Skip to content
Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Never again, yet again

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

Calls for action - most recently from President Bush as he applied renewed pressure on Khartoum - have been regular media events since the Darfur crisis began. Pressure mounts on the United States to do more. Angry voices demand that China repudiate its noxious partnership with Sudan, and petition sites and advocacy groups have sprung up across the Web.

Yet the killing continues, the abuse and rape of women and murder of children persists, and the dislocation of thousands goes on. By now more than 400,000 people have been slaughtered and more than 2.5 million driven from their homes.

What is happening in Darfur has been formally described as genocide, an event most civilized nations have committed themselves to allow never again to occur. Former United Nations head Kofi Annan argues that a force of perhaps 24,000 troops could save the people; still we remain bystanders.

Why so much rhetoric and so little action on Darfur? The war on terror is partly to blame. Early on in the crisis, U.S. officials didn't want to press Sudanese authorities who were cooperating in the hunt for terror operatives even as they directed an unofficial scorched-earth policy in Darfur. Now with U.S. forces committed elsewhere, U.S. leadership has abandoned any notion of a more interventionist policy on Darfur, calculating that the American public has little stomach for yet another military campaign, even one intended to respond to the gravest crime against humanity.

Ironically the sheer enormity of the suffering may also be contributing to the lack of progress. Writing in a recent issue of Foreign Policy, Paul Slovic, professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, argues that the superhuman scale of Darfur's suffering generates a kind of empathy overload: "Not only do we fail to grasp the gravity of the statistics, but the numbers themselves may actually hinder the psychological processes required to prompt action."

Meanwhile Beijing places political and economic self-interest above moral clarity on Darfur, keeping the Sudanese oil spigots open as it stiff-arms any international reviews of another nation's "domestic affairs," perhaps mindful of how such a precedent could invite a more thorough audit of its own campaigns against Buddhist and Muslim minorities.

The United Nations has been waiting for a formal invitation from the Sudanese to police the troubled region. This is sort of like waiting for the wolf's OK to guard the sheep. (At press time Sudan agreed to the deployment of a United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force.) Darfur, in short, twists in the wind of a perfect storm of political impotence and moral lassitude. We do the agonizing; they do the dying.

In the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, many of the world's political leaders found themselves forced into public displays of atonement for our shameful lack of response.

"It may seem strange to you here," President Clinton said in his own 1998 tarmac mea culpa in Kigali, "but all over the world there were people like me sitting in offices, day after day after day, who did not fully appreciate the depth and the speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror." Surely that cannot be said today about Darfur (if it could be said about Rwanda). Surely we understand that the world, whether led by the United States or the United Nations, has the capacity and the moral responsibility to act now.

Solidarity is a precious gift and a heart-stopping challenge. We need to get past the numbers and look into the faces of this tragedy. We need to rediscover our common humanity and defend it. The world needs no more mea culpas. The people of Darfur cannot endure one more mea culpa; many of them may not be able to endure one more day.

- - -

Kevin Clarke is senior editor at U.S. Catholic and online content manager at Claretian Publications.


U.S. Catholic ,
Kevin Clarke - ,



More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,717

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Free Catholic PDF's

How to Pray the Rosary, Hail Mary, Our Father, Saints, Prayers, Coloring Books, Novenas, Espanol and more. All FREE to download and faithful to the Magisterium.

Download Now >

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.