Darfur Journal -- Nov. 28, 2004

A weekly feature on This Week.


Civil war, hunger and disease have killed more than 70,000 Sudanese since March, with thousands more killed in two years of fighting. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has traveled to that troubled part of the world and shares his experience with "This Week."

Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times: "I've been to the Darfur area now three times. I don't normally go repeatedly to the same place, but after I went in March I felt there is really something profoundly evil going on that you have a government trying to wipe out a people.

"At the moment, we have a window to lean on the Sudanese government and the rebels to try to reach a peace agreement. Otherwise, we're going to be looking after and funding the lives of the people from Darfur for decades to come.

"I was only able to see one tiny part of Darfur. But if you multiply the stories of the people that I met by hundreds of thousands, you begin to get some sense of the scale of the problem.

"Essentially, the strong ones who can make the walk have all fled to Chad. And those you find now are the weak, the frail, those who can't get out. And their stories are just heartrending.

"One of the people I met, Zahra Mochtar Muhammad, she's a 25-year-old woman whose husband was killed by the Janjaweed, and in the commotion of the gunfire and the burning huts her children all scattered in different directions. Later, she found the bodies of her 4-year-old and her 2-year-old. They had run away together -- apparently the 4-year-old was looking after the 2-year-old. They hid, and they died of thirst together. So now she's looking after her four remaining children with no blankets, no food, no house to live in.

"If we look back at how we dealt with the Rwandan situation, President Clinton later said that his biggest regret was not responding to the genocide there. I think that we're going to look back at what happened in Darfur and feel tremendously guilty as well that we didn't do more early enough to save the 100,000 lives that are already lost and the 10,000 more that are being lost each month.


In the Sunday "Funnies," the topic was the brawl at that NBA basketball game.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno:

Leno: "This is probably the first sporting event in history where the nosebleed seats were right in the front. In fact, the Pacers today unveiled their new slogan: 'If you can't beat 'em, beat 'em.'"

Late Show with David Letterman:

Letterman: "It was crazy. There was screaming, there was shoving, there was rioting. I'm telling you, it was just like being at Arafat's funeral."

Jimmy Kimmel Live:

Kimmel: "Ron Artest, the NBA player at the center of that big fight in Detroit Friday night -- today, Ron actually talked to Matt Lauer. And we learn that whatever happened on the court or in the stands, the important thing is Ron remembered to get a plug in on the new CD he produced."

Ron Artest (Nov. 23): "I've been able to play this year. I've been trying to make an effort in, you know, changing the image of the league cause that's not the image David Stern wants to put forth. He doesn't want to put forth a negative image, and I've been working real hard on doing a lot of positive things. You know, I got this album coming out. It's about love. It's not rap. It's not hard-core."

Kimmel: "Well, in that case, all is forgiven."