Afterward, the soldiers dismembered her father in front of her. In another case, a woman reported repeated rapes in front of her nine-month-old daughter. When the daughter cried, soldiers beat her with rifles (Bureau of Democracy, 2004).
While there is no question about the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, we must now examine whether that crisis amounts to state terrorism. According to Oliverio (1997), state terrorism is "associated with the issues of control of territory and resources and the construction of political and ideological domination (52). There are two essential elements that terrorism require to term it state terrorism. First, the state must reinforce the use of violence as an effectual, practical, and extenuating factor for managing conflict of ideas. Secondly, this view must be reinforced by a "culturally constructed and socially organized process" (Oliverio, 1997, 53).
Prendergast (2004) classified the situation in Darfur as state terrorism based on these factors. According to his report, the use of government aid to completely devastate the infrastructure, economic base, and population of those opposing the Sudanese government meets the first criteria of state terrorism. Further, the use of political maneuvering and social isolation to limit aid to those refugees affected shows the second point of state terrorism. Relief agencies, anxious to assist, have been banned from most areas of the country, resulting in the deaths of those not killed by the initial attacks (Prendergast, 2004).
However, there are others that claim the situation in Darfur is simply marginalization, not terrorism. The Sudan People's Liberation Movement claimed in June of 2007 that "The SPLM has never regarded the issue of Darfur as terrorism; the SPLM regarded the issue of Darfur as an issue of marginalization," (Janda, 2007). Janda (2007) also noted that the rebels in Darfur can not be considered terrorists, because they are involved in peace conferences.
Young (2000) defines marginalization as "exclusion from meaningful participation in society." Mullaly (2007) notes that marginalization can cause deprivation to the point of extermination. Mullaly (2007) also notes marginalization often occurs with minority groups, since the process is often due to a more dominant group taking power within a society.
While these aspects certainly hold true in Darfur, the situation can hardly be termed marginalization. Not only are the African people excluded from meaningful participation in society, they are being systematically and brutally killed, as was shown by both relief workers in the area, as well as surveys of refugee camps. The argument that the situation in Darfur is terrorism as opposed to marginalization becomes even more apparent when one examines the statistics. As of August 2004, according to the State Report, more than 400 villages in Darfur had been completely annihilated. Further, an additional 123 villages had been damaged beyond repair. Nearly 200,000 people had sought refuge in the neighboring country of Chad, and nearly 1.2 million had been displaced, but were still residing within Sudan. While the UN World Food Program provided food to nearly 900,000 individuals in July of 2004, a total of 72 of the 154 internally displaced person's (IDP's) camps within the country had been set as off limits by the Sudan government. In those areas, malnutrition, disease, and mortality are high, reaching levels far exceeding the emergency threshold limits set forth by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Bureau of Democracy, 2004).
However, the most telling sign that the situation in Darfur is one of terrorism as opposed to marginalization is the number of the deceased. Much of the area is off limits to aid workers, so the total death counts are impossible to accurately calculate. However, based on the last information available from 2006, between 200,000 and 300,000 African individuals have been killed in Darfur (BBC, 2007). The UN estimates that number at nearly 450,000, when one includes the rampant disease and starvation in IDP camps (AP, 2007). While the Sudan government states only 9,000 have died, the UN, and most other world aid organizations believe this number to be grossly understated (Gollust, 2007).
It is difficult to argue that the situation is marginalization when the death and destruction tolls are so high. Marginalization tends to reduce the population through poverty, a loss of infrastructure, malnutrition, disease, and other social issues. The deaths in Darfur are primarily due to mass murder by the Janjaweed, bombings by the Sudanese government, and the resulting lack of resources due to millions of displaced individuals. In such circumstances, it is unthinkable to deem such a severe and tragic situation anything other than state sponsored terrorism.
Whether one believes the world aid estimates of mortality are too high, the refugee stories too dramatized, and the reports of destruction exaggerated, there can still be no question of the true issues in Darfur.
The number of displaced individuals, the physical evidence of destruction and death, and the outright refusal of the Sudanese government to assist the African peoples of Darfur result in a situation that can only be deemed terrorism. Unless the world powers force the Sudanese government to disarm the Janjaweed, and force them to release the natural resources of the area for rebuilding Darfur, the situation is likely to only grow more dangerous for the people of Darfur.
Whether one chooses the term genocide, terrorism, or mass extinction, the fate of the African population of Darfur can only survive with the support of the world powers. Without such aid, the mortality of the area will likely result in a near extinction of African peoples from their home of Darfur.
AP. (April 11, 2007). Hundreds killed in attacks in eastern Chad. Retrieved December 6, 2007 from Washington Post. Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/10/AR2007041001775.html.
British Broadcasting Company (BBC). (2007). Sudan's Darfur conflict. Retrieved December 6, 2007 from International Crisis Group. Website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3496731.stm.
Bureau of Democracy. (2004). Documenting Atrocities in Darfur, State Publlication 11182. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Govt Printing Office.
Gollust, D. (March 20, 2007). U.S. angry over Sudan leader's denial of role in Darfur atrocities. Voices of America. Retrieved December 6, 2007 from Voices of America News. Website: http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2007-03/2007-03-20-voa85.cfm?CFID=168052565&CFTOKEN=11639285.
International Crisis Group (ICG). (2006). Conflict history: Sudan. Retrieved December 6, 2007 from International Crisis Group. Website: http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?action=conflict_search&l=1&t=1&c_country=101.
Janda, C. (2007). Darfur is an issue of marginalization, not terrorism. Retrieved December 6, 2007 from Sudan Tribune. Website: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article22278.
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Oliverio, a. (1997). The state of injustice: the politics of terrorism and the production of order. International Journal of Comparative Sociology 38(1-2): 48-63.