For over 18 long months the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile have been under siege by the Government of Sudan. This government carries out daily bombing sorties against the people of the area and continues to deny humanitarian organizations from providing desperately needed food and medical supplies.

Where is the international community? Where is the United States, the one nation that has proclaimed over and over again that, following its unconscionable inaction to the 1994 Rwandan genocide, it would never leave people to suffer crimes against humanity and/or genocide?

Nowhere to be seen.

The action that has been called for by activists and human rights organizations has been ignored. Specifically, that action is the opening of a humanitarian corridor so food and other essential aid can get to the more than 200,000 people who have been hiding from their killers in mountain caves seeking sanctuary from the murderous attacks by the Government of Sudan.

America’s response is even more disconcerting in light of President Barack Obama last year saying at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, proudly announced his establishment of the Atrocities Prevention Board, stating “Last year, in the first-ever presidential directive on this challenge, I made it clear that ‘preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America….’ Now we’re doing something more. We’re making sure that the United States government has the structures, the mechanisms to better prevent and respond to mass atrocities.”

Nonetheless, the Atrocities Prevention Board seems to have accomplished little to nothing over the past year. It has issued no pronouncements in regard to any of the ongoing humanitarian crises in the world — not about the appalling situation in Sudan, in Congo, in Syria and so on.

Members of the board have also refused to respond to correspondence from dozens of scholars of genocide studies and human rights activists (ourselves included) calling on the board to urge Obama to insist that the United Nations support actions that would protect vulnerable and suffering populations. Our letters have gone unanswered and unacknowledged.

Americans must be made aware of the dire situation threatening the endangered people of Sudan and other places in the world. We must engage with a genocide-filled world while the American government keeps its silence and its distance from the wholesale slaughter of innocents.

Skloot is a professor emeritus at UW-Madison. Totten is a professor of genocide studies at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

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(1) comment


Dear Readers:

The U.S. Senate won't even allow for a vote on reasonable background checks for purchasing weapons that are bought and sold here at home so why would you expect the U.S. to step in to help the people of the Sudan that are currently being slaughtered by a rogue government there?


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