Denying Genocide in Darfur -- and Americans Their Coca-Cola
By Dana Milbank
Thursday, May 31, 2007; A02
The Iraq war gave us Baghdad Bob, the Iraqi information minister who, while American troops patrolled nearby streets, held a defiant news conference to proclaim that there were no U.S. forces in the city.
Baghdad Bob, whose real name is Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, earned a place among the ranks of colorful propagandists such as Hanoi Hannah and Tokyo Rose. Now, the genocidal Sudanese government has an entry in this category. Let's call him Khartoum Karl.
Karl -- a.k.a. John Ukec Lueth Ukec, the Sudanese ambassador to Washington -- held a news conference at the National Press Club yesterday to respond to President Bush's new sanctions against his regime. In his hour-long presentation, he described a situation in his land that bore no relation to reality.
Genocide in the Darfur region? "The United States is the only country saying that what is happening in Darfur is a genocide," Ukec shouted, gesticulating wildly and perspiring from his bald crown. "I think this is a pretext."
Ah. So what about the more than 400,000 dead? "See how many people are dying in Darfur: None," he said.
And the 2 million displaced? "I am not a statistician."
Khartoum Karl went on to say that, all evidence to the contrary, his government does not support the murderous Janjaweed militia. "It cannot happen," he said, "so rule it out." As for the Sudanese regime itself: "We are the agents of peace, people like me, my colleagues who are in the central government of Sudan."
What's more, the good and peaceful leaders of Sudan were prepared to retaliate massively: They would cut off shipments of the emulsifier gum arabic, thereby depriving the world of cola.Allow me to say this...
Khartoum Karl, bite me.
Americans would rather pay more for soda than finance genocide. We may be soda swilling, burger eating, reality TV watching plebeians but the majority of us would rather drink tea than finance genocide.