Some Banknotes from the Weimar Republic, as seen on eBay

What’s that in the middle?

What’s that in the middle?

Mahmood Mamdani on Iraq and Darfur

The following paragraphs began an article by Columbia University’s Mahmood Mamdani comparing Western attitudes to Iraq and Darfur.  The article originally appeared in the LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS in March and was reprinted in THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE last month. 

The Politics of Naming: Genocide, Civil War, Insurgency

Mahmood Mamdani

The similarities between Iraq and Darfur are remarkable. The estimate of the number of civilians killed over the past three years is roughly similar. The killers are mostly paramilitaries, closely linked to the official military, which is said to be their main source of arms. The victims too are by and large identified as members of groups, rather than targeted as individuals. But the violence in the two places is named differently. In Iraq, it is said to be a cycle of insurgency and counter-insurgency; in Darfur, it is called genocide. Why the difference? Who does the naming? Who is being named? What difference does it make? (more…)