The strength and courage displayed by Jane and Glenn McGrath in the face of their personal tragedy displays what is best about the human character. In the midst of their own struggle with mortality they found time to support not only each other but many, many others through the McGrath Foundation. The example of Jane’s life and death should be an object lesson on what human beings can, could and should be through our short time on earth.
On the other side of the earth is a nation where the complete opposite is being demonstrated.
Since 2005 outright genocide has been carried out in the Darfur region of Sudan while the world stands blithely by, watching, making those ‘tut-tut’ sounds… and doing nothing, just as it did in Germany, and Cambodia, and Rwanda, and… ?
Estimates of deaths exceed 400,000 with 2.5 million refugees displaced and in most cases starving. That these refugees are mostly children who’s parents have been maimed or killed simply demonstrates the scale of the issue.
The Sudanese government has taken as many steps to kill the story as it has to kill the population. These steps include, but are not limited to killing witnesses, destroying gravesites, intimidation of journalists and UN officials attempting to investigate thoroughly the extent of the war crimes.
Blaming the ’causes’ of the war on ethnic divisions, global warming, or whatever do nothing to mitigate the ongoing horror that is existence in Darfur. This is a place where rape has become a weapon of war, where children are forced to kill their parents and death arrives as an old friend carrying welcome relief.
One has to accept that war and slaughter is nothing new in this area. Since the British invaded at the end of the 1800’s the war and death have been the norm nevertheless the offensive of the Sudanese government is clearly of a different order as they strive to rid themselves of the ‘rebels’ trying to reinstate their autonomy over what was historically their own lands.
A cynic might stand back and wonder what difference it might have made if oil supplies were at stake instead of human life? Oh hang on… they are. The US$70 billion oil exploitation deal signed with the Chinese is injecting around US$400 million a month into the Sudanese economy and much of that wealth is being used to purchase the arms from China that both protect the oil supplies, and slaughter a dissident population.
The world stood by and did nothing whilst the horrors of Rwanda unfolded and once the conflict ceased there was much breast beating about what *should* have been done, and *could* have been done but wasn’t.
Worse crimes are unfolding in Eastern Africa as once again the world stands idly by watching. Our United Nations are united in one thing only… the apathy and inability to act that seems endemic. Individuals can do nothing in the face of institutionalised violence such as this. It needs a concerted world effort to step in and end the conflict now.