October 24, 2005

Here We Go Again...

Joe Malchow's been getting a bit of a beating on this blog lately, but honestly, sometimes he asks for it. I'd like to think its a lure to get me posting again.
Here, Malchow posts an email from an alum, saying that the only damper on the events of Sunday was a student collecting petition signatures for divestment from Sudan.

"I opined that the UN should get troops in there. He said that that would be problematic because of cease-fire arrangements between the north and south. I said that it appeared to me that nothing resembling a cease-fire was being observed, and the student said, "Well, it's complicated." And then I almost didn't sign his petition, just because he was a dumb-ass."

The student that this alum talked to maybe wasn't as well informed as he should be, or the alum didn't quite listen to the student. The bigger problem is that when Malchow opines that this is an issue of stopping mass-murderers, as opposed to divesting minor holdings, he's being incredibly disingenuous. Between prior blog posts and personal conversation, Malchow knows better, but he's choosing to spout the mindless, dismissive, reactionary lines that his readers expect.

Regarding the UN, destabilizing the North-South cease fire isn't actually that valid of a concern, for reasons I won't get into. The larger obstacles to UN Security Council action are the oil interests of China and other corporate interests of France that would ensure a veto. As for the cease-fire itself, it actually is being observed. Darfur is in the west - it is an entirely seperate conflict.
Now clearly, the main issue here is the ongoing mass-murder and rape, and the ensuing refugee crisis in Darfur. Nobody expects that divestment by Dartmouth will stop this, and if Dartmouth divests, we're not going to pat ourselves on the back for stopping genocide. However, when certain corporations knowingly and directly enable a genocide to take place, it is Dartmouth policy that we not maintain stock in these corporations. Furthermore, divestment is part of a larger strategy - the divestment of Dartmouth will enable similar actions by other universities. (Harvard and Stanford have, and soon Amherst I hear). More importantly, we have been lobbying and supporting state pension fund divestment movements, which have been passed in 4 states and are likely to go through in nearly a dozen more. Already, the bills passed by Illinois and New Jersey will withdraw approximately $12 billion of funds invested in corporations active in Sudan. This, accompanied by seperate awareness-raising and non-divestment lobbying efforts at the federal level, will hopefully spur governmental action here and abroad, and maybe even independently generate financial pressure on Khartoum.

But I really shouldn't be that annoyed. Disingenuous and oversimplified posts are what Malchow does, and besides, the alumnus in question said he almost didn't sign the petition.

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