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Voices to stop genocide

After finally watching Hotel Rwanda a few weeks back, I can’t stand waiting and watching people who look like me be killed while the world community does nothing.  A righteous war would be against the Sudanese government and not that illegal war in Iraq.

The following article was written by Duane Shank in Sojourner’s Magazine.

The humanitarian crisis in Darfur is unbelievably going from bad to worse. Last week, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution authorizing up to 20,000 peacekeepers to replace the African Union troops whose mandate expires at the end of September. The resolution, however, was contingent on the approval of the Sudanese government, which promptly refused.

Instead, the government launched a new offensive against rebels in Darfur - using helicopter gunships, bombers, and armored trucks moving troops into the region. And, predictably, it is once again civilians who are suffering. After three years of fighting, an estimated 450,000 people have died from war and disease and nearly 2.5 million driven from their homes into overcrowded refugee camps. The Washington Post reported this week that “Aid workers say that in recent weeks, civilian casualties, rapes and looting have grown more widespread. Tens of thousands of Darfuris have surged into camps ¿. “ In addition, attacks on aid workers are also increasing - according to news reports, 12 have been killed since May. 

This week, the government issued a new demand to the African Union: either extend its mandate without the U.N. or leave by the end of the month. The A.U.’s response is that they will leave if Sudan does not allow the U.N. to take over. Without even this small force, the crisis would likely escalate. According to The New York Times, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told reporters in Egypt that “The international community has been feeding about three million people in camps, and if we have to leave because of lack of security, lack of access to the people, then what happens?”

In order to avoid further genocide in the near future, it is urgent for both the U.S. and the U.N. to act now. Two upcoming actions, in Washington D.C. and
New York City, will seek to dramatize the crisis. We urge our readers in or near these cities to participate.

Two Years Too Many: Break the Deadlock on Darfur
12 noon, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2006
Lafayette Park and White House sidewalk
16 and H Streets N.W., Washington D.C.

On Sept. 9, 2004, the Bush administration declared that genocide was occurring in Darfur. Yet two years later, it continues. Sponsored by Africa Action, this rally will call for “robust diplomatic engagement from the U.S. to break this deadlock and ensure the rapid deployment of peacekeepers. This gathering will emphasize the urgent need for concerted efforts by the U.S. to remove the obstacles to the deployment of a United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping force to protect the people of Darfur.” Following the rally, some participants will walk across the street to the White House sidewalk and risk arrest.

Save Darfur Now: Voices to Stop Genocide
2-5, Sunday, Sept. 17
Central Park, East Meadow
New York City

Sponsored by the Save Darfur Coalition, this rally will “call on the international community to overcome the government of Sudan’s objections to the U.N. peacekeeping force” so it can be quickly deployed in order to stop the genocide. The rally is planned to coincide with the beginning of the 61st U.N. General Assembly meeting.

If you are not in the Washington or New York area, the Save Darfur Coalition is also sponsoring “Ten Days of Action for Darfur: September 7-17.” During these days, thousands of congregations across the country will be distributing information on Darfur, raising money for refugee relief, and holding special services and prayers.

Now is one of those times when, as Dr. Martin Luther King said about Vietnam, “Every [person] of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits [their] convictions, but we must all protest.” The blood of hundreds of thousands of people is crying from the ground. We must respond.


Posted by Nuttshell on 09/11 at 11:51 AM in Blogging

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