Samantha Power, call your office. Brutal militiamen are slitting children’s throats and throwing people to ravenous crocodiles in the Central African Republic. People are being raped and beaten to death, and towns burned and ransacked, by the rebels and thugs who took over the government in Bangui in March. The Guardian has the grisly details on today’s most underreported story:
One man describes how his four-year-old son’s throat was slit, and how he saw a snake swallowing a baby. A woman explains that she is caring for a young girl because her mother went searching for medicine and was bludgeoned to death with Kalashnikov rifles. A young man tells how he was bound and thrown to the crocodiles, but managed to swim to safety.This is the world of horrors that the Central African Republic (CAR) has become. Thousands of people are dying at the hands of soldiers and militia gangs or from untreated diseases such as malaria. Boys and girls as young as eight are pressganged into fighting between Christians and Muslims. There are reports of beheadings and public execution-style killings. Villages are razed to the ground.
The UN is scheduled to meet today to decide what to do. NGOs like Human Rights Watch and UNICEF are pleading for the world to pay attention to what some are saying could become a genocide on the scale of Rwanda in 1994. Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, called the CAR conflict “the worst crisis most people have never heard of” back in September; since then, as the crisis grew worse, she and other American officials haven’t had much to say about it, let alone offered a plan for action.Here we have another example of the uselessness of the “responsibility to protect” doctrine. The international community stood back and shrugged as rebels and mercenaries first overran the government and then began massacring innocent people and fomenting religious conflict, with Christians forming defense groups to fight back against marauding gangs of Muslim fighters. Humanitarian interventions, as Rajan Menon wrote in the pages of the American Interest recently, are “selective, poorly executed, strategically naive, morally incoherent and even dangerous….R2P is fundamentally flawed not because it can’t be implemented; it can’t be implemented because it is fundamentally flawed.”[People holding a banner reading “No To The Scheduled Genocide of Centrafricans” march flanked by policemen during a demonstration to protest against the November 16 murder of the director of the Central African Judiciary services Modeste Martineau Bria on November 22, 2013 near the crime site in Sica, near Bangui. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.]