• Southern Sudan at Odds with Itself?

    A new research report into local violent conflicts within southern Sudan, Southern Sudan at Odds with Itself: Dynamics of Conflict and Predicaments of Peace, provides insights into the processes generating and sustaining conflicts.  It debunks some important assumptions.  The research team was headed by Mareike Schomerus and Tim Allen, based at the LSE, commissioned through […]

  • Vernacular Politics in Africa

      1 The republication of Jean-François Bayart’s classic book-length essay, The State in Africa: The Politics of the Belly, is an opportunity to reflect on the hypotheses he raises and their application to Sudan and especially Darfur.  Bayart’s book mentions Sudan only in passing but the scope of his ambition is certainly relevant to Sudan […]

  • Sudan’s Neglected 2010 Centenaries

    During 2010, two important centenaries in the history of Sudanese nationalism occur — dates when armies from Darfur resisted colonial occupation.  But, these anniversaries have never been commemorated before, and the historical significance of the dates may pass without mention. The dates in question are two battles in which Darfurian armies fought against colonial invaders. […]

  • Lighter Moment: Pushing the Boundaries of Public Awareness

    I thought I should share some of the more amusing efforts at promoting public awareness (in America) about human rights issues.  This was sparked by the ‘Save Darfur petfood bowl’ which has the slogan, ‘If we don’t speak up we become accomplices.’  Are dogs and cats part of the caring public?  And what, one wonders, […]

  • Saviors and Survivors

    Mahmood Mamdani’s Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror is the most ambitious book yet on the Darfur crisis.  Unlike the vast majority of other writing on the crisis, which is political science, human rights, or ethnographic narrative, specific to the Darfurian or the Sudanese situation, Mamdani places Darfur in deep and […]

  • Do Darfur’s IDPs Have an Urban Future?

    Most of Darfur’s internally-displaced camps are urban settlements in all but name.  In geographical terms the most striking impact of the last seven years has been to change Darfur from being overwhelmingly scattered rural villages and hamlets to huge extended cities.  In the wake of the abrupt expulsion of the international NGOs which provided a […]

  • Genocide by Force of Habit?

    John Maynard Keynes was once irritated by a half-witted critic: “When the facts change, I change my mind.  What do you do, sir?” In 2004 I wrote in the London Review of Books, “this is not the genocidal campaign of a government at the height of its ideological hubris, as occurred with the 1992 jihad […]

  • Moreno Ocampo’s Coup de Theatre

    I have been delaying writing about the ICC Chief Prosecutor’s public application for an arrest warrant against President Bashir until that application is public.  As it is still not available, let me comment on the press conference.  In the absence of law and evidence, we have the theatrics. I sat in Luis Moreno Ocampo’s press […]

  • Can Sudan Survive?

    Lecture to Royal African Society, 21 May 2008 The modern history of Sudan is riddled with bloodshed, destruction and squandered chances for peace and democracy.  Consistently, the worst case scenario comes to pass and, just when it seems as though things could get no worse, they do precisely that.  But occasionally, the Sudanese succeed in […]

  • Making Sense of Chad

    The war for Chad is not over.  It is likely to become more bloody and involve a wider humanitarian disaster before any solutions can be grasped.  The next week will be critical for the future of the country — and for the wider region, including Darfur, as well. Last weekend’s battle in the Chadian capital […]