Darfur and a 'Web of Lies'

The web of lies that various parts of the United Nations has woven about Darfur is vast. Orwellian doublespeak deliberately disguises reality and distorts words. U.N. reports on the region, for instance, typically and euphemistically use “air strikes” for indiscriminate bombing of civilians, “sporadic clashes” for continuous war, and “sexual and gender-based violence” for systematic rape. As for their references to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s “regular forces,” I often wondered how there could be anything “regular” about the hordes of fighters who operate lawlessly and jointly with the Janjaweed death squads. They make no distinction between civilians and combatants, bomb children and terrorize adults, rape women, and loot and burn everything they find to the ground.

-Former UN spokesperson Aicha Elbasri, in Foreign Policy, on the failure and corruption of the UN/African Union mission in Darfur. Read more on Darfur.

Sam Stecklow is a contributor to Longreads' blog, an editorial fellow at The Morning News, a contributor to The Airspace, and has seen every episode of 3rd Rock From the Sun.
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