Is it Really Genocide?

While violence rages in Darfur, one author, Mahmood Mamdani, says we’re incorrectly labeling it as “genocide.” Although 300,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million forced to become refugees, Mamadani argues in his new book, Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics and the War on Terror, that the West has understood it incorrectly, a mistake which may prohibit swiftly achieving peace there. The book offers historical and anthropological analysis, but, according to New York Times reviewer Howard French, lacks information about recent violence in the region. “Mr. Mamdani’s constant refrain is that the virtuous indignation he thinks he detects in those who shout loudest about Darfur is no substitute for greater understanding, without which outsiders have little hope of achieving real good in Africa’s shattered lands,” French writes.