Wednesday, July 18, 2007
A new mix: John Lennon, Amnesty and Darfur
I recently heard this story: people in the camps for the displaced (in this case over the border in Chad) are harassed and tormented by the Janjawid militias from Sudan. They are not protected, even in these camps. Women go out to forage for firewood so they feed their families, and are routinely raped by marauding Janjawid. When asked why the men don't go instead, the response from people in the camp (to my colleague Alex, who asked) was: "If the men go, they are killed - if the women go they are only raped." A choice: death or rape.
And what's on my mind? Price of gas... mortgage rates... job satisfaction...organic food versus regular... new car or not.....blah, blah, blah.
I worked in Darfur many years ago (famine relief work with the Red Cross). With what I know about what is happening to those people now, I have no good excuse for sleeping well at night... So I do something, even if not much.
And we keep talking about it.
Thanks for your comment. The girls are growing up so fast!!
I'll link to your post over on Is America Burning.
I have heard this about the rape situation, that rationale, and its just horrible to hear in such terms.
I hope to hear more about your experiences as I am a relative newcomer here and no doubt missed alot.
People ask what people can DO about it. Wonder what your thoughts are.
I tend to seek information on the horrors of the world and the underlying politics or socio-economic causes. Then I do my best to do something, even if small. Then I try not to dwell on hell too much because it's a glorious life on a beautiful planet and there is the possbility of love every day (sounds corny, yes?).
As for Darfur, I'm not sure. I contribute a few bucks to organizations like Amnesty who are pushing for government action or to the International Red Cross, who are helping people on the ground. I also write to Prime Minister Harper now and then and tell him to get some balls and make a name for himself by fighting for the people of Darfur. These efforts haven't seemed to do much yet, but it's something... The alternative is silence and acquiesence.. or just to ignore it.
What a world we humans have dreamt up!
I have heard about the rapes, too. I thought I heard a woman talking on NPR who had come up with some kind of little stove that was cheap and easy to use.... I need to try to look that up and see what's happening with it. Still, that would be a hell of a lot of little stoves, wouldn't it? Best to effing DO SOMETHING about it all, eh?
The alternative does not appeal.
I mentioned Darfur in the comments on my blog (in another sort of context) but I was a little stunned when a troll-like entity said something like, "Well, that's another country...." Too many people probably think this way.
We can only to what little we can individually and collectively. What was once the very craddle of civilisation now lies in its ruinous state in a world with the power but not the will to do anyting about it, as its interests lay elsewhere. Best wishes
I contact my local papers, etc and ask why they hardly cover anything having to do with Africa and they say people dont like to be depressed, or people dont care, or people dont understand "tribal conflicts".
I dont think the world cares about Africa- nobody will make a name doing anything about Darfur.
And now I see wingnuts mock people trying to raise awareness. Crazy.
I am not sure what the UN does besides organizing rackets. I imagine no Belgian will make money by spending time in Sudan.
By the way, I'm with you Bohemian. The UN is not working on this one. The big holdup is China (on Security Council) who refuses to support tough sanctions or increased intervention in Sudan. Guess why? They own more than 50% of Sudan's massive oil wells.
So we have a distant people; black Africans; and little strategic interest to most nations except China, who supports the government.
This is an example where the UN or NATO or somebody should use tough sanctions and armed intervention to protect the people - whether the Sudan government agrees or not.
If we weren't up to our asses in wars and being led by an idiot, the United States would perhaps do something to make a difference over there.
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