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Dear Christian Science Monitor Editors:
Regarding your recent article canonizing Smith College English professor Eric Reeves for his saintly crusade on Sudan ("From Shakespeare to Sudan", Clara Germain, August 31, 2006), your newspaper might better serve its readers by providing the information that Eric Reeves continues to deny. There are, after all, honest trusting Americans who don't like seeing innocent people suffering or killed, even in Africa, and they deserve the full picture of this geopolitical scandal.
Dr. Reeves campaign for Sudan began at the height of US covert support of John Garang and the Sudan People's Liberation Army, and Dr. Reeves has never called the SPLA to account for their war crimes. Indeed, as with his activist reports on Darfur, the SPLA were hardly involved - victims of brutal campaigns of rape and pillage - and the question of their allegiance with U.S. proxy warriors is no question at all, and so to Dr. Reeves it was and is always a one-sided campaign of mass murder committed solely by the Islamic government of Khartoum.
Dr. Reeves also continues to deny that the struggle for control of Darfur is a struggle for natural resources by western corporations and their proxy armies. But the struggle for Darfur is the struggle to unseat the government of Sudan. Pivotal to western interests are the petroleum reserves (found throughout Darfur), the copper and uranium at Hofrat an Nihas (south Darfur), and the high-quality gum Arabic coveted by Coca Cola, Pepsi, Unilever (etc.) and the entire pharmaceutical industry. It is competition amongst elite corporations - Exxon-Mobil versus Petronas-CNPC-Lundin - and competing fundamentalisms - Christianity and Judaism versus Islam - that dictates this war, not Negroes versus Arabs fighting over sheep and cattle and their grazing rights.
Like Hollywood celebrities, Dr. Reeves' authority on the subject of genocide is secured merely by his willingness to slip into refugee camps under the protection of the big (again saintly) business of humanitarian aid, and while he can see the bodies on display to the international press corps, he closes his eyes to the deeper malaise behind it. Like Hollywood celebrities, he is then accorded the right to say anything at all, as if it were gospel.
Your obligation as a newspaper (journalists, editors) purporting to honor the ethics of journalism dictates that you report the inconvenient details that Dr. Eric Reeves studiously ignores.
Begin by looking at the business interests of Joelle Tanguy -- cited in your story for "bemoaning over lunch with Reeves the world's "short attention span" with Sudan" - and the Global Business Compact, whose directors also include Mark Moody Stuart, Richard Holbroke and Betrand Collomb, and Cyril Ramaphosa. If anyone should go on trial for war crimes, or crimes against humanity, the list might very well begin here.
It's no surprise that the last of these (Cyril) sits on The Coca-Cola Company Int'l Advisory Board and the Unilever Africa Advisory Council, or that the first of these (Stuart) is Chairman of Anglo-American mining, a board member of Royal/Dutch Shell and HSBC Holdings, and - most telling - an adviser to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Holbroke's history in orchestrating chaos and terrorism in Africa also demands scrutiny.
All these companies have been involved in the war and pillage in Sudan, and all seek to profit from the "regime change" that Eric Reeves advocates against the Sudanese government. HSBC Holdings provided loans to petroleum companies; Royal/Dutch Shell has supplied aviation fuel to the government's combat helicopters, and Coca Cola - hungry for gum Arabic from Darfur - continues to be sold there.
The slippery slopes of the Ivory Tower appear to prevent Eric Reeves from seeing the ugly truth, and your newspaper is suffering the same fate.
If you want to stop terrorism, stop participating in it.
keith harmon snow
keith harmon snow is a journalist and former genocide consultant with the United Nations (Horn of Africa, fall 2005), and genocide researcher and investigator (Horn and Central Africa) for Survivor's Rights International (2004-2005) and Genocide Watch (2004-2005).
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