against the people of Sudan. He three million displaced children exceeds the entire population of Gaza. The 700,000 children facing severe acute malnutrition are ignored by university students in Europe and America. And this is happening a mere two decades after Darfur endured what may be described as the first genocide of the 21st century.

“The World Has Been Unforgivably Silent on Sudan,” (New York Times, March 19, 2024, print, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations).

“Generals’ Fight in Sudan Brings a Year of War,” (New York Times April 16, 2024, print).

Hunger. Displacement. Collapse of education system that once drew foreigners. Atrocities continue to mount in Darfur where 300,000 were killed and millions other displaced from 2003 to 2008.

Rather than aid, nations are pouring arms into the war. The current atrocities in Darfur are reminiscent of those in 2004. 18 million people face hunger and 8 million have been displaced. The silence of the response has been deafening.

“Sudanese City in Darfur, Ringed by Paramilitary Troops, Fears Wave of Ethnic Slaughter,” (New York Times, April 30, print).

What is the African American position on funding for Sudan, South Sudan, and Darfur and recommendation on what the United States should do there?

“In Darfur, Genocide May Be Happening Again,” (New York Times, May 16, 2024, print, op-ed column by Nicholas Kristof).

The atrocities two decades ago galvanized a vast response led by protesters across the United States. Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden were part of an outcry by tens of thousands of high school and college students plus activists, churches, synagogues, and mosques working together. There were sanctions, peacekeeping forces, and the ousting of the genocide leader.

“Some of the same Arab forces responsible for the genocide in the 2000s are picking up where they left off. They are massacring, torturing, raping and mutilating members of non-Arab ethnic groups.” They mock the victims as being “slaves” and utter racial taunts. Darfur has been abandoned. “Never again” has become “one more time.”

The scale of the devastation in Darfur dwarfs that of in Gaza yet the college students are quiet. The massacre of non-Arabs by Arabs evokes no outrage. The students are not woke to this event.


African Americans remain silent as well. The failure of the term “African American” to create an African-based identity for Middle Passage People as championed by Jesse Jackson is illuminated by an article “Sudanese Mourn 2 Teens Shot Dead by a Deputy” (New York Times, September 19, 2023, print). The article is about second-generation émigrés who had fled the violence in South Sudan for the safety of Syracuse, New York. Chol Majok, a member of the Syracuse Common Council and former South Sudan refugee said:

“When we came to this country, we were looking for second chances in life. There is tremendous faith, in our community, in this country. And everything it has to offer…We have been just trying to tell to the community, especially as people that are in a position of leadership that are South Sudanese, is that we keep the faith, the faith that helped us cross the oceans and brought us to this land, that that faith still shines and still burns. And that’s what we lean on.”

Spoken like a true immigrant.

However, H. Bernard Alex, president of the Syracuse chapter of the National Action Network, in his comments differentiated between the “’African and African American communities who call Syracuse and Onondaga County home.’” He “acknowledged that there are sometimes differences between traditional Black communities and newly arrived African residents in Syracuse.”

“They have to try to fit in somehow with African Americans, in schools and neighborhoods. African American Americans are not always very kind to Africans.”

At this point, who cares about genocide in Darfur other than the people in Darfur itself? And what exactly should anybody, meaning the West, meaning the United States do about it? Sanctions? Blockade? Boots on the ground? Would college students support it? Would progressives support it? Would MAGA support it? Do African Americans care? Would the thought even occur inside the Oval Office? In short, there doesn’t seem to be much anyone can do to stop the genocide in Darfur until the Sudanese Arabs run out people to kill because they are all dead or refugees.

Columbus Day versus Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Part III- The Meaning of “Indigenous”

This blog is the third in a series of five about the issue of Columbus Day versus Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The first one Columbus Day versus Indigenous Peoples’ Day: A Lose-Lose War arose due to some recent state decisions to “dump” or “ditch” Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ day. The second Columbus Day versus Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Part II – Columbus and America examined the place of Columbus and Columbia in American history. This blog will examine the use of the word “indigenous.”  In the following blogs, I will address how this war happened and suggest what we should do about it.

The following items about the meaning of “indigenous” are the product of reading the newspaper daily. In my case it is the New York Times. These examples are not the result of internet searches or exhaustive research. They derive from current events provided one pays attention. Dates are from the print editions


Who are these “Indigenous” people? The article does identify them but the title is telling. In the previous blog I mentioned the Italians, Irish, and Germans in America. Can you imagine an article about filmmakers from any of these people that did not identify them by name in the title? Or by black people? Instead, “Indigenous” is treated as a capitalized proper noun as if it were the name of the people. It conveys the message that there is a global people called Indigenous as if they are a single people.

Where in the world are these Indigenous people located anyway? Are they Indigenous Canadians? Indigenous Americans? Indigenous Mexicans? Indigenous Peruvians? I exclude Europe because rarely if ever are white people referred to as Indigenous. That exclusion is part of the weaponization of the term. In fact white people, non-capitalized, are separate from Indigenous people in the article. As it turns out in this instance the Indigenous people are in Australia.

How do Indigenous people live? According to this article, Indigenous life is one of “hunting, fishing, lounging in the stunning and rugged landscape, interacting with condescending local [white, one presumes] bureaucrats.” Keep in mind the pre-technology description of the people living a Paleolithic life. That description of a simpler life also is part of the weaponization of the term to be addressed in the next blog.


Once again the Indigenous people are Australians but this time on islands. They are very small islands compared to the main island of Australia. These islands are threatened by the rising seas due to global warming. According to a lawyer involved in seeking to resolve this situation on behalf of the Indigenous people:

“If Indigenous people are disposed of their homelands, then they can’t continue to practice their culture.”

It should be comforting to know that if we non-Indigenous people are disposed of our homelands we still will be able to practice our culture.


Given that Indigenous people are located globally except for Europe, one might think that to perpetrate a genocide against them would require a global action. However, that is not the case. Putting the inconsistency aside, what is striking about the article is the reference to the people attending the announcement of an inquiry into these killings:

Most in the audience were in traditional Indigenous dress and held red flowers in remembrance of the women.

They did not wear traditional Irish dress or Greek dress or Ukrainian dress but an Indigenous dress worn by all Indigenous people.


In this instance, the title identifies the person as a Mohawk and not as an Indigenous person. The article does recount the use of indigenous (non-capitalized) languages. It lauds the “contributions of indigenous soldiers in World War II.” The obituary reads like a composite. Part of it seems to have been written in pre-politically correct times when American Indians were referred to by their proper noun names. Four different tribes are mentioned in the article. Another reads as if the word “Indian” in the original obituary subsequently was cleansed and replaced by “indigenous.” I cannot prove that but it is an odd mixture of the traditional and the politically correct.

Suppose now you were an historian thousands of years from now and came across these articles. Wouldn’t it be reasonable to include that all Indigenous people wore the same traditional clothes, practiced hunting, fishing, spoke the same or similar languages, and were condescended to by presumably white bureaucrats? Australia, islands, Canada, United States, it’s all the same. They are all Indigenous. How would you they are different? Don’t these descriptions remind you of the phrase “if you’ve seen one Indigenous people, you’ve seen them all”? Doesn’t the depiction of these people remind you of two-dimensional Disney characters?  Isn’t the condescension of the politically correct white people abhorrent and degrading?

Let’s turn to some more explosive political situations.


In this situation, the indigenous peoples are Indians. They practice the Hindu religion. They are in conflict with the non-indigenous Moslems. One Muslim complained of the treatment.

“I could be lynched right now and nobody would do anything about it. My government doesn’t even consider me Indian. How can that be when my ancestors have lived here hundreds of years?”

These foreigners will never belong in India. They can never become indigenous. They will always be the outsiders to the native Indians who have superior numbers and power unlike the American Indians. This foreigner fears being lynched by the indigenous people. As nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked:

“Who attempted to defame our 5,000-years-old culture? Who brought the word Hindu terrorism? Who committed the sin of labeling Hindus as terrorists?”

As one supporter said:

“[I]f Hindus can come together and Muslims can be defeated, then India can regain its past glory.”

India is not looking to an imaginary Wikanda or to the Paleolithic past. These indigenous people of 5,000 years are looking to defeat the non-indigenous foreigners in this world. Since this newspaper article was written, Modi won his re-election by a huge amount. Score one for the Indigenous people over the outsiders.


This article recounts the plight of the Muslim Rohingya. They have been displaced by Myanmar Buddhists. According to Wikipedia,

Myanmar law does not recognize the ethnic minority as one of the eight “national indigenous races”.

Score two for the Indigenous people over the outsider.


This op-ed piece followed the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka. According to the Sri Lanka Moslem author:

Sri Lankan Muslims trace our roots back to the Arab traders and Sufi mystics who brought Islam to Sri Lanka in the seventh century.

That doesn’t cut it. Whether it was the hundreds of years cited in the Indian article above or 1300 years here those time frames do not make you a native. You are not indigenous to Sri Lanka. You will always be an outsider and never will belong there.

The reference to the Arabs and the seventh century is a reminder that Arabs are scarcely indigenous anywhere. Loosely speaking they originated in the area where Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, and Jordan come together. They are not indigenous to Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan, Yemen, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and most of the those four countries. Thanks to the camel they began to expand outwards as traders, mercenaries, and guides beginning in the 9th century BCE, over 1500 years before Mohammed.  Some Arabs were forcibly resettled by the non-Arab Assyrians. The big push occurred in the seventh century when the Arabs conquered much of the Middle East and imposed their religion on the locals. Sounds like Spain in the Western Hemisphere doesn’t it?  Christian Lebanese sometimes identify as non-Arab Phoenicians who were in the land before the Arabs. A recent article on DNA analysis DNA from Medieval Crusader Skeletons Suggests Surprising Diversity concludes:

Today’s Lebanese people are clearly descended from the people who have lived in the area since the Bronze Age, with little trace of the temporary European invaders.

That Bronze Age ended roughly 2000 years before the Arab invasions. The Arabs are indigenous only to a small area of the lands they occupy today.

Consider this final example from op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof (“The Missing Element to Beat Poverty” [May 30, 2019]). He describes his visit to Paraguay. While there he encounters indigenous people. He chooses not to capitalize the word unlike the reporters for the newspaper. He writes about the economic hardships these people face and likens it to the plight of indigenous people around the world from America to Australia. Now suppose this woman he met emigrated to the United States, would she still be indigenous? Or since she was from Paraguay would she be classified as Hispanic? When indigenous people are repressed by non-indigenous people in Latin America, how should they be classified when both of them come to America?

That very issue was raised in “The Brutal Math of Asylum” (March 10, 2019). The article describes another woman who:

was part of the Garifuna community, descendants of enslaved Africans and Indigenous Central Americans [in Honduras].  

Notice the reporter capitalizes Indigenous. So what is this person if she is granted asylum in America? Is she still Indigenous even though she no longer lives in her homeland? Is she Hispanic because she is from Central America even though she seems to have no European ancestry? Is she African American even though she was not part of the middle passage to the United States (like Obama and Harris)?

In a previous blog not sent to the history community, I wrote: How the Politically-Correct Helped Elect Donald Trump… 2016

The issue of American Indians bears further analysis. In the United States there are Indian nations or tribes. Demographically they are categorized separately from other peoples. What about Indian peoples from south of the American border. How are they classified? Consider this letter from my local paper (2/15/19) entitled “I’m not Latin:”

Let me start off this letter by saying that I’m not Latin nor am I Hispanic, Latino, Spanish, or Latin American. These wildly misleading terms for Spanish-speaking Americans are implicative of European colonization and its culturally-corrosive ethos. My family heritage is that of the Quechua peoples of Ecuador, and many Spanish-speaking individuals I’ve encountered find offense in being subjected to a label that misconstrues their ethnicity (i.e., “Latin”). I consider myself an Indigenous Americano, so don’t call me or my Central and South American neighbors “Latin” or any of the misguided aforementioned labels.

When I was growing up I don’t recall hearing the word “indigenous” often. Peoples usually had real names. Sometimes they were their own names, sometimes they were the names others applied to them – Indians, Asians, Egyptians, etc. Now these Eurocentric names are to be banished from polite conversation. People are to be referred to as Indigenous no matter where they are in the world. The word “Indigenous” has now been weaponized by some white Americans in the culture wars against other white Americans and imposed on people who had names for themselves and never used the word “Indigenous.” The result is a simpleminded, superficial, bogus term that produces strange results when removed from the American context that created it. Why did the politically correct unleash this weapon?

To be continued.