Friday, August 01, 2008

A triumph of hope over experience

It is a while since we covered the situation in Darfur – much as we would like to keep up with all the issues that trouble us … we can only do so much. In fact, is was November when we last did a substantive story, building on the incredible farce over the supply of helicopters to support peacekeeping forces in the region.

At the time, it looked like there was a sort of resolution, with various promises of machines forthcoming, but it now looks as if these have not materialised, making a total mockery of international support efforts.

This is from a report compiled by Thomas Withington, a defence analyst who specialises in military aviation and air power issues.

He has listed India, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Italy, Romania and Spain in order as best able to provide the aircraft and identified 140 aircraft suitable for use in Darfur.

Out of those, a mere 18 helicopters are needed but these have not materialised. "Many of these helicopters are gathering dust in hangars or flying in air shows when they could be saving lives in Darfur," says Withington.

The report has been endorsed by "36 rights and aid groups" and the foreword has been signed by South African Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu, former UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, former US president Jimmy Carter and the wife of Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel. "The time for action is now; the time of excuses and explanations is long past," they say.

One of these days, they may begin to realise that their misty-eyed tranzie paradigm of a benign world order simply does not work. When it comes to good intentions and "caring" it gets top marks, but it does not deliver, cannot deliver and never will.

But there again, perhaps, they will never get the message. As always, we are seeing the human condition – the triumph of hope over experience. We hope it makes them feel warm and self-righteous, because it is not going to achieve anything else.