Rebecca Hamilton’s Fighting for Darfur: Public Action and the Struggle to Stop Genocide was published this February. Hamilton was involved with the Save Darfur movement and worked for the International Criminal Court before turning full-time to the book project. She offers an insider’s perspective – a critical and frank one – on Save Darfur’s successes and limitations. A full review I wrote of the book is under consideration elsewhere, and I hope it will appear later this month or next. (Spoiler: I recommend the book.)
In the meantime, I am happy to participate in Hamilton’s project of recruiting bloggers to host discussions of issues related to the book. UN Dispatch, A View from the Cave, and Texas in Africa have already posted some of the discussion questions Hamilton has devised for Fighting for Darfur.
Each of these bloggers chose a question that resonated with them, and I have done the same. The question posted below concerns the charge of hypocrisy that the Sudanese government, like other participants and spectators have done in various conflicts up to the present time, turned on the American government. The charge of hypocrisy – or, if you prefer, double standards – has been made with regard to the American intervention in Libya (and our non-intervention in other Arab conflicts), and will resurface, I imagine, in the future with regard to other interventions.
As Hamilton points out, the charge of hypocrisy does not just matter on a philosophical level, it also affects Washington’s geopolitical standing and our ability to build coalitions.
Here is Hamilton’s question:
Throughout Fighting for Darfur, the Sudanese government argues that the U.S. is hypocritical in calling for pressure against Khartoum, while turning a blind eye to its own human rights record in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. How much of an impact did this argument have on European nations? What about the Arab League? More broadly, how does the consistency of U.S. responses to human rights abuses at home and abroad affect its ability to get other nations and bodies to work with it in situations like Darfur?
I encourage you to share your thoughts here. Even if you have not yet read Fighting for Darfur, feel free to weigh in if you have an opinion about the question. Hamilton is also collecting responses at her own blog, so I hope you will head over there and leave a comment as well.