Hypocrisy over divestment
A number of articles and blogs recently have picked up on the inconsistency of those calling for divestment in Sudan on the grounds of the ongoing atrocities in Darfur. Ahmad alFarsi at Muslim matters above picks up on this article by John Walsh at Counterpunch; I noticed a similar article in the Guardian by Roger Howard, contrasting the clamour over Darfur with the silence over worse atrocities in the eastern Congo.
The American divestment campaigners, Walsh notes, have among their targets the Chinese oil companies who trade with Sudan. Sudan is not the only country in which government tenderness to Chinese interests have had a disastrous effect on the local population; this report (PDF), partly written by the Zimbabwean Catholic archbishop Pius Ncube, notes that the notorious “Operation Drive Out Trash”, in which people were cleared out of major cities in Zimbabwe on the grounds that their homes and market stalls were illegal, removed competition to Chinese businessmen selling cheap and poor quality goods, and that formerly white-owned farms had ended up in the hands of Chinese farmers who grew tobacco for export to China.
So, it seems that not all atrocities are equal for these people - Darfur only matters because the aggressors are Arabs, not just any old black people. I must say, though, that similar hypocrisy exists among some black westerners, who refuse to condemn Robert Mugabe’s atrocities essentially because, even though the worst-affected people are black, Mugabe is supposedly fighting “Whitey” (see this article, which may go paywalled). I have even heard such talk from a black “salafi” Muslim, who had earlier told me I should not vote because it implied a bay’ah to the system. What he’d have said if Mugabe’s victims had been Muslims, of course, I never found out.
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