Posts by: Alex DeWaal

This is the second half of a two part extended version of an essay published in the London Review of Books (39:12, 15 June 2017, pp. 9-12).

There’s another blind spot which is even more remarkable: the neglect of starvation by genocide scholars. It’s striking because the intellectual father of genocide studies, Rafael Lemkin, was […]

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This is the first half of a two part extended version of an essay published in the London Review of Books (39:12, 15 June 2017, pp. 9-12).

In its primary use, the verb ‘to starve’ is transitive: something people do to one another, like torture or murder. Mass starvation on account of the weather has […]

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Alex de Waal has a new essay in the London Review of Books (39:12, 15 June 2017, pp. 9 – 12), which they titled, “The Nazis Used It, We Use it.” Below is an excerpt, the full essay is available with a subscription to the LRB.

In its primary use, the verb ‘to starve’ is […]

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The most succinct document of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is Chapter VI,11. This paper is based on existing literature and the personal experience of the author, who was involved in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) negotiations as an informal advisor and an external advocate (through the organisation Justice Africa), and in the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) talks and the post-referendum talks as a member of the African Union (AU) mediation teams. For a compendium of the relevant documents, see World Peace Foundation, ‘Sudan Peace Archive’.‘Security Arrangements’. Republic of Sudan and SPLM/A, ‘Comprehensive Peace Agreement’. Signed in Naivasha, Kenya, on 25 September 2003, it runs to a little more than three pages – by far the shortest of the protocols and annexures that comprise the CPA. Nowhere is security sector reform (SSR) mentioned by name. For the Government of Sudan (GoS), the central issue is resolved in Paragraph 7(a), which states: ‘No armed group allied to either party shall be allowed to operate outside the two forces’. Ibid., Paragraph 7(a).

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There is an international norm of inclusion in peace processes and political settlements. This is recent. Twenty years ago, the participation of unarmed political parties, civil society actors and women, was only a moral principle and an aspiration, disputed by political elites and questioned by conflict mediators. Today it has become a norm of international political practice, in the sense that people in conflict-affected countries demand inclusion, the international sponsors of peace processes seek it, and protagonists in conflicts tactically call upon it, occasionally to good effect. Inclusion is not law. It is still contested, but its challengers are in retreat. This paper examines what has occurred.

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There were many reasons for the under-recognized success in reducing famines: growing prosperity in Asia, the end of totalitarianism and wars of annihilation, and the control or elimination of killer diseases such as smallpox and typhus that killed millions of malnourished children. But credit also belongs to the international humanitarian response system. Twenty years ago I criticized the ”humanitarian international” for failing to deal with the political causes of mass starvation, but today it is clear that a professional and effective—and more politically aware—humanitarianism played its part in the near-conquest of famine.

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