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The God Wars
UN Warns: Central African Republic Coming Unglued

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon now says that “the de facto partition of the Central African Republic is a distinct risk.”

Rights groups like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and International Crisis Group have already been shouting themselves hoarse about the violence and dangers of a possible genocide since Muslim militants deposed Francois Bozizé in a coup last year. Since then, Muslims mobs and Christian militias have been locked in a destructive cycle of retaliatory killings, threatening both communities. In a report published on Wednesday, Amnesty International warned that entire Muslim communities have been forced to flee since January. FT:

“Hundreds of Muslim civilians who have not managed to escape have been killed by the loosely organised militias known as anti-balaka [literally, anti-machete],” it said.

The non-governmental group added that some of those attacks were carried out “in revenge for the previous killing of Christian civilians by Seleka [Muslim] forces and armed Muslims”.

This isn’t just a story about the persecution of Christian or Muslim minorities. The violent partition of states that are already weak and unstable into ethnic or religiously separate enclaves is one of the most difficult problems facing the world today, and it isn’t a problem confined to places like the CAR. Across Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, identity wars are on the rise. The newly partitioned South Sudan is itself in danger of further fragmentation and violence, as are Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the Middle East, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, and Lebanon are battlefields in the larger Sunni-Shia struggle. In Europe, this sort of thing generally went on until a set of wars and conflicts culminated in either the physical extermination or the forced expulsion of enough people to create new homogenous nation states.

It’s encouraging that President Obama mentioned the Central African Republic in his speech at the National Prayer breakfast, but the violence in that country nevertheless remains the most underreported crisis of the year. America and the media need to come to terms with the world’s expanding and increasingly deadly identity wars.

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  • qet

    Via Meadia’s persistence in keeping contemporary Western domestic politics as far away from its reportage of this situation is admirable, I guess. But I really really hope Via Meadia appreciate that “America and the media” already ARE coming to terms with the CAR situation. They are coming to terms with it not on its own terms but solely on our terms, the terms of our domestic political ideology wars. Employing what Ron Fournier propagandistically called “accountability journalism,” hoping to balance the scales by finding some non-Muslims who are perpetrating violence, the American MSM has been busy assuring America at every opportunity that the CAR is a case of Christians gone wild bringing down a legitimate Muslim official and adding slaughter into the bargain. Nowhere (except in Via Meadia) do you see any mention, except buried way down in paragraph 20, and then only in passing, of the Muslim participation in all of this and specifically the coup. Unlike what Via Meadia learned in elementary school, “who started it” DOES matter. It would be nice if Via Meadia stopped pretending that that the MSM is not right now conditioning the American public, and, through them, its elected officials, to believe a deliberately manufactured account of the CAR mess.

    • Tom

      I’m not sure–I was listening to NPR earlier today, and they managed to mention the Muslim coup in the second sentence of the report.

      • qet

        Well, that’s an encouraging development, anyway.

  • rheddles

    I’m having a hard time understanding why we should be disturbed that the CAR is coming unglued. How well was it glued together before and what was the adhesive? Most of these African borders were created by a bunch of European imperialists in Berlin in 1885. Is there any reason to think they are any more reasonable than the Sykes-Picot borders that have created so much conflict in the Mid-East? A lot of these countries should probably be reconstituted by their inhabitants on a more rational or at least acceptable basis. Based on European experience, this is unlikely to occur without violence. If the EU and UK manage to get a “win” in the vote for Scottish independence, what are the chances we’ll see an SRA?

  • Andrew Allison

    What’s happening in CAR and elsewhere is not “a de facto partition” but civil war. Civil wars end when one side wins (e.g. USA, Vietnam) or the contestants are separated by partitioning (e.g. India, Korea).

  • Pete

    Savages against savages.

    What are we suppose to do, give them Green Cards?

  • free_agent

    “The experience of Bosnian Muslims lays to rest one myth at least — that if the world knew in detail what Hitler was doing, we would have acted differently.” — James Carroll, Boston Globe

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