Professor Addresses Darfur Crisis

This story was written by Nimisha Patel & Preethi Ramaprasad, Daily Targum
Political Science Professor Stephen Bronner discussed the grave implications of the current crisis in Sudan last night during his lecture, titled "New Perspectives on Sudan and Darfur."

Professor Barbara Cooper, director of the Center for African Studies, organized the lecture, which is part of a series aimed to provide information to interested students.

"The crisis in Sudan is extremely important and its not going to go away," Cooper said. "We want to keep it visible. We want students to have this in the back of their minds as the election is coming up. Global events affect everyone."

Some students who attended the event last night at the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus said the crisis in Darfur was a clear problem.

"The global community should stabilize Darfur," said Cori Kleinman, a Douglass College junior.

Bronner, who recently visited the Sudan, offered his thoughts on the stabilization of Darfur, along with several contemporaries affiliated with Conscience International, a group working on approaches to mitigate the Sudanese situation.

Bronner helped paint a picture of Darfur by describing the multicolored huts made with garbage bags and other sights that were common to see.

"There were bathrooms set up by the United Nations, donkeys, basically people sitting in camps, along mud streets," he said.

Bronner highlighted the current U.S. position toward Sudan to save Darfur, which included economic sanctions, a no fly zone, military might and negotiations.

An economic sanction is a punitive measure banning trade, something akin to an embargo.

"When you impose sanctions, you're saying we can't do anything else, so we hope this works," Bronner said.

He said a no fly zone is not a viable option because of the magnitude of military prowess necessary. Darfur's size in context to Sudan also makes a no fly zone highly difficult to enforce.

Bronner alluded to the current situation in Iraq when discussing the implementation of military might in Darfur.

"A disaster of monumental proportion emerging [is likely], if troops were to be sent," he said. "If you send [military] into camps, what are they supposed to do? This is not Auschwitz, this is not an extermination camp. They're packed together with nothing to do."

Bronner said negotiations appear to be infeasible.

"Coercion and negotiation doesn't make sense, you have to make up your mind... we have to build trust," he said.

Bronner's lecture primarily focused on increasing awareness, knowledge and understanding the probable issues underlying the crisis at hand. He said financially aiding the African Union is a conceivable option to build trust.

To these ends, Bronner encouraged younger people to be more aware and take a stand beyond merely caring about the situation. Bronner left the students with a piece of advice.

"Join a group, learn about the stuff, be involved and aware, don't just say you care about Darfur," he said.
© 2008 Daily Targum via U-WIRE
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