Two accusations of genocide in the Sahel: The first issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2008 regarding war crimes in Sudan; the second issued 2009 by the Sudanese diplomat Lumumba Di-Aping directed at the world’s developed nations. The first favors the West. The second deflects and returns the claim and thereby it raises the specter of a new form of violence. This work tests what it would take to support Di-Aping’s claim and in doing so raises a number of questions about the violence wrought by climate change, especially the forums in which it is debated and eventually legitimized.
What will be the role of forensic climatology in reconnecting the causes of environmental violence with their effects? And what will be the political consequences? Drawing on recent scientific research that shows a correlation between aerosol emission in the northern hemisphere and desertification in the Sahel, this project makes visible a new geopolitical cartography that ties together distant fates, linking industrialization in the North to deprivation in the South. In this way, it demonstrates that Di-Aping’s claim is a legitimate one.
The Case for Di-Aping
In 2009, a new era of violence was announced. Climate forums like the COP are part of an attempt by the world’s most developed nations to legitimize the colonization of the sky, inaugurating a new age of economic warfare waged through the atmosphere and against some of the most vulnerable people on Earth. Here, two videos and two documents are brought together in order to raise a series of questions about anthropocenic violence and the forums that legitimize it. Drawing on recent scientific research that shows a correlation between aerosol emission in the northern hemisphere and desertification in the Sahel, it makes visible a new geopolitical cartography that ties together distant fates, linking industrialization in the North to deprivation in the South. In this context, can we begin to think about forums like the COP as crime scenes?
Camera phone video footage of the Lumumba Di-Aping press conference during the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen (COP 15) in 2009. As lead negotiator for the G77 representing 132 of the poorest nations on Earth, Di-Aping denounced the “Danish proposal” tabled during COP 15 for “colonizing the sky,” claiming that it would condemn millions in Africa to “certain death” and “climate genocide.”