Commentary

The Forgotten People

After Sudan’s Adolf Hitler, Gen. Omar Hassan al-Bashir, expelled 13 international humanitarian organizations from Darfur, with the rest to follow within the year, four black African Muslim children - mourned by what is left of their families at the Shangil Tobaya refugee camp - died of malnutrition in late March. Their official death notices will not appear in American newspapers.

As a memorial, I give you the names and ages of the dead children, as provided by the rebel Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (Sudan Tribune, March 24): Abdel-Latif Hassan Gar El-Nabi, 7 months old; Ahmed Musa, 7 months old; Munir Mohamed Ibrahim, 9 months old; Esam Babiker Yacoub, 3 years old.

At another camp, Otash, after the mother of a 10-year-old, weak from dehydration after vomiting all night long, took him to a clinic, the door was locked. Said a relative of the boy: “The white people used to come every day. Now the clinic is closed.” It had been a service of the International Rescue Committee, one of the organizations thrown out of Sudan by Gen. al-Bashir (New York Times, March 23).

The next day, John Holmes, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator, reported that water programs run by the expelled agencies could be out of funds by the end of April.

During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama said the mass rapes and killings orchestrated by Gen. al-Bashir had left a “stain on our souls.” And, with a heavy heart, he promised “never again.” Yet, during Mr. Obama’s widely publicized March 24 press conference, he didn’t say a word about Darfur. And not a single one of the high-level reporters asked him about the further annihilation - by starvation, dehydration and ghastly epidemics - in the sovereign state of Sudan.

Meanwhile, the ghoulish head of that sovereign state - a member in good standing of the United Nations - is presumably a wanted man around the world after the International Criminal Court (ICC) last month issued warrants for his arrest on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. But, in regal contempt of the ICC, Gen. al-Bashir has since traveled to - and has been warmly received by - Eritrea, Egypt and Libya.

He has also appeared triumphantly at a summit meeting of Arab states in Qatar.

In Egypt - such a firm ally of the United States that the CIA, in its rendition program, sent terrorism suspects to be tortured there - Gen. al-Bashir was even privileged to be met at the airport by President Hosni Mubarak. The prime minister of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor al Thani, anticipating the visit of the genocidaire-in-chief, told Associated Press (March 25): “We respect international law, and we respect the attendance of President al-Bashir and welcome him.”

This could be called diplomatic prestidigitation, and it’s disgusting, as is the utterly cold disregard by the Arab nations, supporting Gen. al-Bashir, their fellow sovereign, of the fact that the mountains of the dead and dying in Darfur are Muslims.

It’s not in the least surprising that Iran and Hamas ardently support Sudan’s Master Mortician. According to the speaker of Iran’s parliament, Ali Larijani, the global arrest warrant for Gen. al-Bashir is an “insult to all Muslims.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune, March 27).

Mr. Larijani, what do you call the starving deaths of those four black Muslim children at the Shangil Tobaya refugee camp?

As repellent as the nonfugitive war criminal is, there is his even more notorious supporter, Ayman al-Zawahri, al Qaeda’s second-in-command, who recently (the New York Times, March 25) urged the Sudanese to wage jihad against the wicked West’s “crusade” to have an excuse to invade yet another Islamic land.

Still alive, Ibrahim Safi, one of 75,000 displaced targets of al-Bashir at the Zamzam camp, says (the New York Times, March 23): “After God, we only have the [humanitarian] organizations.” And all of them will soon be gone.

Gen. al-Bashir kicked them out, he says, because they were cooperating with the International Criminal Court. Actually, it has long been the genocide general’s plan to remove the international embarrassment caused by these aid workers in his land trying to keep alive the survivors of his war crimes. As one health worker still there says (Reuters, March 5): “We’re very concerned that the witness effect that these organizations have on the ground will also disappear.”

The only information they gave the ICC was their just being in Darfur. Eric Reeves, the ceaselessly accurate historian of this African holocaust, says (Sudan Tribune, March 26) Gen. al-Bashir’s expulsions of these humanitarians “have as a primary motive the regime’s desire to remove the eyes of the world from Darfur.”

On the border of Darfur, Brad Phillips has long been heading a multiple resourceful ministry (PersecutionProject.org) for the ever-increasing refugees in his community. Since he has never asked permission of Gen. al-Bashir to serve there, Mr. Philips says he is not going anywhere. I’m on his mailing list. The last report from his Persecution Project Foundation just arrived. It’s title: “The People the World Has Forgotten.”

Next week: How can “the final solution” be prevented?

Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. He is a member of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the libertarian Cato Institute, where he is a senior fellow.