Ed 's Reviews > Fighting for Darfur: Public Action and the Struggle to Stop Genocide

Fighting for Darfur by Rebecca Hamilton
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's review
Jun 08, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: africa
Read from June 08 to 26, 2011

Having spent much time and energy over the years organizing support for various progressive causes (some successful, some much less so) I am intrigued with Rebecca Hamilton’s experience and her analysis of it in "Fighting for Darfur".

Regarding her use of the term "genocide", naming is essential to disseminating one’s views about something. If one gets there first and is able to create or control the name it can be very powerful. For example, if one calls the conflict in Darfur genocide inflicted by the regime in Khartoum then not opposing Khartoum makes one implicit in genocide. Organized, large scale slaughter of civilians, while horrifying and immoral, may not call for military intervention that could result in more death and greater destruction. Genocide will always come under the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) so what we call it is important.

Years ago we used a lot of loaded terms, almost always inaccurately–fascism was the genocide of the day–and in doing so weakened the authority we had developed through organizing. Hamilton is an indefatigable advocate and a good organizer but the "Save Darfur" movement showed how limited first world political organizing can be in trying to deal with Third/Developing world issues.

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