With Kofi Annan as the official Commencement Day speaker, it was inevitable that someone would bring up the United Nations's relative inaction in Sudan. The Crimson had two articles about it. While this news article seems to conflate slavery and the conflict in the south of the country with the atrocities in Darfur, this editorial from the Opinion section makes an impassioned appeal to the class of 2004 to do something. Of course, since Commencement is today, it is not very likely to be acted upon.

As for the "inaction" of Annan, I am not sure what more he or the United Nations as a NGO can do. They do not have any military forces of their own, and are therefore unable to unilaterally launch economic sanctions or preemptive military action, like some countries. They are reliant on the leaders of the world's most powerful nations caring about such far-flung areas of the world, and what is occuring there.

The Bush administration, in particular, has been reticent about dealing with Africa, as was best previously shown in Liberia. For example, take Condoleezza Rice's remarks on Monday about the possible discussion of Africa at this week's G8 summit in Georgia:

I think they will probably also discuss the quite serious crises, the security crises that exist in Sudan. There is a lot of concern, and when we were in both France and Italy we talked about the Darfur problem, the need of the Sudanese government to do everything that it can to make sure that the violence is ended there, to do everything that it can to let international aid relief workers into the area. Darfur is a brewing disaster for which the Sudanese government bears a lot of responsibility, and people will look to them to act responsibly to defuse that crisis. And, of course, we will discuss the DROC, which recently there have been some flare-ups, as well.

Translation: The Sudanese government is responsible for the conflict in Darfur, but we do not have the time or effort to deal with it, due both to not caring about Africa, and because we are busy in Iraq. The ongoing problems in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are also a major crisis, but I can gloss over it by referring to recent events as flare-ups.