Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Coalition for Darfur Weekly Post

With all the other news over the past couple of weeks, I have been unpardonably negligent in my coverage of the genocide in Darfur. For that, I apologize. Since I started blogging earlier this year, I have tried very hard to stay abreast of developments in Darfur and up on the (non)response to those events by the rest of the world. The Coalition for Darfur has been very incredibly useful and informative to me and others, and today they released a new weekly post.

In an email to Coalition members sending around the post, the organizers wrote "This week's post has a far more negative tone to it and many of you might not agree with it or even wish to post it. If you choose to significantly edit, rewrite or not post it at all, that is entirely understandable."

They're right. The post is negative. But its negativity is well-placed. The way in which the world is responding to the tragedy in Darfur is worse than shameful, because by now we ought to know better. The fact that instead of doing anything meaningful, both houses of our Congress recently passed resolutions calling for "a national weekend of prayer and reflection for the people of Darfur" is absolutely ridiculous. I'm sorry, but prayer clearly isn't saving the lives of the innocent men, women and children being ruthlessly driven from their homes, raped, mutilated, and murdered at this very hour in Darfur. Prayer did not save those murdered in the Holocaust, or in Stalin's gulags, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Rwanda, or any other mass-murder effort perpetrated by the hand of man throughout history.

From the post:

"This resolution appears to be the work of the Save Darfur Coalition, a vital organization that has done a great deal to raise awareness of the genocide - but what does it say about the level of US commitment to address this situation when Congress is unwilling to do anything beyond simply asking the American people to pray for the dying people of Darfur?

If members of Congress are truly concerned about the deaths of nearly 400,000 Darfuris, or the fates of an estimated 3 million more, they are certainly capable of doing more than quietly declaring a 'National Weekend of Prayer and Reflection.'

Save Darfur deserves credit for getting Congress to even do this much, but this resolution cannot absolve Congress of its pathetic failure to adequately address the situation in Darfur. If anything, it only serves to highlight the government's utter lack of concern."

Negative, yes. Necessary, indeed. Read the whole thing.


At 5:35 PM, Blogger TNHegemon said...

I share your concern for those in Darfur. I am still unsure what actions should be taken. But to play devil’s advocate, what would be your response to the following statement?
Your anger is misplaced. Effort should be spent educating the public. If the American public were educated about this issue they would a) be moved and put grassroots pressure on Congress to take further action or b) they would not be moved and Congress would therefore be reasonably absolved of responsibility.

At 5:40 PM, Blogger JBD said...

I totally agree. Every effort should be made to educate the public, which is what the Coalition for Darfur has been working very hard to do. They have tons of links up about the situation, which certainly would urge everyone to look at. The mainstream media's coverage of this story has been positively shameful (with the notable exception of Nick Kristof in the NYTimes). The vast majority of Americans have not been exposed to information about Darfur. As for your options above, I think if that education happened, choice b would not even be considered. At least, I hope it wouldn't. Americans are better than that.

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Eugene Oregon said...

I take the opposite view - it is not up to the public to get Congress to act.

Congress acts all the time on issues that the public doesn't care about - that is Congress's job.

Congress is well aware that a genocide is taking place in Darfur and yet they have done nothing. They cannot excuse their inaction behind self-serving rhetoric about how people weren't calling on them to take action.

They are the leaders of this country and they have to power to do something. If they choose not to, it is a choice they have made and they cannot blame it on anybody else.


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