THE BLOG
10/03/2007 11:54 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Wake Up, Jimmy. You're Old Enough to Know Better

Jimmy Carter has, over his lifetime, earned our respect on many issues. His moral authority makes his current statements about the Khartoum cabal all the more disappointing, offensive, arrogant and unconscionably ignorant. Darfur is still ablaze and looking more like Somalia by the day. Darfurians dream of returning home and rebuilding their lives but we are not there. Not by a long shot. Carter once called Omar al-Bashir, orchestrator of the on-going genocide in Darfur, a "courageous and enlightened leader" (for signing a worthless scrap of paper Carter had put forward, which was meaningless within weeks).

Villages are still ablaze, women are still running for their lives and being raped and mutilated, kids are still starving to death, the African Union peacekeepers are being attacked, more than four million people are still living in terror, 2.5 million are still sheltering in wretched camps across Darfur and eastern Chad, unable to return to their homelands because there is no safety in Darfur.

Lying is the least of President Omar al-Bashir's sins. Yet accompanying "the Elders" to Sudan, Jimmy Carter found his meeting with Bashir to be "constructive."

Sudan is "committed" to helping Darfur - report

Oct 3, 2007, 8:35 GMT

Khartoum/Nairobi - Former US president Jimmy Carter, on a diplomatic mission to Sudan's Darfur region, said meetings with the Sudanese leader had been 'constructive' and that a 300-million-dollar infusion was promised to rebuild the troubled region, the BBC reported Wednesday.

Carter and three other members of a group of elder statesmen brought together by former South African president Nelson Mandela arrived to Darfur Tuesday after meetings with President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Monday, in a bid to solve the four-year conflict.

Carter told the BBC al-Bashir had promised 300 million dollars for the desperately impoverished and conflicted region the size of France - two-thirds of which would come from a loan from China.

The cash would 'help rebuild and repair the damage that has been done' in Darfur, Carter said, and that it was' a clear indication of (al-Bashir's) commitment,' the BBC reported.

Sudan has been charged with arming militias known as the janjaweed to crush an uprising by Darfur rebels who complained that the region remained poor and neglected.

The conflict has since spiralled downward, with an ineffective peace agreement, rebel groups splintering and Arab tribes beginning to turn on each other. More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million forced from their homes since 2003.

The visit of the elders, which includes South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mozambican rights activist Graca Machel and veteran peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, coincided with a bloody attack on an African Union (AU) peacekeepers base in Darfur, which left 10 troops dead.

The AU has urged troop contributing countries not to withdraw because of the violent incursion.

A robust 26,000-strong hybrid UN-AU force is set to be deployed early next year and will absorb the ill-equipped AU force of 7,000.

© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur