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Christine Ockrent

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Christine Ockrent is regarded as one of France's most respected broadcasters, the only journalist granted an interview with Saddam Hussein in the middle of the Gulf War. As well as becoming the first woman to anchor and edit the prime time news, Christine has also edited the current affairs journal L'Express, worked as the deputy director-general of France's TF1 channel and presented the country's flagship magazine and program on French and European politics, France-Europe Express. She also anchors a monthly program on international affairs on TV5Monde. Close.

Christine Ockrent

Paris, France

Christine Ockrent is regarded as one of France's most respected broadcasters, the only journalist granted an interview with Saddam Hussein in the middle of the Gulf War. more »

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The Arab League: "Coalition of the Weak"

Paris France - Urgent: Western countries have to prove they are not merely gesticulating on Darfur....

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All Comments (8)


Tim posted:
"Actually doing something about it would be a thankless job. It would probably increase anti-US sentiment."

Well I'm not sure about that. There is the precedent of Bosnia: europeans were eager to let Milosevic accomplish the dirty job of 'cleaning' Europe for them, until Clinton decided to go after the Serbs with or without europeans.
An American intervention will probably be seen as a benevolent action by many in Africa: a good way for the current admistration to get out of the dark corner it is in the Middle East. It is a good 'occasion' (in the sense of Machiaveli) to act and to regain credibility and reboost American morals. On this one The US could really be the good 'disinterested' guy.



My argument is not that the Europeans (or Americans or Japanese) were not barbaric in the past. I am very much aware of the history. All peoples were, and many still are barbaric. Any who might have been pacifists would have been wiped out long ago by those who were not.

I refer to the present. Now they are timid pacifists. They will not stop genocide in Africa. Going through the UN is the perfect way to appear to try to do something when doing nothing.

Neither will the US, because the US is also content to go through the UN, which shows that they are actually content to do very little. Actually doing something about it would be a thankless job. It would probably increase anti-US sentiment.


My great grandfather came from Cameroon during the second world war to fight for the French (one of the 'civilized' nation according to your terminology) and until he died he was still amazed that the barbarity that Europeans applied to the 'indigenes' in colonized African countries, they did applied it to each other...
Civilization is not antithetic to barbaric behavior...By the way your contry just granted special power to your president for torturing. The important value is not civilization, but humanity!


This all proves the limitations of the UN.
The Arabs apparantly have different standards for behavior for the Sudanese and the Israelis. If the Israelis were to treat the Palestians in the same way as the Sudanese government treats the people of Darfur, would the reaction be the same?

There is no altruism in this world, its everyone for themselves. Only the West with its multiculturalism and guilt complex over past imperialism fails to realize this.

Tolerance must be a two-way street as Charles Krauthammer wrote. Tolerance of intolerance is stupidity (or appeasement). Too many years of peace and civilization have dulled the West's sense of human nature. The world outside our borders is very different. Stronger tribes kill their neighboring weaker tribes. They interpret our squeamishness (what some call decency) as weakness. Because we deliberately try to minimize civilian casualties, they respond with barbarity. This is assymetrical warfare. The more we try to be "civilized," the more they will respond by trying to be more "barbaric." To win we must understand that our enemy is not like us. They do not think like civilized people.

Sudan can plainly see that no one has the stomach to stop this. A (real) threat to bomb Khartum would probably work better. Deter them. Arm their enemies. It takes a (stronger) ruthless killer to stop a ruthless killer. No bunch of pacifistic idealists will deter them.

Brigitte Meier USA:

There is no doubt that UN peacekeeping forces are needed to restore order in Darfur and end the human suffering. But what nations should make up these forces?

Ms. Ockrent touches on some of the sore points: the U.S. isn't willing to accept jurisdiction by the world court and insists on immunity from all war crimes and crimes against humanity charges against any of its nationals by other nations. How can it insist on indicting others? The EU is too dependent on the U.S. to act alone unless their actions are acceptable to the U.S. at which point they will not be acceptable to Sudan. The U.S. continues to incite and finance many of the rebellions and civil wars. Who finances the rebel groups in Darfur that they can keep up their struggle?

It is not unreasonable for the government of Sudan to see adversity from any U.S. and EU dominated peacekeeping force. Colonialism isn't that far in the past. The U.S. continues to exploit Africa and prevent its economic development with any means. The U.S. is the driving force in the fragmentation of Africa for its own interests. China has its own oil interests in Sudan and understandably hesitates to take a stand against the government with whom it is doing business, but also does not want to be drawn into confrontation with the U.S. The Arab League is torn in between two standpoints. If it agrees to the council resolution, then it acts in complicity with the west and will be accused of undermining an Arabic brother nation. In light of the recent invasion of Lebanon and the alliance of Israel and the U.S. that would be dangerous for all Arabic nations. By looking the other way, it shares the blame for the suffering of the Darfurians and largely loses its arguments against the U.S. actions in Iraq.

A UN peacekeeping force will be effective only if it guarantees Sudan's sovereignty and freedom from overt or covert U.S. interference. No such promises will convince as long as the U.S. insists on special treatment with respect to international law. It is fair to point out that the U.S. has killed and displaced more civilians in its two ongoing wars in the Middle East than the Sudanese government has in Darfur. The humanitarian crises in Iraq is as large, but because the U.S. is the occupier, the world can't intervene without risking an even larger war, and the suffering and humanitarian crisis in Iraq remains understated by the world press.

Nevertheless, it needs action in Darfur. The Sudanese government appears to trust the African peacekeeping force for all the underlying issues. The easiest way to get Sudan to accept a UN peacekeeping force would be to enlarge and financially support the African peacekeeping force, with UN guarantees of Sudan's sovereignty and insistence that the U.S. end all interference in Sudan and other African nations.

James Buchanan:

What good with the blue helmets do when they'll be sent in with a toothless mandate by a European dominated UN with no backbone and no stomach for actually causing damage to the offenders.

Europe wages paper wars, its all they've had for 60 years, its all the current generation knows.

Jimmy Mulla:

The situation in Darfur needs immediate intevention by the United Nations peace keeping forces to provide security and restore order. So far the Sudan goverment has sent 10,500 soldiers to Darfur, and it has began its campaign on bombing villages. The African Union forces have been unable to stop the violence, so their extended mandate to stay in Darfur is a licence to kill for the government of Sudan. Ending the genocide and to restore peace in Darfur, requires a strong political will from the international community, because the AU foce cannot be substitute for blue helmet UN forces.


Darfur crisis is a human tragedy that the free world need not to ignore. The U.S.A and the E.U must come to the aide of the people of Darfur regardless of what the forces of the dark are doing at the U.N. Resolutions and sanctions won't do any good to the dying women and children suffering in the hands of the Arab regime of Khartoum.

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