Sunday, May 24, 2009

When Activists become Soldiers: Mahmood Mamdani on Saviors and Survivors

In an interview entitled Mamdani: Teenage Activists of 'Save Darfur' - Child Soldiers of the West on Professor Mahmood Mamdani's new book on 'Saviors and Survivors', courtesy of Ruben Eberlein, Mamdani comes up with the following controversial statement that questions the underlying motives of some of our (moral) activism vis-a-vis (imperial) militarism: "I have pointed out that Save Darfur is not a peace movement but a mobilization for war, something clear from their slogans: ‘Out of Iraq, into Darfur’ or ‘Boots on the Ground’. When children and teenagers are mobilized in support for war, they should be seen as child soldiers, whether in Africa or America. The difference is that the mobilization around Darfur is not presented by Save Darfur as a political mobilization for war, but as a moral crusade – which is what makes it attractive to millions of people in the US. Save Darfur has many parallels with the War on Terror. One is presenting Save Darfur as a moral crusade rather than a political option. Second is obscuring the political and social causes of violence, instead claiming that violence is its own explanation, so that the only way to end violence is with more violence. Presumably, the difference is that ‘their’ violence is bad violence but ‘ours’ is good violence." Could it be that in our quest to be revolutionary activists we have become soldiers, nay, mercenaries?


Sulle February 16, 2011 at 4:09 PM  

Let me see from the African security and development group. I get his couple talk show via You Tube. He seems clearly making his points well

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