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“Gration must go,” say Darfur whacktivists

June 19, 2009

Very sorry for borrowing the derogatory term “whacktivist” from my friends inside the anti-genocide establishment, but “whactivist” is all that comes to mind when I read sub-moronic drivel like the following statement and call to action from noted Save Darfur activists. If this represents the best, most-informed thinking from the activist community, and the professional Save Darfur advocates who work closely with these activists are unable to organize and mobilize a more coherent activist base, the Obama administration should proceed as planned and succeed in spite of the Save Darfur movement rather than because of it.

“Gration must go,” say Darfur activists from coast to coast

Darfur activists across the country are asking concerned citizens to join with them in calling upon the President to 1) replace General Scott Gration as Special Envoy to Sudan and 2) to follow through on his campaign promise to take IMMEDIATE action to PRESSURE Sudan to end the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. (Please take the suggested actions at the bottom of this post.)

According to leading Darfur activists, yesterday’s press conference with General Scott Gration confirmed their worst fears that he is the wrong person for the job. “I fear we are going from bad to worse with Envoy Gration,” said Eric Cohen, Chairperson of the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur.

Cohen was responding to the very concerning article in the Washington Post which reports that Gration has advocated easing some American sanctions and upgrading U.S. diplomatic relations with Sudan’s government to induce cooperation. According to the Post, Gration’s conciliatory approach has stalled high-level talks within the Obama administration to finalize a comprehensive policy plan to be presented to Cabinet members and later to the president.

In Gration’s first press conference, he contradicted US policy by downplaying the genocide (referring to “remnants of genocide” only) and declaring over the humanitarian crisis that was brought on by GoS expelling 16 NGO (”we’ve closed the gap.”)

Having come to the Special Envoy role with no experience with Sudan nor diplomacy, one has to wonder what lessons Gration has learned from President Omer al-Bashir’s catastrophic 20-year reign of terror in Sudan.

Activists understandably feel betrayed by the Administration. Tough talk regarding Darfur helped get Obama elected. Then after a long delay, Obama finally selected Special Envoy Gration. Gration then travels to Sudan with “no preconceptions” and visits model IDP camps under the supervision of the GoS and proclaims, in essence, “it’s not so bad.” Gration has had no tough reactions nor suggested any consequences for the expulsion of 16 NGOs, the ongoing bombings, the executions of Darfuris without due process and other ongoing atrocities comitted by the Government of Sudan.

According to Darfuri sources here in the United States, the NCP leadership is doing cartwheels of delight following this press conference. Khartoum seems to have the man they want in Washington — Scott Gration.

Please contact the White House in any of the following ways immediately and call for the replacement of Envoy Gration with someone ready to take IMMEDIATE action to PRESSURE Sudan, as Obama promised during the campaign:

1) Call the White House at 202-456-1111. Lines are often busy. Keep trying.
2) Fax the White House at 202-456-2461
3) Email the White House at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
4) Become a fan of the WH Facebook page and post a comment at http://www.facebook.com/WhiteHouse
5) Send a message via Twitter to @whitehouse. Follow at http://twitter.com/whitehouse

So here’s a question for you: Does the anti-genocide establishment agree/disagree with this call for the removal of Gration? Just a hunch, but my guess is that they disagree, but like the noise around Gration’s statement, in the hopes that it forces the Obama administration to unveil its policy review ahead of schedule. Why do I get the feeling this administration isn’t at all worried about the backlash from the flagging Save Darfur movement?

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