The Spine

The Differences That Count


Pomposity often goes with mediocrity, and so it is with Jimmy Carter. And,
for that matter, with Bishop Tutu who accompanied Jimmy and other
officially designated high-minded people on a visit to Sudan. To Darfur,
in particular. The ex-president wanted to visit a refugee camp in South
Darfur, according to the Associated Pres, "but the United Nations
mission decided that such a visit would be too dangerous. Carter than flew
to North Darfur where he was supposed to meet with other refugees. None
showed up. Maybe they didn't know who Carter was...or Tutu. They
certainly did not know who Richard Branson was or Graca Machel, Nelson
Mandela's wife. African refugees ordinarily don't know the names of

A different tour was mobilized for Carter and his comrades, called "The
Elders." But that also ran into trouble. Still pursuing frightened
refugees, Carter was stopped by Sudanese security officers, including their
local chief, Omar, who shouted, "You can't go -- it's not on the program."

Carter shouted back: "We're going to anyway. You don't have the power to
stop me." But the officer did have the power to stop him, and he did not go.

Hobbled on his visit, Carter rendered his judgment on the situation
nonetheless. It is not genocide, he announced. It's just a crime against
humanity. These are the differences that count.

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