It's been more than two days since The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir making him the first sitting head of state to be charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. The charges are based on the conflict in Darfur. In this post, we delve into the reactions of the Sudanese blogosphere to this historic event.
While all bloggers are no fans of the Sudanese President, most if not all, aren't too happy about the ICC's decision as they suspect it will only worsen an already terrible situation.
First, let's check what Nesrine Malik who lives in London thinks of this at the Comment is Free group blog of The Guardian newspaper:
Toothless and badly-timed as the indictment of Sudan's president may be, morally we cannot afford not to support it.
… The timing was unfortunate. Many in the Arab world are still reeling from the recent incursion into Gaza and governments are continuing to capitalise on anti-western sentiment. The ostensible hypocrisy of targeting Bashir when apparently Israel and the west are impune renders his martyrdom on the altar of international double standards convenient for Arab or African heads of state living in their own glass houses.
Every media outlet is giving a voice to a plethora of self appointed political pundits, common-sense-loathing activists, and confused citizens of the earth, all trying to make sense of the International Criminal Court’s issuance of a warrant for the arrest of Omar Al-Bashir. However, the one voice that seems to have been muffled by the pandemonium surrounding the issue is that of the Sudanese citizen. I ask: what about me Luis Ocampo?
… the pragmatist in me is questioning the effectiveness of the ICC’s decision, and the extent of ‘justice’ it will provide for the victims of the Darfur conflict. It could be too early for the man on the street to speculate, but I sincerely hope that Luis Ocampo and the ICC have a follow-up plan to assuage the commotion caused by the indictment of a sitting head of state. Does the ICC consider this the end result, or a starting point in the quest of peace and justice in Sudan? This question remains unanswered.
Now, let's see what AK, also a student in the United States, has to say.
The first thing that I noticed was the fact that the Court only charged him on two of three accusations, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The prosecutor did not get his third request for the crime of genocide. This is very telling. Both the first two crimes can be very easily proven and linked back to Al-Bashir, however, the third accusation (of genocide) cannot be as easily proven or linked back to the President.
… Also, the ‘Save Darfur‘ crowd in the United States cannot be happier. In fact, they are using this opportunity to raise funds, as if this arrest warrant is all due to their so-called “advocacy.” This is a snapshot of their website's home page taken after the arrest warrant was issued.
Along with most Sudanese I know, I am very critical of Save Darfur (et al.). They have been the strongest proponents of intervention in Sudan, something which will undoubtably exacerbate the situation for the worse. But I'll leave that for a later time.
Here is a clip of the scenes from Khartoum today:
AK also posted this video of Sudanese ICC supporters and Bashir supporters clashing in NYC.
At about 1:30 in the clip, you can see the clashes between the Bashir and ICC supporters.
Next up, we have Mimz with her thoughts and an important observation on what the ICC's decision could mean to this year's planned elections in Sudan.
I am not a big fan of El-Bashir, in fact I despise the man (would be an understatement) for what he has been putting our country and our people through for the past god knows how long. But the ICC just could not delay this decision, which we all knew was coming, and felt the need to make it today and ignore the fact that the first democratic elections in more than twenty years are expected this year.
Finally we have Path2Hope who isn't joyful either.
Now the warrant has been issued and exactly what this means for Sudan I do not know. But what I do know is that expelling the activities of 10 of the aid agencies does not help either. Hasn't the average Sudanese suffered enough? Now that these agencies can no longer do their work – who will step in and fill the gap? I am so angry at not only this reaction in Sudan but by the idiotic ruling of the ICC in the first place.
On a related note, here are Rob Crilly's latest Twitter updates directly from Darfur where he is right now.
10:07 AM Mar 5th # NGO staff held at gunpoint in Nyala on way to airport to leave. They were stopped by national security, very people kicking em out 7:07 AM Mar 5th
# Tired, smelly. Out of anti-perspirant. Word is Bashir coming here on Sunday but I need a drink 8:18 AM Mar 5th
# aid workers now stuck in Khartoum. Must wait for exit visas – the final irony 9:07 AM Mar 5th
# Unamid staff now being allowed out of base to go home after 48hr lockdown. All calm in El Fasher 2:10 AM Mar 6th
# three aid vehicles burned in Khartoum last night 3:01 AM Mar 6th
# Aid workers staying in khartoum for now as negotiations continue. No-one holding much hope. 6:00 AM Mar 6th
See past coverage of Sudanese blogger reactions to the ICC arrest warrant on Global Voices.