This is coolbert:
Good program on public broadcast TV this evening. "Wide Angle" is covering the conflict in Dar Fur.
It has been - - now - - over four years since the conflict in Sudan has emerged as a hot topic for the Hollywood elite. George Clooney, Mia Farrow and others. A cause celebre'? And a big effort by the United Nations [UN], to ameliorate the desperate condition of the hundreds of thousands of refugees.
The Sudanese government, to suppress an insurgency, uses janjaweed, criminal militias that rape, murder, burn, loot, to their hearts content.
A topic previously discussed in other blog entries of mine:
"Wide Angle" is exploring the degree to which aid has reached the refugees and to what extent a negotiated settlement can be reached between the central government in Khartoum and the insurgents.
Some interesting facts and observations concerning this "conflict" are made apparent:
* El Fasher, the major city of Dar Fur has become swollen with population. Prior to the insurrection, El Fasher had about 190,000 residents. NOW the population is around 400,000. A city NOT able to handle such a population increase in such a short time.
* 14,000 UN aid workers and about 13,000 UN peacekeepers/observers also reside in the immediate area of El Fasher. The number of taxis in use within El Fasher has increased from ZERO to 5,000 in the last four years. Presumably taxi service to accommodate the UN contingents.
* That UN peacekeeper/observer force IS ONLY ABOUT HALF OF THE REQUIRED STRENGTH!! AND CONSISTS STRICTLY OF AFRICAN TROOPS. AFRICAN MILITARY CONTINGENTS PRESENT ONLY AT THE SUFFERANCE OF THE KHARTOUM GOVERNMENT, THE LATTER KNOWING FULL WELL THAT AFRICAN MILITARY UNITS LACK THE PHYSICAL WHEREWITHAL TO ACCOMPLISH THE MISSION AS NEEDED!!!
* The "rebels", the insurgents, have splintered into twenty  competing groups. Vastly complicating any efforts at negotiations and a settlement agreed upon by all. Each group of insurgents has their own agenda and leadership, quite often in conflict with other rebel groups!
* The rugged, primarily road less terrain of Dar Fur greatly complicates the UN aid effort. In one instance, medical aid supplies could not be delivered to a remote area for a PERIOD OF TWO YEARS!!! Finally only arrived where needed by helicopter, and then only by chance!
The producer of this particular "Wide Angle" episode is very pessimistic about the entire Dar Fur situation! The UN does get food to most of the people that need it. This is occurring! And can deliver plastic sheeting, gauze bandages, etc. But cannot bring enough pressure on the Sudanese government to bring out a settled peace, a negotiation conclusion to the "conflict"!!
Very sad indeed!!