Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) has been arrested in Washington D.C. for disorderly conduct after a protest in front of the Sudanese Embassy. Rep. Ellison was protesting the Sudanese government’s decision to expel aid groups from the Darfur region. Rep. Ellison was arrested along with 4 other members of Congress and other activists.
While this protest was for a noble cause—the Sudanese government is undeniably complicit in the killing of tens of thousands of Darfuris, what is the point? Rep. Ellison could do far more by lobbying the Obama Administration to get tough on the Sudanese than by a show protest.
All the protests in the world won’t change the situation in Darfur. The only way that it will change is if the regime in Khartoum has to pay such a high price for its acts that it has no choice but to stop. The international system is so broken at this point that there is little hope of that happening any time soon. When serial human-rights abuser like the Sudan can sit in high positions in the United Nations—including on the Human Rights Commission itself, the problem is with the U.N.
While Rep. Ellison’s heart is in the right place, it would perhaps be more beneficial for him to have protested at the U.N. than at the Sudanese Embassy.