Many UN relief operations in the Darfur region of Sudan, which has been racked by conflict, are in danger of collapsing within the next few weeks or months, according to Jan Egeland, the UN’s under-secretary for humanitarian affairs. He blamed a combination of a worsening humanitarian situation, obstruction by the government in Khartoum, attacks by rebels, and dwindling interest and funding from the international community. “I don’t think the world has understood how bad it has become of late,” he said, adding that the deterioration in the situation that began in August last year “has accelerated more recently in ways that are truly alarming”. The crisis is partly the result of deadlock in the security council. China, which imports oil from Sudan, has blocked punitive measures sought by the US and UK. Political expediency once again has taken toll of more than two hundred thousand lives in the ill-fated part of Africa. Like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic, the Islamists of Sudan claim monstrous liars are libelling them. ‘You are terrorists,’ Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein, the regime’s defence minister, screamed at journalists in Khartoum in March this year. ‘Any foreign correspondent from any foreign agency, get out – we don’t want you in inventing the incredible lie that Hussein and his friends were responsible for the murder of around 200,000 in Darfur, the ethnic cleansing of two million, here.’ His goons duly expelled reporters from his press conference for the arson, the rapes … well, you know the story, comments Nick Cohen in the Guardian in March 2006. Or maybe you don’t. After all, it has not been in the news recently, and not only because Hussein is shutting out the journalists. Fashion matters and today the fashion is to ignore genocide. Quite rightly, the crimes of American, British, European and Israeli democracy are dissected and denounced. But an intellectual blockage – a Chinese wall in the mind – prevents the critics applying universal principles to far greater outrages. The victims are black Muslims, but strangely, the Muslim world has not revolted against the Islamist murderers and torched Sudanese embassies. The United Nations tried to suppress a report that named the alleged war criminals of Darfur, in a way that it would never have suppressed the names of alleged torturers at Guantanamo. On the blacklist was that friend of freedom, Mr Hussein. While he was ranting at the journalists, he said that if the UN sent troops to protect the people of Darfur, al-Qaeda would flood the country. ‘Darfur will become the graveyard for the United Nations,’ he promised with what sounded like inside knowledge. Isn’t that an extraordinary threat for a UN member to make? Why isn’t every liberal newspaper and liberal party fulminating? Because genocide is out of fashion, dear. It may make a retro return in 2008, say, or 2009.