Frontline World


Sudan: The Quick and the Terrible



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Mark Arguello - Hayward, California
Kudos to Amy Costello for her reporting on the crisis in Darfur, Sudan. Ms. Costello's investigative style reflects that of Christiane Ananpour's news efforts in the Balkans in the early 1990s.

Thank you Amy!

Ted Trewin - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Every nation who considers itself to be part of the world community should do something to help the people of Dafur. This won't happen until the UN can decide in a timely fashion when it is appropriate to intervene in these situations. By the time they decide what needs to be done the atrocity is effectively over. The UN needs to put a system in place that can deal with these situations much sooner when a real difference can be made.

Syed Abdulhaq - East Amherst, New York
I was much impressed by your story on Darfur, where unfortunately a Muslim government is killing its own Muslim people. Such acts of genocide are despicable. However, I have not seen a single story by PBS on Indian occupied Kashmir, where in the past 13 years about one hundred thousand Kashmiri's have been cold bloodedly murdered by a Hindu nation. Why is there so much silence about the Indian atrocities and oppression in Kashmir. How is it that the western media is still conned by the "non violent Ghandian" charade by a cast ridden, Hindu intolerant society ? Will Frontline keep quite like the rest of the Western media, about what is happening in Kashmir?


FRONTLINE/World responds:
We agree that the conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir merits attention, and in November 2004 commissioned "Kashmir: The Road to Peace?". In this web-exclusive story, two FRONTLINE/World fellows follow Kashmir's main highway -- Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Road -- and explore prospects for peace in the region's legendary valley.


Anonymous - Brigham City, Utah
I thought I knew Muslims, I thought the Koran (sorry that might be misspelled) taught tolerance and love. I know that American Leaders have not always treated Muslim state in a fair and just manner. But yet I seem as if all the Muslim Leaders only want one thing, to kill all other who are a different belief. Even their own are vulnerable to attack. It seems hard to have anything good to say about a people who seem to like killing so much.

Sara Smith - New York, New York
You thought you knew the Muslims? It sounds like you need to review the history of man on this planet. Back up a minute and realize that throughout time, groups killed other groups, even their "own," if it was seen as advantageous. Use our troops in Iraq as an example here, if you will. However, this Muslim government in Sudan is allegedly targeting those of the Christian faith. An ethnic cleansing is most likely occurring, as one military official had stated. Please learn the facts, keep an open mind and do not generalize when talking about diverse peoples and complex situations on this planet.


Anonymous - Portland, Oregon
Thank you Frontline! Your program is making a difference in my life and on my views of the world news. I feel that the reports your journalists have made especially in regards to Darfur are truly astounding. It really puts things into perspective and seems that there is a fogged perception of how the international community should respond to the crisis that is taking place over this nation. I was glad to see the AU taking some action and hope that more countries will contribute to securing the people of Darfur. Thank you once again for reporting so honestly and with heart.

Joe Garza - Albuquerque, New Mexico
We all owe a great debt of gratitude to Ms Costello for her thorough report on the situation in Sudan. Thank you so much after seeing your report I think I understand the problem much better.


Meseret Isaak - Edina, Minnesota
United States has its own problems with our society we need to resolve the issues of "RACISM" before we can make judgements, of other cultured, nations. let's be aware of our own histories before we become one, we are the most hated nation in the face of the planet "from the beginning." Slavery plays a major role of these Darfur Statues, "ethnic cleansing" or should we just call it stealing humans or kidnapping.

The following are responses to the moderator question, "Should the United States send troops to protect the people of Darfur?"

Stephanie Kurtz - Chicago, Illinois
I think it is unconscionable that the U.S. Government is not doing more to help the Sudanese refugees.

I wonder if George Bush has seen your program. It was excellent. Maybe someone should send him a copy of "Hotel Rwanda" as well.

How can we just sit back and let this happen again?

We are the United States. We can and need to act now.

Michael Wrzesinski - Chicago, Illinois
The question of responding with U.S. troops is a complex one. First, with our forces over-stretched in Iraq there may not be sufficient manpower. Even if we had the forces available what would their mandate be? How about rules of engagement? It appears to me this country is fractured into 3-4 armed factions- the Khartoum government, SLA, SPLA, Janjaweed, etc. How would our soldiers identify members of these groups and with whom (if any) would they be allied? Armed humanitarian missions seem to have a poor track record (e.g. Somalia, Beruit), and the armed forces always perform more as a blunt instrument rather than as a scalpel. I would hate to see U.S. soldiers enter the scene as good guys, only to find themselves attacked and reviled by one or more of the competing factions who may end up feeling the U.S. presence is a threat to their interests. The Khartoum government may well be largely responsible for the violence against its own people, but I definitely would not support an Iraq style pacification by the U.S. military. At best, I would support an armed multi-national force sufficient to protect aid workers and human rights observers, as well as protecting the distribution chain of food and medical aid to Sudanese civilians. In the meantime, the international community must do its best to continue placing diplomatic pressure on the Khartoum government. One hopes that the heat of an international spotlight might curtail the tendency towards unrestrained violence.


Rebe - Bedford, Massachusetts
Unfortunately the U.S. should not send troops into Darfur to help the people. It is very difficult to watch so many people suffering, but the reasons for not getting involved "directly" are many, including the current situation in Iraq. To send troops into Darfour would be viewed as an anti-Islamic tactic. President Bush has already made so many enemies throughout his first term, do we really need him to make more? Support through humanitarian organizations, financial backing to the AU, and other indirect efforts are the recommended solution to one of the many civil wars taking place throughout the world. Frontline reporter Ms. Costello did an excellent job of describing the situation in Sudan, but I'm sure there are many issues and facts that were left out due to whatever reasons there may be. Witnessing the suffering caused by any war is difficult, yet we must take into stock what the ramifications would be if the U.S. were to take direct action in Darfur. The U.S. has a very bad reputation when it comes t o "helping" the little countries in the world, and I for one would hope that my country has learned it's lesson, but hope is the only thing to look forward to in what I like to term the "Era of Terror".

Misha Lee - Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
I don't necessarily advocate the U.S. sending troops to Darfur. I think that would only make the situation even more destablized -- what I would like to know is where in heck is the United Nations? Afterall, it's clear the people there are in need of humanitarian aid. One wonders why the UN is losing its influence in the international community - it's because of situations such as Darfur where the UN remains silent. It is an absolute tragedy what is happening to the people there.


Michael Baines - Pooler, Georgia
Yes, our words and reasons for being in Iraq ring hollow, unless our actions are equally aggressive to poorer countries. If we apply the rhetoric used to invade Iraq to the Sudanese situation, then we should have already been there. We have the means, the resources, and political clout to save many lives in this region. Let's not be seen as preferring to bring Iraqi oil to the free market while we watch our fellow humans die. Let's not repeat our inaction as we did in Rwanda. Let us live up to the principles we are so quick to proclaim to the world.

Jennifer - California
In response to the question, should we send troops, I believe the answer is yes. Why, because these people are poor and living in such wretched conditions should we turn away and hope that someone else will help them? I would hope that it could be solved peacefully but if a million Americans were left in the desert with marauders attacking them wouldn't we jump at the chance to save them? If their government is not going to save them then it is up to the world to intervene.


Anonymous - Edina, Minnesota
Who are we to send troops to the Darfur, Sudan the land of Nubia. please let us keep our toys to our selves; and clerify the slavery modest we forged through the regions of Africans. please let us keep our diseased society to our selves, let me remind you Darfur will remain Darfur. U.S.A has it's own problems "Racisim" from the time we were born until now! nothing has changed, it even affected other nations; Darfur, it's not ethnic cleansing; these disease was born when our ancestors were robed from many regions of Africa like Darfur, Sudan the land of Nubia....

Anonymous - Normal, Illinois
I believe the USA should lead any nation that will assist us into Sudan if the Janjaweed do any more attacks.


Cara Angelotta - Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
The United States government should support the AU peace monitors in Darfur by increasing financial and logistical support and by pushing through targeted sanctions on the Khartoum Regime and insisting that the Security Council increases the weak mandate of the AU Mission in Sudan. Please see - a citizen group committed to ending the genocide in Darfur by financially supporting the AU troops in Darfur and by forming a collective voice that insists on immediate action in the face of genocide.

Anonymous - Colorado Springs, Colorado
I think that the U.N. should help out in Sudan against the genocidal actions against the Darfur people but I don't think that the U.S. should send in military troops because we'll only cause what we are doing in Iraq...killing innocent civilians..but yes I do think the U.N. should take action against what is happening.


Joel Rosenberg - Columbus, Ohio
We don't have troops available because of the Iraq fiasco. Pressure should be brought to bear on all Islamic nations to bring their jihad to an end against anyone not Islamic. The rest of humanity should band together and impose a boycott on all of Islam if they do not comply.

Efren Castillo - Texas City, Texas
No, not yet. We're in too big of a mess right now and it seems that our priorities are not fully straighten out. But the world should recognize the problem and start a lead to find a solution. America can't solve everything.


William Faulkner - Dallas, Texas
The United States should not be sending its forces to Darfur. The United States, the most powerful nation in the world should drum up support threw the United Nations to do something about it. Going it alone is not the answer. Only a world wide effort will change what's going on there. I wish that more of these kinds of in depth programs on the troubled parts of the world were more widely seen by the public at large. PBS does an amazing job of covering and uncovering these stories but most of the general public have not a clue what's going on besides what's happening in their back yard. Major networks need to do more to educate the public at large by doing in depth reports on these situations. Not a 30 second trickle of information that no one actually remembers. The people of Darfur need our help and I only hope that their voices are heard.

Steve Hebert - Eugene, Oregon
U.S. troops should only be sent to the DARFUR region of the Sudan if they are part of an expanded, properly mandated, United Nations force...the Chinese crude oil pact with the 'phoney' government in Khartoum makes this a VERY dicey operation to now consider...the UN should have STOOD-UP long before the US invaded IRAQ...both situations would now be much better for us all...

On the other hand: how CAN the world continue to 'Look-on' while such brutal and outrageous treatment continues?? How many Rwandas do we need? How many more tears must be shed? Where are the leaders? Where are the nation-peoples who need to find and support such leaders? The thousands upon thousands of sorrows demand a defense and a prompt and judicious response...

More questions than answers...


Joan Matthews - Margate, Florida
The world needs to become involved and help these displaced and exiled people. There is an atrocity taking place and an outcry at the lack of involvement provided by the international community.

Dennis Lowrimore- Changchun, China
If, and I doubt it) some African army could and would go to protect the innocent, yes the US Army/Special Forces should go with enough equipment, manpower and funds to do the job and to help them win autonomous status if possible and realistic. --Dennis Lowrimore former SF medic


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