Monday, February 26, 2007

Darfur Heroics: Jolie travels in service of Darfur

Jolie travels to Africa to raise Darfur awareness
BY: WENN Monday, February 26, 2007

Actress Angelina Jolie arrived in Africa yesterday (25FEB07) in her role as United Nations Goodwill Ambassador to monitor and raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan.

The TOMB RAIDER star touched down in N'Djamena in neighbouring Chad because she cannot travel into Darfur itself, due to the violent conditions there.

Jolie is expected to remain in the region for a few days, in her first trip there since 2004. She is due to visit refugee camps near the border of Sudan.

On Friday (23FEB07), the 31-year-old was also elected to join the Council On Foreign Relations, an international think-tank also including US Secretary Of State CONDOLEEZZA RICE.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Darfur Heroics: Edward Lyons


Saving 'starfish'
Allison Brophy Champion
Staff Writer
Sunday, February 25, 2007

Some 50,000 men, women and children exist in a refugee camp in the village of Jach in southern Sudan. They’ve fled their homes to save their lives and subsist on just the very basics.

“Their stories are all the same,” said Edward Lyons, ministry advancement coordinator with the Persecution Project Foundation of Culpeper.

“The Janjaweed militia comes into their village in the Darfur area - men killed, women raped, children abducted and sold into slavery, villages burned.”

For three decades, the northern African country has been wracked by civil war and the Janjaweed, backed by the Sudan government, has killed at least 200,000 people in the past several years.

Another 2 million Darfurians have fled their homes, most of them crowding into refugee camps like the one in Jach.

The crisis is so substantial that some might believe there is little that can be done to bring relief to those who are suffering, but not the Persecution Project Foundation, founded 1997.

“You know the story of the little boy with the starfish? A man sees him picking them up from the shore and throwing back them into the ocean, and says, ‘You’ll never save them all,” and the boy says, ‘Well, I can save this one.’

“That’s how we feel,” said 40-year-old Lyons, who left a career as a math teacher at St. Luke’s Lutheran School in Culpeper to work full-time with PPF, a Christian relief organization.

This month, the husband and father of two joined other PPF workers on a relief trip to Sudan. During their two weeks in Africa, the group spent time in Jach in the refugee camp established 2005 by the Culpeper-based organization.

They arrived in an Antonov-32 airplane filled with five-tons of supplies - tarps, mosquito nets (to provide protection from malaria), medicine, maize, solar-powered/hand-cranked radios, Bibles in Arabic and more.

In the weeks before, PPF delivered other planeloads of necessities for the 50,000 refugees including well-drilling equipment, other foodstuffs and simple things like pots for cooking or fishing hooks for those who live close enough to a river.

Jach is “very barren with very little food or water,” Lyons said, but the people make due with what they have.

Arriving Darfurians use a tarpaulin for shelter and sleep on the ground while others, who have been in the camp for longer, build “permanent” shelters made of broken tree branches and elephant grass for the roof.

PPF, working with the people, has drilled five completed wells in the area and has contracted for another 10. The women will line up and wait for as long as six hours to fill their jugs with clean water, Lyons said.

A dirt airstrip separates the Muslims from Christians, he said, and the two religious groups drink from different wells. However, there is no fighting among the refugees, Lyons said, unlike religious-based persecution elsewhere in Sudan.

Because the landing strip is dirt, PPF can’t fly into the area year-round, especially during the rainy season June through October. The evangelistic organization, however, hopes to raise the $30,000 or so that it will take to convert the runway into an all weather surface, Lyons said.

PPF also offers medical services through a small clinic in Jach, and recently hired a trained nurse named Peter.

“The days we were there he was seeing about 120 people a day,” Lyons said, mentioning the primary, mostly waterborne ailments suffered by refugees: upper respiratory illnesses, typhoid, malaria and dysentery.

In addition, PPF runs a school in southern Sudan, located in close proximity to Kenya. About 750 boys and girls - orphans of the country’s civil war - attend the Nakwatom Heritage Academy, which goes up to the eighth grade. The school also provides training in carpentry, masonry, and the like, Lyons said.

The students are extremely well behaved, eager to learn and not distracted by the large classes - about 60 per pupils per class, he said.

Upon finishing the eighth grade, they take a test and - if they excel - are given the opportunity to continue their education in Kenya.

“That’s their way out,” Lyons said.
In Jach, likewise, young people crave education and are not hindered by a lack of supplies. Absent a chalkboard, students peeled back the bark from a big tree for that purpose. It just so happened that Lyons had brought some chalk and the tree blackboard worked just fine.

He visited various areas around Sudan during his two-week visit in an experience that he described as “eye-opening.” Besides meeting the people’s essential needs, PPF workers took every opportunity to spread Christianity.

It on this rock that the organization is founded.
“Even though we can’t be in all the villages, maybe we can train 20 pastors and they will go to 20 different villages, and who knows what will happen?” Lyons said. “God is in the order of multiplication.”

Allison Brophy Champion can be reached at 825-0771 ext. 101 or abrophy@starexponent.com

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Darfur Heroics: Truth to Arabs by Lebanon Star

It's time to put a halt to the Arab world's homegrown disaster
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Editorial

Any long-time observer of events in the Arab world is familiar with the tendency of our politicians, religious leaders and intellectuals to blame all of the region's woes on "the West" or other external factors. There is a worthwhile point to be made in saying that centuries of colonialism, military intervention and Western-backed occupation have created distortions that have contributed to instability and turmoil in the region. But while foreign powers have had a clear hand in creating the crises in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq, not all of the Arab world's disasters can be attributed to outside aggression. Indeed, one of the most grave calamities in the region - Darfur, a tragedy that has been called the first genocide of the 21st century, but which has been permitted to drag on for almost four years now - is a disaster largely of our region's own making.

The conflict in Darfur, where at least 200,000 civilians have been killed and more than 2 million made refugees, is one that exposes multiple layers of hypocrisy. Much has been said about the lack of international will to address the crisis, even though many of the same superpowers have supported military and heavy-handed diplomatic intervention in other countries under less clear-cut circumstances. But Arab leaders themselves are among the ranks of the world's hypocrites on this issue. A savage form of terror has been unfolding in our own backyard for four years, yet until now, neither the Arab League nor any individual Arab government has sought to do much about it. Many of our political and religious leaders have strongly denounced what are arguably lesser crimes - such as the awkward and insensitive remarks made by the pope during an academic lecture - but have turned a blind eye as their fellow Muslims are slaughtered in Sudan. Where are the cries of outrage over Darfur?
http://www.dailystar.com.lb

As we approach the four-year anniversary of the start of the conflict, the catastrophe is continuing to escalate. The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross has said that violence is now at its worst levels since the fighting began four years ago - and it is also spilling over into neighboring countries. Each day that the conflict drags on makes it harder to reach a resolution. Rebel groups have splintered into dozens of warring gangs, making it increasingly difficult to identify parties with whom mediators can even begin to negotiate a viable peace treaty.

Regional leaders are currently making a belated and half-hearted attempt to address this four-year-old crisis, with the Arab League meeting on the issue next week. But there is every reason for observers to doubt whether the talk of doing something will materialize as decisive action. The Arab League, several of whose members are drowning in petrodollars, has only paid $15 million of its $150 million pledge to the near-bankrupt African Union peacekeeping force. Each day that our leaders ignore Darfur marks a political and moral failure and a contribution to a calamity of our own making.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Darfur Heroics: Yahya speaks Truth to Arabs, Muslims


Activist blasts Muslims, Arabs over Darfur stance
Friday, February 23, 2007-->Web posted at: 2/20/2007 2:7:51
Source ::: The Peninsula / By MOBIN PANDIT

Doha • A human rights activist from Darfur yesterday blasted the Arab and Muslim world for what he described as its hypocritical stand on the troubled region in Sudan.

He said Muslims from the rest of the world should be ashamed of their indifference towards fellow Muslims being persecuted in Darfur.

Ironically, it is the Jews and Americans who are supporting the 'innocent Muslims being targeted' in the region and providing food and shelter to nearly 250,000 Darfur refugees who have fled to neighboring Chad, said Mohamed Adam Yahya.

Yahya is the founder and executive director of the US-based ‘Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy’, a body committed to preserving human rights and ethnic communities in Darfur.

Speaking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of the US-Islamic World Forum here, he said: "The silence of the Arab and Islamic world on the Darfur issue is not only baffling, it is shameful. Do the Arabs and Muslims have any right to criticise America?"

Situated in the west of Sudan and spread over an area of 173,000 square miles, Darfur is double the size of France and has seven million people, mostly 'black' Muslims, living there.

According to Yahya, Sudan's total population is around 36 million and 26 per cent of the people are of Arab origin. They have been dominating politics, education, military, government jobs as well as business and the economy ever since the country attained freedom in January 1956.

Even though ‘black Muslims’ account for 75 per cent of Darfur's population, they do not enjoy any freedom. They are denied opportunities of education and cannot enter politics. They cannot become religious leaders or take up higher posts in the army or even become teachers.

“All a black Darfur Muslim can hope to become is a soldier in the Sudanese army,” said Yahya. "The Arab Sudanese consider themselves as superior. They have been discriminating against us for long."

Earlier, Yahya's scathing criticism of Muslims for their alleged silence on the plight of fellow Muslims in Darfur at the concluding session of the US-Islamic World Forum at the Ritz-Carlton yesterday was greeted with hearty applause.

The problem in Darfur actually began in 1991 with violent clashes between 'black and Arab Muslims' taking place. Taking advantage of the widening cleavage, the present government in Khartoum began supporting a local Arab militia, called the 'Janjaweed', with arms and funds. The problem was aggravated.

Yahya said that over the past four years alone, some 450,000 people have been killed in the region and another 250,000 have become homeless. They have been forced to take refuge in neighbouring Chad. “There is a genocide going on in the region and the Jews and the Americans are opposing it, while the Arabs and Muslims have chosen to be conveniently mum. It is ironical that Muslims are killing Muslims there,” said Yahya.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

SAVING DARFUR: THE MISSING STRATEGY

"Histories are written by intellectuals, [NGO's, College Interns, Professors...], who generally give undue credit to other intellectuals [etc.] for making history. History is made by people who commit themselves, their lives, and their energies to the struggle." David Dellinger

After spending millions of dollars to Save Darfur we have instead killed four years and thousands of Darfuries in the process. Why? The Save Darfur strategy is... THERE IS NO SAVE DARFUR STRATEGY! Dave Dellinger can fill that gap. David Dellinger may be the greatest nonviolent revolutionary in the last 100 years: From DemocracyNow:Thursday, May 27th, 2004 Revolutionary Non-Violence: Remembering Dave Dellinger, 1915-2004. The central strategist for the civil rights movement and ending the war in vietnam. Extensive quotations from Dave outlining his vision of nonviolent change are now available at
David Dellinger Quotations.

Darfur Heroics: GW Sophmore braves Chad at Christmas

Home > Life
Viewing the Darfur conflict through another lens
by Cory StrubleHatchet Reporter
Issue date: 2/20/07 Section: Life

While his parents and siblings were unwrapping Christmas presents halfway across the world, sophomore Jason Mojica woke up to the cry of gunshots ringing out across Ab飨鬠Chad.

Minutes later, members of the Sudanese Liberation Movement rebel group, armed with 50-caliber machine guns, arrived at his ramshackle motel room in a pick-up truck caked in mud to safely transport Mojica and his friends to the group's compound.

Mojica, a 32-year-old student who spent his time between high school and college doing a variety of things from opening a cafe to starting a video store to working as a graphic designer, would normally spend his winter break in the bustling suburbs of Chicago. Instead, he chose to travel to the border between Chad and the war-ravaged Darfur region of Sudan to film "Christmas in Darfur," a documentary examining the lives of humanitarian aid workers in the refugee camps of Sudanese fleeing genocide and violence.

The Darfur conflict, which started



in 2003, consists of civil strife between rebels and the Sudanese government-backed Arab militias known as the janjaweed. Both sides have committed atrocities and the fighting, where hundreds of thousands have been killed and a couple million displaced, is spreading across the border into Chad.

Two weeks before arriving, Ab飨頭 the fourth largest city in Chad - was captured by Chadian rebels who looted the World Food Program headquarters and stole United Nations vehicles there to help those suffering from civil war in the country. It would be this precarious city - brimming with humanitarian aid agencies, refugees and warring rebel factions - that would serve as the focal point of Mojica's documentary.

Anticipating his departure to Africa, Mojica said he watched the violence in Ab飨頵nfold on Al-Jazeera and questioned his rationale for going to the region.

"I sat there watching this image, thinking 'Dear god, what am I getting myself into?'" he said. "We wanted to do good, but we didn't want to go on a suicide mission. But, the same reasons we were afraid to go were the same reasons that it was important for us to go. We just decided to throw caution to the wind and go for it."

But getting there was no easy task. Mojica and his partners, Jim Milak, 32, studying at the University of Maryland, and G. Ryan Faith, 32, a space policy analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, realized their project would be costly. The trio, who originally met in the early '90s urban punk scene of Chicago, founded a non-profit organization, which they called the 77 International Foundation, to raise the necessary funds for this documentary and similar projects.

"This project would be the first like it to understand world affairs transmitted through popular culture, to communicate to the people of our generation, to express world affairs in a way that they might actually bother to pay attention to," Mojica said.

Eventually, the group raised $20,000 through fundraisers in St. Louis, Chicago and Washington and from online contributions. Armed with a few first-aid kits, bulletproof vests and film equipment, Mojica stifled his trepidation and left behind the comfort of Christmas with his family for the danger and desolation of Darfur's border.

The group would suffer one last setback before leaving, however. Only two weeks before their departure, Mojica's two cameramen pulled out of the project. The three remaining crew members spent the 15-hour plane ride perusing camera and sound manuals to fill in for them.

After a few days of interviewing aid workers and refugees on the ground, however, the crew found that despite their initial reservations, people were trying to accomplish positive ends in the midst of a dark and prolonged conflict.

"We got there and saw a place that was vibrant, full of life and people trying to find normalcy in their day to day lives," Mojica said. "People were just making do with a bad situation. What was most impressive was realizing the ability of people to get on with their lives; most of the people in that camp had been there for two years."

Inside the compounds of non-governmental agencies like the International Medical Corps, Mojica found a variety of people from all corners of the world, each with different reasons for giving up their Christmas to help the people of Sudan. But despite their profound differences, he found one very strong commonality among all of them.

"What they had in common was a passion and a desire to be personally involved in making something better" Mojica said.

It was in the midst of his daily two-hour rides in guarded convoys through arid and sporadically combative rebel territory that Mojica began to fully comprehend the complexity of the violence which he said the Western media had reduced to clips and sound-bites.

He said he thought that the story was much deeper than the one being told about the genocide, that there were actually multiple intersecting stories at play about rebel groups in both Chad and Sudan, each with their own demands, each making the story of this war-torn region even more intricate.

And of the Sudanese Liberation Movement, the rebel group whose leaders transported Mojica and his crew to their compound, he found a group of people with life experiences just as varied as the aid workers he had met. Doctors, lawyers, teachers - people he never would have expected - had either given up or were forced out of their old lives, and were now cloaked the garb of a Sudanese rebel.

"They were some of the most media-savvy people; you could not get them off-message to save their life," said Mojica, comparing the rebels to some of the most apt U.S. politicians.

Mojica, a self-identified member of the 9-11 generation, however, is far from an idealist. For him, this documentary was about trying to understand what three 32 year olds from Chicago could do - if anything - to stop an atrocity. He knows that he won't change the world by himself, but that won't prevent him from trying.

"None of us are superheroes who can fix this or solve all of the world's problems, but it's an additive effect that we're going for," Mojica said. "For years, people have said 'never again,' and what I have learned from watching Rwanda and Darfur is that what we have really meant is 'never again, in my backyard - never again, as long as it involves our national interest.'"

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Darfur News: WORDS don't stop Janjaweed. WOW!

This is impossible! How can the Janjaweed be massing in Darfur? Look at all the Darfur emails, Darfur blogs, Darfur: letters, fasts-from-luxuries, divestments of US Funds (China is Sudan's banker), articles, cookie drives we've unleashed! Janjaweed massing?!?!? How DISRESPECTFUL! :-)

Janjaweed militias massing in West Darfur: source 40 minutes ago

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Janjaweed militias have been concentrating forces to the north of el-Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state in western Sudan, an African Union military source said on Tuesday, corroborating a U.N. report.

Janjaweed is the local name for militia forces drawn mainly from the nomadic Arab tribes of the area and blamed for much of the killing in Darfur over the past four years.

"They are massing ... they have vehicles with machineguns on top and they're janjaweed. We can't say what their intentions are," said the source, who asked not to be named.

The source declined to give numbers, but described the forces gathered as a "huge amount of personnel," with pickup trucks, camels and horses. A U.N. mission spokeswoman said the militia numbered in the hundreds.

An African Union helicopter was keeping the forces under aerial surveillance and the government was being notified, the AU sources said. The Sudanese military could not be reached for comment.

Rights group and Western governments say the Sudanese government has used the janjaweed as auxiliaries against Darfur rebels and civilians suspected of rebel sympathies. The government denies this and says the janjaweed are outlaws.

On Monday, a report by the U.N. Mission in Sudan said that "armed militia have been mobilizing in large numbers over the last five days in the general area of Abou Souroug and Sliea (approximately 50 km -- 31 miles -- north of el-Geneina). The reason behind the massive militia mobilization is so far not known."

Tribal clashes in South Darfur killed up to 100 people last week, according to the United Nations.

Darfur, an arid area the size of France, has been ravaged by violence since 2003, when rebels took up arms, accusing the government in Khartoum of ignoring the region.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has resisted pressure to authorize a deployment of 3,000 U.N. peacekeepers to support the 7,000-strong African Union mission in Darfur, saying the AU force was strong enough and the United Nations could give money and logistical help to a hybrid force.

Experts estimate 2.5 million people have been driven from their homes in four years of conflict in Darfur. Washington calls the violence genocide, a term which European governments are reluctant to use and which Khartoum rejects.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Darfur Hero: US Dr. 9 mos counseling rape victims

Local Counselor Helps in Darfur
VIDEO: Local Counselor Helps Out In Darfur Reporter: Ashley Fielder

After counseling victims of sexual and domestic violence for 20 years here in the Springs, a local counselor wanted a new challenge.

She traveled to Darfur with a humanitarian group called Doctors Without Borders.

Janet Kerr spent nine months in an area that's in the midst of civil war.

200,000 people have been murdered and two million displaced.

She went to help those living at the largest refugee camp in the world housing 120,000 people.

“It's overwhelming it just seems so surreal at first,” said Janet Kerr.

But kerr dealt mostly with the wounds that don't bleed.

She opened this mental health clinic to help victims of sexual violence, a problem that plagues the area.

“Sexual violence is used as a weapon of war over there,” said Kerr.

Women going for wood are attacked and raped by militia on a daily basis.

“Then tthey send them back to their families as way to undermine the social structure.”

Because once the women get home they're considered impure, ostercized by their families, and abused by their husbands.

That's what happened to one woman Kerr helped.

“He was horrible to her, he beat her, held a knife to her throat, a gun to her head.”

The woman escaped and walked for five months with three small children to get to the refugee camp.

It's one of many stories Kerr says changed her life.

“One of the gifts I brought back is that I don't take my life here for granted so much anymore.”

Darfur: A "real" Student STAND

[ Photo is of students during he Anti-Apartheid Student Activism in South Africa.]



There is a horrible inflation among the Darfur "activists." Kristof is among the many that weeps in admiration over cookie drives to end Darfur Genocide.

No. This is what it looks like when students really stand:

The independent daily al-Sudani cited South Kordofan Governor Ismail Khamis Jallab as saying [that] the incident began when secondary school students protested at a strike by teachers who had not been paid their January salaries.
"The protests transformed from demands to destruction," the paper quoted Jallab as saying.
"The students were demanding that the schools be reopened and the teachers paid," the security source told Reuters. [Link to full article below] [NO, I am NOT advocating violence.]


As David Dellinger stated, and as today's Darfur "activists" religiously ignore:

"Histories are written by intellectuals [including non-profits and wealthy college kids], who generally give undue credit to other intellectuals for making history. History is made by people who commit themselves, their lives, and their energies to the struggle."

Student protest turns violent in Sudan's S. Kordofan
19 Feb 2007 14:31:52 GMT

Darfur Genocide: We abandoned Anne Frank too

A family history like too many others
International Herald Tribune, France - Feb 18, 2007
As soon as I read last week about the discovery of the desperate, faded letters written by Anne Frank's father, I knew my mother would call. ...

The Darfur Genocide (preventing another Holocaust, sob, sob) is being used for what besides License for Zionist Nazism in Palestine? Oh yes, we Christians use Darfur "activism" (ha!) for lots of sanctimonious self righteousness for the crumbs we drop Darfur's way, too.

I'll be labeled antisemitic and heretic for this I'm sure. In front of God I am now wondering if the most heinous antisemitism is the perverse abuse of the Holocaust as a shield for any and all heinous Zionist atrocities on others in the middle east by Israel. Why do I think this? Millions and millions of dollars are spent allegedly to promote "Never Again" but we have not moved one inch closer to "Never Again." Apparently the money has be used for a more sinister purpose. The money spent allegedly on "Never Again" has done nothing to Save Darfur.

Blatant Hypocrisy. Hey, why should Jews be any less hypocritical than my faith tradition, "Christianity?" We self proclaimed "Christians" too heinously use Jesus solely to give us a false self-righteousness to rape, plunder and pillage plant earth and all His children.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Darfur Hypocricy: "More...talk...no action."

Our global orgy of masturbation over Darfur continues.

More tough talk on Darfur, but no action

New Europe, Belgium - 19 hours ago

The European Parliament, growing increasingly alarmed about the ongoing killings and increasing number of refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan , voted for a resolution on February 14 which calls on the international community to intervene - starting ...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Darfur Genocide: We let 18,000 kids starve per day


Hey, next to that Darfur is EASY for us to neglect. We're #1 Hey! We're #1 Hey!...

But "talking" about Darfur shure do feel good, don't it! Thank God for Darfur!

Hey, looks like Jimmy is doing a real good job of samping food donations! Way to go Jimmy!

U.N.: Hunger kills 18,000 kids each day
By Associated Press
Saturday, February 17, 2007 - Updated: 07:57 AM EST

James Morris, World Food Programme Executive Director, high-fives a boy of the Olaya Herrera district during his visit to an impoverished neighborhood in Cartagena, Colombia, in this file photo from Aug. 24, 2006. (AP)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Darfur Heroics: Gonzaga Univ STAND

Chris Heinrich
Issue date: 2/16/07 Section: News
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Seeking to spread awareness of the situation in Darfur, students staged a peaceful protest on campus last Friday.

Thirteen protesters, packing fliers and signs, called for an end to the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the steps of the Crosby Student Center. Standing in dreary weather, protesters told passing students the circumstances of the situation and what they could do to help.

Clotheslines with T-shirts, each symbolizing 10,000 deaths, were hung both outside and inside the student center.

Emily Reinke, a sophomore organizer of the protest, agreed with Katie Beno, another sophomore organizer, that the focus of the protest was not on confrontation but information.

"When you say 'Darfur,' most everyone knows about the genocide in Africa but not the country," Reinke said. "Most people don't know the specifics."

More than 200 signatures were collected for a petition that called for legislation which would support the peacekeeping mission of African Union forces in Sudan. The petition will be sent to Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.

Reinke, excited by the turnout, hopes that more activities focused on alleviating the situation in Darfur can now be arranged.

John Nhial, a junior who became involved with the protest after learning about it through an all-campus e-mail, supports foreign intervention in Sudan.

"Genocide should not be an African issue," he said.

Organization for the protest began when sophomore Priyanka Fernando was contacted last week by a friend who was looking to hold simultaneous protests at Portland State University, Pacific Lutheran University, the University of Nevada-Reno and Chapman University, in Orange, Calif.

Fernando then began to research the situation and planned the event alongside campus clubs JUSTICE and the Program for International Education and Relief.

The situation in Darfur, which has left 200,000 people dead since 2004, another 2 million displaced and an estimated 4 million dependent upon aid, was called by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "the largest humanitarian crisis in the world" in January, according to the United Nations Web site.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Darfur Genocide: US/UK NEGLECT STARTS AT HOME

Save Darfur? Ha! Save Darfur? WE RICH AMERICANS DON'T EVEN HAVE TIME FOR SAVING OUR U.S. CHILDREN! SAVE DARFUR? THE LIP-SERVICE CONTINUES. FOLKS, SAVING DARFUR DEPENDS ON SAVING OUR HUMANITY.

Full Article: Children left in the shadows Full UN REPORT: An Overview of Child-Wellbeing in Rich Countries

...The United Nations report, published today, reveals that the richest countries in the world are conversely some of the poorest when it comes to their treatment of children.

Joining the UK with the worst child welfare record is the US, the world's only superpower and considered to be the beating heart of the world's economy.

Both Britain and the US found themselves in the bottom third of the rankings for five of six areas of child welfare.

Many social studies experts say the only way to reverse the trend is to solve the root of the problem - public attitudes in Britain to children. Some say the modern way of life leaves little time for children, who are often seen in the rat-race culture as a pest.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

DARFUR HEROES: U CHICAGO STAND

STAND protests Board’s decision against [Darfur] divestment
By Hassan S. Ali
Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

Activists in support of University divestment from [Darfur Genocidiary Sudan] took their message directly to President Robert Zimmer Thursday afternoon, holding a protest and descending on Zimmer’s open forum meeting with students in the Reynolds Club.

Members and supporters of the U of C chapter of Students Taking Action Now: Darfur (STAND), the student group leading the divestment campaign, gathered on the main quadrangles in frigid temperatures to show their solidarity before walking to the McCormick Tribune Lounge for the open forum meeting. The event took place less than a week after the Board of Trustees announced the University would not divest [to protect Darfur].

An initial crowd of about 40 people steadily grew as second-year and STAND co-president Aliza Levine led group chants such as “UChicago, you can’t hide, you’re supporting genocide” and “Amorality, immorality, for Darfur it’s all the same.”

In a speech to the group, Levine said that after nine months of deliberation, “49 trustees have decided that the entire University community remain complicit in genocide” by not divesting the U of C from Sudan.

“We call upon the University to answer what instance will challenge our ‘paramount social values’ if genocide does not,” she said, referring to a clause in the Kalven Report, the document that has outlined the U of C’s role in social and political action since 1967. The Kalven Report enables the University to change corporate activities if they are deemed incompatible with certain “paramount social values.”

“President Zimmer was quoted in the [Chicago] Tribune today saying, ‘Our position is that for the long run, the great contribution we make to the political landscape is to provide this umbrella of open, free inquiry.’ This university has created an umbrella that lets us hide from our moral obligations,” Levine said, adding that the University cannot “continue to hide behind academic freedom.”

As part of a mock question-and-answer session with the crowd, fourth-year and STAND co-president Mike Pareles told supporters that the administration has excluded them from the decision-making process regarding Sudan.

“Instead of engaging us, they’ve once again shut the door,” Pareles said. “The University has gone from perhaps inactive during the decision making process to actively supporting the genocide.”

Pareles said STAND appreciated the Board’s creation of a $200,000 fund supporting student and faculty work on Darfur-related issues, but that the fund “will do nothing to affect the genocide that’s happening today.”

The activists filled McCormick Lounge to maximum capacity during the open forum attended by students across the University. While Zimmer gave a half-hour–long presentation on the University’s strategic initiatives, divestment activists held up signs with messages such as “My University supports genocide” and “The U of C doesn’t care about black people.”

STAND activists dominated the question-and-answer session with questions aimed at evoking and scrutinizing the Board’s rationale for divestment.

“There is a divergence of opinion about this subject on our campus,” Zimmer said. “There are natural tensions.”

Zimmer added that there was “no real agreement” about the results of divestment for the University.

“For most people, the issue was the level of efficacy for the act,” he said.

Fielding several personal attacks regarding divestment, Zimmer emphasized that the decision not to divest ultimately came from the Board of Trustees. “I’m really representing here the Board of Trustees and the input they got from the faculty,” he said.

Before concluding the forum, in which other students also raised issues such as health care for graduate students and increased sustainability and diversity, Zimmer encouraged divestment activists “to see that there are arguments on the other side.”

Genocide in Darfur? We are "ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY."

Genocide in Darfur?
We Americans are "ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY."

Apartheid/Genocide in Israel/Palestine?
We Americans are "ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY."

Three million slaughtered in Congo to steal raw materials for western "stuff?"
We Americans are "ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY."

etc...

etc...

etc....

Why the hell have I spent four of the last eight months in front of the White House regarding Darfur Genocide? Because I can't continue to be "all evidence to the contrary."

I've just watched "Rachel Corrie: An American Consicience." At youtube you can find snippets on Rachel (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, more Rachel). But this movie is devistatingly effective at showing the Genocide of the Palastinian people.

We Americans, the normal day-to-day lives (deaths) we live are "ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY."

Darfur Honesty: China Partner in Darfur Genocide

Nat Hentoff
China: Partner in Genocide
by Nat Hentoff
February 12th, 2007 9:52 PM

China has provided Khartoum [the exterminator of Darfur] more than $10 billion in commercial and capital investments over the past decade, even as it has been the regime's primary supplier of weapons, weapons technology, and weapons engineering expertise.Eric Reeves, sudanreeves.org, January 26

Access to people in need [in Darfur] in December 2006 was the worst since April 2004 . . . Sexual violence against [Darfur] women has been occurring at an alarming rate . . . The humanitarian community cannot indefinitely assure the survival of the population in Darfur if insecurity continues. Joint statement by 14 U.N. humanitarian organizations operating in Darfur, January 17

See complete article at the Village Voice

Monday, February 12, 2007

Darfur Heroics: Ban Ki-moon "Darfur my top priority"

“I have made Darfur my top priority,” he told delegates at the recent African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. See full article: Bashir Promises U.N. Chief Changes for Darfur

Now we citizens watch right? God Damn Us. DARFUR GENOCIDE IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT. WE SHOULD MAKE Ki-moon's JOB EASY. Or the shame is ours.

Darfur Heinous: Warren Buffett gouges Darfurie Eyes out

"The biggest U.S. investor in Class H shares of PetroChina, a Chinese oil concern whose parent company is active in Sudan, is Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. I have huge respect for Mr. Buffett, and he may be thinking: My obligation is to make money for shareholders, not to use their investments in a dubious attempt to save [Darfur[ the world. But surely if Berkshire Hathaway and Fidelity mutual funds saw lucrative opportunities in selling bayonets to the janjaweed in Darfur, they would balk at that. We do have limits; the question is where we draw them."

See complete article: Death by Dollars (by Nicholas Kristof)

Darfur Heroics: Africa Action correctly slams Nastos

By: Africa Action Posted on: 2/12/2007

Africa Action Slams Natsios’ Denial of Genocide in Darfur

Rejection of “Genocide” by Top U.S. Official Contradicts Reality in Darfur; Shift in Language Seeks to Rule Out Necessity for New U.S. Action

Monday, February 12, 2007 (Washington, DC) – Africa Action today harshly criticized U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Andrew Natsios for his recent claim that the crisis in Darfur no longer constitutes “genocide.” In a presentation at Georgetown University on February 7, Natsios said, “The term genocide is counter to the facts of what is really occurring in Darfur.” Africa Action emphasized today that Natsios’ statement represents a significant shift in U.S. policy on this crisis, and contradicts numerous reports from the region, which confirm that the government-sponsored genocide is continuing in Darfur.

Nii Akuetteh, Executive Director of Africa Action, said today, “Natsios’ declaration that genocide is no longer occurring in Darfur denies the reality on the ground, and conflicts with numerous statements from the White House and State Department over the past two years. This is more than a semantic change. Natsios’ claim represents a calculated attempt to re-characterize the crisis, undermine its urgency, and obviate the need for new U.S. action to address it.”

Africa Action emphasizes that the definition of “genocide” laid out in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide continues to describe the realities in Darfur. The organization notes that the “intent” of the Sudanese government to destroy, in whole or in part, specific African communities in Darfur is clear from documentary evidence, from the pattern of attacks and from the testimony of witnesses in the region. Furthermore, the five types of violent acts described in the Convention continue to be visited upon the people of Darfur, including widespread killings, the infliction of bodily and mental harm through rape and other crimes, and the deliberate destruction of livelihoods throughout Darfur.

Ann-Louise Colgan, Director of Policy Analysis & Communications at Africa Action, said today, “Reports from the United Nations, the African Union, and human rights groups confirm that the Sudanese government continues its attacks on civilians, and has stepped up its support for Janjaweed militias in Darfur. The genocide is ongoing, and this reality must be confronted, not denied, by the Bush Administration. Natsios’ statement represents a further step backward in the U.S. response to this crisis.”

As Natsios continues to threaten the Sudanese government with a mysterious “Plan B” if it does not cooperate with the U.S. and the international community on Darfur, Africa Action emphasized today that this empty threat is no substitute for a U.S. plan of action to stop the violence and protect civilians in Darfur.

Marie Clarke Brill, Director of Public Education & Mobilization at Africa Action, said today, “Activists across the country are outraged by Natsios’ denial of genocide in Darfur and by the continued absence of a U.S. strategy to address this worsening crisis. Threats of “Plan B” from the Bush Administration have left Khartoum unfazed. The death toll is mounting, and the U.S. must act now to stop the escalating violence by the Sudanese government and to provide protection to civilians and humanitarian operations in Darfur.”

Africa Action notes that almost six months have now elapsed since the passage of Resolution 1706 at the United Nations (UN) Security Council, and that no progress has yet been made towards the deployment of the authorized UN peacekeeping force for Darfur. Later this month, Africa Action will release a new analysis of the failures of the U.S. and the international community to challenge Khartoum’s obstruction and implement Resolution 1706.

Africa Action continues to advocate a new diplomatic offensive from the U.S. to break the current deadlock on Darfur. For more information, see Africa Action’s report “Leveraging New International Action on Darfur”: http://www.africaaction.org/resources/page.php?op=read&documentid=2235&type=6&issues=1024

For further information and analysis on the Darfur crisis, see http://www.africaaction.org/darfur

Copyright peacejournalism.com

Heroics: THIS is what it looks like

Ahhh. If Darfuries were only whales or some other animal we in the West would value them enough to risk ourselves.

Japanese whaling ship, protest boat collide in Antarctic seas

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- An anti-whaling group's boat and a Japanese whale-spotting vessel collided twice in Antarctic waters Monday during clashes over a pod of whales, conservationists and Japanese officials said.

The anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd said a 1-meter (3-foot) gash was torn in the hull of its ship, the Robert Hunter, by the Japanese ship Kaiko Maru during the clashes in iceberg-strewn waters far south of New Zealand.

Japanese officials accused the group of attacking the whaling ship like pirates.

The Kaiko Maru issued a distress signal during the clash to seek help from another Japanese whaling ship in the area, said Hideki Moronuki, a senior official at the far seas fisheries division of Japan's Fisheries Agency. No one aboard the Kaiko Maru was injured, and no serious damage to the ship was reported.

Moronuki said two Sea Shepherd vessels attacked the Kaiko Maru on Monday morning.

"The attack was like that of a pirate, with people on one boat throwing warning flares and a rope in an attempt to entangle our ship's propeller," Moronuki said. The Kaiko Maru was forced to stop, he said.

Five other ships in the Japanese whaling fleet were far away from the Kaiko Maru at the time of the collision, Moronuki said, declining to give their location.

Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson said the Robert Hunter was hit twice by the Kaiko Maru after the conservationists tried to stop the Japanese ship from reaching a pod of whales.

"Robert Hunter was struck in the stern. We have a three-foot gash in the hull above the waterline," he said by telephone from the Farley Mowat, a second Sea Shepherd ship in the area.

No injuries were reported aboard the Robert Hunter.

Watson said the Sea Shepherd ships offered to respond to the Japanese ship's distress call, but it had not answered.

The three ships were still near each other, while other Japanese whaling ships were about 20 miles (30 kilometers) away, Watson said.

"The situation clearly is dangerous," he said.

New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Center said it was aware of a distress call from a Japanese vessel, and that authorities were investigating.

The collision was the latest high-stakes clash between Japanese whaling ships and Sea Shepherd activists, whose self-stated aim is to "harass, block, obstruct, and intervene against" Japanese ships hunting whales in Antarctic waters.

Last Friday, two Sea Shepherd members went missing aboard a small inflatable boat for several hours during a confrontation with another Japanese whaling ship, the Nisshin Maru, before being found safe.

The conservationists had dumped a foul-smelling acid on the whaling ship, prompting Japanese officials to label them "terrorists" after two crew members were slightly injured.

The Japanese ships left port in November for a six-month whaling expedition in the Antarctic as part of a scientific whaling program, conducted within the rules of the International Whaling Commission.

Tokyo is pushing for a limited resumption of commercial hunts, arguing that whale stocks have sufficiently recovered since 1986, when a global moratorium on commercial whaling was introduced.

Many other countries and conservation groups say Japan's scientific program is a veil for commercial whaling. (AP)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

DARFUR HERO: NURSE MATHINA MYDIN

From Spotlight: Darkness in Darfur 10 Feb 2007 JESSICA LIM :

"Fighting the searing pain in her eyes caused by the tear gas, humanitarian aid worker Mathina Mydin worked frantically amid cries of pain and gunshots. The only other foreign NGO had cleared out earlier that morning after being threatened. Mathina was the only foreign aid worker remaining at camp. One of the patients that she can recall clearly is Zenab Abdulla Rahaman and her son Abdulla Halim, 8. "She had watched her husband's throat slit in an earlier attack. That night, she was assaulted. She was so fearful for her son," said Mathina, recalling the incident which happened over two years ago....

MATHINA: "Where are our human values? I appeal to the humanity in man to give these people their dignity back."

"For things to happen for the people of Darfur, the world has to have political will."

"What kind of gentle people are these that ask so little, yet teach us so much in return? If you say the value of one life is equal to another, then yes, I feel most for Darfur."

"There may be no air conditioning and the toilets are scary. "But in comparison, it is a small sacrifice. It's a privilege to have this chance to 'do my worst'."

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Darfur Heroics: Tom Lantos

Mr. Lantos,

Darfur seems like more than just a sound-bite op for you. But please do whatever you have to to STOP the Darfur Genocide. TOO OFTEN YOU GUYS DO WHAT YOU DO TO KEEP YOUR JOB. NO. DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO TO STOP THE DARFUR GENOCIDE NOW. FOR GOD'S SAKE. "Do unto others ALL that you would have them do unto you."

Please. brother jay

We Must Take Action In Darfur February 9th, 2007

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs this week held a hearing on the situation in Darfur. It is nothing short of shocking to realize that the slaughter there has gone on for three years, and despite numerous calls for action from Congress and many of its individual members, the Administration and the international community have not summoned up the political will to act.

Humankind is failing the sons and daughters of Darfur horribly. We have watched as an entire people has been persecuted, displaced, dispossessed, raped and slaughtered. As a survivor of the Holocaust, I cannot bear silent witness to the first genocide of the 21st Century.

I am sick and tired of waiting for a diplomatic solution to this crisis. The much-heralded Darfur Peace Agreement did nothing to stop the genocide. Nobody in the Sudanese government has been held accountable for the mass killings. There has been no protection of civilians. And there has been no reversal of ethnic cleansing.

Even targeted sanctions against those responsible for the genocide have had little impact on the Sudanese leaders who find the benefits of their oil dealings with China more profitable than their assets frozen in the United States.

With or without the consent of Khartoum, we need a large number of international troops on the ground to protect the people of Darfur from slaughter, and we need them now. The UN Security Council has correctly authorized the deployment of such a civilian protection force to Darfur to augment the under-gunned and under-manned African Union troops already on the ground.

But President Bashir and his cronies have rebuffed all entreaties to allow for the deployment of these desperately needed troops.

How can we change Khartoum’s mind about the deployment of a civilian protection force? If we are cynical, we can try the approach used by Chinese President Hu Jintao during his recent visit to Sudan. While urging Sudanese cooperation with the United Nations, President Hu made a jaw-droppingly generous offer of $17 million to build a new presidential palace, $104 million in debt forgiveness, and a promise to build a new railway line.

I doubt that Sudan’s leaders lost much sleep after their meeting with the Chinese president. Perhaps that night they dreamed of building the new railway line straight to Darfur to hasten the genocide.

There is a better way. President Bush must call a summit of the world’s civilized nations with a simple goal - strong, multilateral sanctions on Sudan. Investment bans. Prohibition on travel for Sudan’s top leaders.
And most importantly, shutting down Sudan’s ability to sell oil and gas on the international marketplace. I welcome the Administration’s announcement today of a “Plan B” approach to block U.S. commercial bank transactions with the Government of Sudan. This step, if fully implemented, will have a major impact on Sudan’s ability to sell petroleum overseas.

I hope that tough sanctions on Khartoum will force the regime to allow an international civilian protection force to enter Darfur. But we can’t count on it. The United States must therefore work with the United Nations, the African Union and our allies to prepare a contingency plan for the entry of a protection force into Darfur without the Sudanese government’s permission.

If we wait much longer, there may be nobody left to protect in Darfur. The innocent civilians there are crying out for our help. We must not continue to fail them.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Darfur Genocide a Fraud: John Prendergast

From the site Darfur Genocide a Fraud:

Come on now. John and these folks are wonderful, moral people. Highly intelligent and extremely well connected. New Advocacy Group Aims To Point Up Atrocities in Africa (article below)

What they have helped construct for Darfur, the Save Darfur "Movement" (shameless) has been an almost perfect time-killing machine that makes gobs of money for the safe and comfortable "activist" community and makes millions of folks in the US feel great while doing squat(no risk, no price, no huge sacrifices unlike the Holocaust 21,000 Righteous Among Nations - Vad Yashem)! And it is great for individual careers like John's and is a terrific outlet for humanistic crumbs from Hollywood and executive celebrities. How else do you feel good about owning a personal jet in this world of poverty(see article below)? So who's been hurt? Hey, we've never stopped a genocide and we weren't going to stop this one in Darfur (if it were really genocide). Right?

But if this were really Genocide in Darfur instead of a hoax, would Prendergast really be able to put his heart into building more time-killing machines? Hey, he's been to Darfur. Surely if it really were a genocide he couldn't resist putting real skin in the game and stopping this Genocide rather than bleeding energy off to the future! I mean, we've already proven we can kill time exquisitely! Why prove it again, and again....

Clearly what we need to do if this were REALLY GENOCIDE IN DARFUR is put ALL OF OUR ENERGY TO LEARN, DEVELOP, APPLY AND PROVE TACTICS TO STOP THIS GENOCIDE IN DARFUR! NOW. But then, WE would have to face the price of becoming heroes. OUCH! Darfur: Dying for Heroes.

Ah, but it is a Hoax. There is no genocide in Darfur.

New Advocacy Group Aims To Point Up Atrocities in Africa
Former Officials Unite to Focus Public on Darfur, Other Conflicts
By Nora BoustanyWashington Post Foreign ServiceFriday, February 9, 2007; Page A16

Veteran Africa activists, frustrated by the slow response from Sudan's government to international demands to ease the plight of refugees in Darfur, are regrouping to take their fight to the next level. A new group, calling itself Enough, has joined the growing list of nongovernmental peacemaking organizations. Its aim, the founders said, is to tap into the grass-roots awareness and sense of rage generated by the Darfur crisis and create a social and political network that can identify potential wide-scale atrocities, particularly in Africa, and stop them before they occur. The three co-founders are Gayle E. Smith, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, who was previously an officer with the State Department and the National Security Council; Africa expert John Prendergast, a senior adviser at the International Crisis Group who also served at State and the NSC in the Clinton administration; and Colin Thomas-Jensen, Africa research and advocacy manager for the International Crisis Group and a former official with the U.S. Agency for International Development. "We've got people's attention on Darfur. While we have it, there are other raging fires such as Uganda and the Congo, and it is more cost-effective to act in concert," Smith said. "I am both excited and moved by the activism on Africa and what has happened in the last 30 years. . . . It is breathtaking." In a survey by the Pew Research Center conducted in December, 51 percent of American respondents said they thought the United States had a responsibility to do something about ethnic violence in Darfur, and 53 percent were in favor of U.S. troops in Darfur as part of a multinational force to help end ethnic genocide there. "It's a neat idea. When you build up such a large grass-roots base, it would be a shame to let it die away once a crisis is finished. It would be great to have a system to take care of future conflicts," said Amjad Atallah, president of Strategic Assessments Initiative and an adviser to the Save Darfur Coalition, an alliance of organizations committed to protecting civilians in Darfur. "So much of the campaigning has been effective in raising awareness, which is crucial, but ineffective in affecting policy. We won't just focus on one crisis. We want to show the linkages and common roots between the crises in Congo, Northern Uganda and Sudan," Prendergast said Monday by e-mail from Uganda, where he is touring with actor Ryan Gosling. Prendergast said the object was to feed the growing movement against genocide and make it more comprehensive. "Ultimately, our goal is to help reorganize our government's ability to prevent and respond to the commission of crimes against humanity as a fundamental objective of U.S. foreign policy, just as promoting trade and countering terrorism is today," he said. The founders' experience in government and in relief work in Africa will add another dimension to the grass-roots activism that began on campuses nationwide. Stark images from Darfur of emaciated, gangly refugees on the edge between life and death have entered the American consciousness through a variety of documentaries and other television shows. "We are going to develop a committed core of people, which is not so much a lobbying group as one that can drive up the political temperature," Prendergast said, spelling out the new group's agenda. "How do we restructure diplomatically? What we want to do is make existing movements smarter and build a better infrastructure within the government. How to restructure intelligence networks to set alarm bells in motion? How do we provide assistance to existing peacekeeping operations and, more importantly, protect civilians?" Some ideas the group discussed include monthly analysis briefings, workshops on shaping the congressional budget process, and regional training for advocacy. At the request of the Save Darfur Coalition, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) led a delegation last month to Sudan's capital, Khartoum, to meet with President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. The group hoped to tease out written commitments on the deployment of peacekeeping troops, the establishment of humanitarian delivery corridors, and the clear marking of government planes to avoid confusion between attack aircraft and relief drops. S. Daniel Abrahams, a Slimfast magnate and philanthropist, offered his private jet, and the State Department gave its consent for the trip. A couple of days after the trip, a 60-day cease-fire collapsed. Richardson said in an interview this week that some advances were made "in the right direction," such as a pledge to reduce the red tape delaying permits for Sudanese relief workers hoping to work in Darfur. Most previous diplomatic efforts with Bashir have failed. "I'm going to make Darfur an issue," said Richardson, who announced his bid for the presidency one week after returning from Sudan in January. "We need to start thinking about Africa and about repairing our relations with the Muslim world. Our obsession with Iraq has caused us to neglect poverty issues. " "I think candidates of both parties at some point are going to be asked about Darfur," Smith said. "In 2004 there were questions about Darfur in the debate. We expect everyone running for president will get a question on Darfur." More than 185 organizations are members of the Save Darfur Coalition, which has a highly efficient system for collecting online donations, obtaining grants and foundation money, and gathering sizable contributions from individuals and celebrities. Enough is likely to tap into the same pool of funding. Richardson met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to push the Sudan agenda, and he welcomed the intensified efforts of the civic groups. "It is very healthy to have such groups," he said. "There are a number of ethnic wars in Africa . . . unfolding tragedies. We cannot as a nation have any more Rwandas."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Darfur Heroics: Whistle-blower on Khartoum

An ex-employee of Khartoum speaks out on Darfur
07 Feb 2007 16:49:00 GMT

Blogged by: Jonathan Erasmus
Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author's alone.
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Jonathan Erasmus is an independent freelance journalist. Any views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not of Reuters.

"The greed of a handful of men is starving millions of people of their basic human needs," whispered the former employee of the Sudanese government.

He looked nervously around the Khartoum coffeehouse, anxious not to be identified. Leaning forward, he continued, lowering his voice further: "There are ruthless leaders here that lust after wealth and power, doing anything to get it, even if it means butchering their own people."

He said he'd been privy to details of government military spending in Darfur, where experts say tens of thousands of people have been killed and some 2.5 million uprooted by prolonged violence that Washington calls genocide.

He said orders for attacks on rural villages came from the "top level" - and that President Omar al-Bashir himself was guilty of heinous crimes against humanity.

"Since he (Bashir) came into power (in June 1989) he has marginalized, excluded and racially discriminated against black Africans in Sudan. He has the blood of thousands of people on his hands."

The former government employee said he believed Bashir had purposefully implemented policies and military action to change the demographics of Sudanese society to favour Arabs financially and politically while ostracising black Africans.

Going a step further, he said: "Bashir has been ethnically cleansing Darfur. This man is responsible for the actions of his government and military. He is accountable for the hundreds of thousands of civilians who have been killed by government bombs and bullets."

Sudan denies targeting civilians in Darfur and says bombing raids on "legitimate targets" have focused only on rebel groups that are non-signatories of the Darfur Peace Agreement signed last May in Abuja.

Khartoum also rejects charges that government helicopter gunships have attacked villages in Darfur. But the international rights organisation Human Rights Watch says Sudan is guilty of both bombing civilians and helicopter attacks on villages.

The government has in addition been repeatedly accused of financing and arming Arab militias in Darfur, though Khartoum vehemently rejects this.

However, some government sources say Khartoum has indeed been backing Arab militias, adding that there are officials in Khartoum whose sole purpose is to oversee the implementation of support to Arab militia groups in Darfur.

They say the government has been most notably supporting the Janjaweed militia blamed for the massacre of thousands of Darfuris in brutal raids on villages throughout the region.

My source said his job was to follow orders and not ask questions. He now fears that speaking out against the government seriously could jeopardise his safety. "I know the grim details about Darfur and senior people here know I know. It breaks me to think I have been involved.

"Sudan is using diplomacy to fool the world, but the reality is the government is committing grave war crimes in Darfur."

Khartoum denies this, with one government spokesman saying: "Sudan is trying to resolve the crisis in Darfur using diplomacy rather than military force."

But the source said Khartoum was hiding facts and the government was only using diplomacy in an international forum "to appear to be trying to resolve the crisis is Darfur without force" - but that on the ground it was using military force and not words.

He said government-ordered bombing raids in Darfur had been carefully calculated in both the targets and timing "to ensure the rebel groups in Darfur remain divided, as Khartoum firmly believes they have to divide and rule the rebels to control Darfur".

He added: "Khartoum doesn't really want to negotiate on Darfur. It wants to control Darfur on its own terms."

He said the extent of Khartoum's brutality towards its own people was staggering. "The quantity of munitions the government has used in Darfur is shocking. The U.N. simply can't know the true extent of the bombing and attacks government forces have carried out or they would surely have acted.

"The longer the outside world continues to be blind to what is really happening, the longer the fighting and killing of innocent civilians will continue and many, many thousands more will die."

Since the beginning of the conflict in early 2003 some experts have estimated that 200,000 people have died in Darfur, but this figure has remained unchanged for more than two years. The truth is no one really knows the extent of the massacre.

"It's sickening to say but I'm not convinced of the sincerity of international community expressions of concern anymore," the source said. "If people really cared about Darfur they would know how many Darfuris have died.

"There has been nothing to back up all the words and resolutions. They are hollow promises and hollow promises don't save lives."

He motioned to get up and leave, but stopped to add one last comment: "Once again, the world has forgotten the black African."

Reuters AlertNet is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Darfur Heroics: Tim Large re RESTORE DARFUR

No peace without jobs in Darfur
08 Feb 2007 18:57:00 GMT

Blogged by: Tim Large

One of the more insidious aspects of the conflict in western Sudan is its impact on the ability of Darfur's people to make a living. The rapes, the massacres, the torched villages - these are well documented. Less so the effects of the crisis on the production of tombac chewing tobacco, say, or leather and metalwork.

These are just two ways in which Darfuris have long supplemented the income from their main agricultural activities. Lumped together, they're what aid agencies mean when they talk about "livelihoods".

It's no surprise that a conflict that has killed some 200,000 people and displaced 2.5 million more has had a devastating effect on livelihoods. But a new report by the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University argues that unless Darfur's people find ways to earn money, peace won't be possible.

"While displacement may be seen as the main proximate cause of loss of livelihoods, the real causes are found much deeper in the dynamics of conflict and local power relations," says the study, entitled "Challenges to Peace and Recovery in Darfur".

"After nearly three years of conflict, this systemic destruction of livelihoods has probably contributed as much if not more to the increase in conflict-affected populations and displacement than the effects of direct attacks on communities."

Here are a few ways the conflict is devastating livelihoods in Darfur, according to the report:
As violence stops people moving about freely, market places are empty and trade has come to a standstill. Crops don't get cultivated and animals don't get herded. People don't collect firewood. Remittances are neither sent nor received.

Health centres, schools and water supplies have been destroyed. Banks have been looted. Public services have been decimated as civil servants, teachers and health workers are displaced.

The uprooting of millions has led to concentrations of people in and around towns, pressuring water supplies and exhausting vegetation. The trade in firewood and grass for fodder has become a hot issue around camps for displaced people.

In some areas under Sudanese government control, Arab groups have occupied land, controlling resources and moving livestock into farmers' fields. Reports of Arab groups extorting protection payments from residents are widespread.

Traditional leaders have been killed or displaced. and newly appointed leaders have sometimes misused their authority to profit from aid distributions. Traditional tribal systems of administering land tenure and negotiating livestock migration routes have broken down.

The scale of the international food aid programme is distorting local markets and affecting cereal production. Food aid is now a widely traded commodity.

The link between livelihoods and conflict isn't always obvious, but these examples help connect the dots.

While technical in places, the report is worth a read, if only to underline the point that building a lasting peace in Darfur will involve more than just sending in peacekeepers.

Reuters AlertNet is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Darfur Heroics: University Chicago STAND

University of Chicago stands pat; Darfur activists take aim
While other colleges sever financial ties with Darfur Sudan, U. of C. defies protests and sticks to 1967 policy
By Michelle S. Keller, Tribune staff reporter; Tribune staff reporter Jodi S. Cohen contributed to this reportPublished February 8, 2007

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Darfur Heroics: Chatham MA Prom $ to Darfur?

Chatham Man Organized ‘No Prom’ Night To Benefit Darfur Victims
by Debra Lawless
Raising awareness and money to fight the mass slaughter of ethnic Africans are the twin goals of a new local chapter of the national student group Students Take Action Now: Darfur (STAND), advised by English teacher Jeff Howell of Chatham.
Last fall at Dennis-Yarmouth High School, where Howell teaches, STAND posed a provocative question: Is it more important to attend your high school prom in high style, (which costs on average up to $600 per person), or to give the money you would have spent to fight genocide in Darfur, an African nation you may never have heard of? High school students Cape-wide will struggle with this question come prom time this spring, thanks to STAND.
On Friday, March 9 at 7 p.m., Howell’s students and the Human Rights Commission of Cape Cod will sponsor a three-hour No Prom For Darfur dance at Cape Cod Community College. Tables will be set up in the upper commons so students can break from dancing to write letters and sign petitions against genocide. A video crew and local politicians have also been invited to the event. “We’ll see who shows up,” Howell says.
To explain to the community what this is all about, several of Howell’s students will join Dan Millenson, executive director of the Sudan Divestment Task Force, in conducting a program at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House in Chatham on Sunday, Feb. 18 during the 10:30 a.m. service, and again at 2 p.m.
Darfur is a nation in the western Sudan torn by war that began when Africans rebelled against the Arab-dominated government in February 2003. The rebellion has turned into a mass slaughter of Africans. Estimates of the number of dead vary, but Eric Reeves, a Smith College professor who has been studying the conflict almost since its beginning, estimates 450,000 are dead and 2.5 million more displaced from their homes.
It must be said up front that while the original, perhaps idealistic, idea was to schedule the No Prom For Darfur dance (which is “come as you are” and costs $25) on the same night as Dennis-Yarmouth’s junior prom, the two dates no longer conflict. So while juniors can attend both events, scheduling an alternate dance on the same night as the junior prom did bring a lot of attention to the cause.
Kids who didn’t know about the genocide commented, “why are we missing the prom?’” said Dennis-Yarmouth senior and STAND member Ross Desmarais. “We decided on an alternative just to have people attend. We can raise the same amount of awareness and money.”
Desmarais believes that while students will still attend their proms, which he describes as “the major high school spectacle” looked forward to by both genders, they may not rent that Hummer limousine or buy that $1,000 dress.
“We’re not on the same night as any prom,” Howell says. “We’re not taking attendance at any prom. It’s the concept that’s important. We’re inclusive.”
Most significantly, students Capewide attending 16 public and private high schools are invited to No Prom For Darfur. Howell expects at least 200 students who are “energized by the issue” to attend.
In a nutshell, here’s how this came about.
Last spring, Desmarais and his classmate Zak Jason, who had just taken their advanced placement exam in U.S. History, needed a project related to current events to complete the semester. The pair settled on raising awareness of the genocide in Darfur, an atrocity about which most students knew nothing. Desmarais and Jason also wanted to raise money for humanitarian aid to Darfur, and after tacking up posters they designed around the school and giving a Power Point demonstration, Desmarais and Jason asked for donations in the cafeteria.
They raised $700 in two days, Desmarais says. “We sent it to the Save Darfur Coalition.”
The project took on a life of its own, with about 50 more students, including junior Jen Pimental, who is now president of STAND, becoming involved. Last fall, Reeves, author of a forthcoming book about the genocide “A Long Day’s Dying,” spoke at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“Five kids piled in my Ford Freestyle and we headed up there,” Howell says. Reeves concluded his talk by saying that in 12 months another 500,000 people will be dead in Darfur. “We all looked at each other and said, ‘no way. We have to do something,” recalls Howell.
The “no prom” idea evolved one day during a casual hallway conversation at Dennis-Yarmouth. While Howell expected some flak from the many florists, hairdressers, limousine and tuxedo companies that make money on proms, he has been surprised to get phone calls from such businesses supporting his efforts. Chatham’s Monomoy Community Services also contacted him with the message that his students were spreading faith for the future of the world and pledged $350.
“People are just waiting for you to scratch the surface to find out what a good person they are,” Howell says.
2/8/07

Darfur Heroics?!? George Bush Administration

Bush Approves Plan To Pressure Sudan
Treasury Would Block Transactions
By Glenn Kessler Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 7, 2007; Page A12

President Bush has approved a plan for the Treasury Department to aggressively block U.S. commercial bank transactions connected to the government of Sudan, including those involving oil revenues, if Khartoum continues to balk at efforts to bring peace to Sudan's troubled Darfur region, government officials said yesterday.

The Treasury plan is part of a secret three-tiered package of coercive steps -- labeled "Plan B" -- that the administration has repeatedly threatened to unleash if Sudan continues to sponsor a campaign of terror that has left as many as 450,000 dead and 2.5 million homeless. But the administration has held back on any announcement of Plan B, even after setting a Jan. 1 deadline, in hopes of still winning Khartoum's cooperation.
The delays have increased skepticism that the administration is willing to risk potential diplomatic and commercial fallout from targeting Khartoum.

The U.S. plan would put pressure on Darfur rebel leaders who have refused to participate in peace talks or who have targeted humanitarian groups operating in the region, officials said. The information on Plan B was provided by officials in four government agencies on the condition of anonymity because the administration had not planned on releasing details yet.

Some aspects of Plan B have already been stealthily launched, such as stationing four U.S. Army colonels last month as observers on the Sudan-Chad border in full view of Sudanese intelligence. The unannounced move was intended as a signal to Khartoum, which the administration accuses of launching a "quiet war" against Chad's government to widen the Darfur conflict.

"I find this all very dubious. They have talked about Plan B, but they have never explained what Plan B is," said J. Stephen Morrison, director of the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "The deadlines have come and gone, and the Sudanese have thumbed their noses."

Andrew Natsios, Bush's special envoy to Sudan, tomorrow will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the administration has set three triggers that would result in the enhanced sanctions: one, renewed attacks on displacement camps or driving nongovernmental organizations from Darfur; two, stonewalling peace negotiations with rebel forces; and three, refusing to implement a plan pushed by then-U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to expand a poorly equipped 7,000-person African Union force into a hybrid A.U.-U.N. force of 17,000 troops and 3,000 police.

"Treasury's plan to block commercial bank transactions connected to the Khartoum regime, even those involving oil revenues, will be only a minor, short-term inconvenience," said Eric Reeves, a Sudan expert at Smith College, who noted that Khartoum has already violated the three triggers since the start of the year. "This element of Plan B only reveals more fully its vacuous nature."

The Darfur conflict broke out in 2003, when African rebel groups attacked police stations and military outposts. The United Nations and human rights groups accuse Sudan's government of supporting a militia known as the Janjaweed in an effort to crush the rebellion. About 2,000 villages have been destroyed across Darfur, and the administration more than two years ago accused the government of engaging in genocide. But the United States has made little progress in ending the conflict or the humanitarian crisis.

Buoyed by booming oil wealth and a close relationship with China, Sudan has shrugged off repeated threats of action. Bush, increasingly frustrated by the impasse, approved key aspects of the plan last month, directing Treasury to come up with a menu of options that would directly affect the government in Khartoum, officials said. Sudan's Arab leadership has fought multiple civil wars with regional groups over the country's oil and other resources, and U.S. officials believe Sudan's leaders are fearful of any moves that might threaten their grip on power.

Sudan's economy is largely dollar-based, meaning many commercial transactions flow through the United States and making it especially vulnerable to Treasury actions. Indeed, U.S. intelligence, which has stepped up reporting on Sudan in recent months to prepare for a confrontation, believes Khartoum set up a government committee to explore ways of obtaining oil revenues that did not involve dollars, such as barter deals, one official said. Sudan's government has also unsuccessfully sought new oil contracts that would provide for large upfront payments.

The core of the Treasury plan rests on an executive order issued by President Bill Clinton in 1997 that blocked all Sudanese government assets, including companies connected to it, and curtailed financial dealings with Sudanese entities. Bush last year issued a second executive order that blocked the property of people connected to the conflict in Darfur. The existing orders already result in regular freezes or rejections of some Sudanese transactions, but U.S. officials believe they also give the Treasury the authority for an aggressive crackdown on a much larger group of companies connected to Sudan.

Officials hope a ripple effect of Treasury's actions would extend to other countries and companies doing business with Sudan, forcing them to reconsider whether they want to be tainted or, more troubling, subjected to Treasury's scrutiny. "Anything that is controlled by the government we can go after," a senior administration official said. "But the effectiveness will be driven by the participation of our partners," meaning other countries.

Sudan produces about 500,000 barrels of oil a year, which at current market rates is worth about $10 billion. As much as 200,000 barrels are kept for internal consumption, Morrison said, with about 75 percent of the rest sold to China. Partly because some aspects of the plan are still classified, administration officials yesterday were vague about how the plan would cripple Sudan's oil revenues. One official said Treasury will "have the ability to touch things that touch oil revenues."

The regional government of South Sudan, created through a peace deal two years ago, is supposed to get 50 percent of oil revenues. Officials said they think they had designed the plan so it would harm Khartoum but without impacting the government in the south.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Darfur Heroics: Piccadilly Activists

"Campaigners will then bed down for the evening in Piccadilly train station ­ just as several refused asylum seekers from Darfur (Sudan) have been doing on a regular basis throughout the winter. "



MANCHESTER - 7 February 2007 - 300 words

Manchester: campaigners sleep out in solidarity with destitute asylum seekers

Campaigners from Church Action on Poverty, the Boaz Trust and other charities working with refugees in Manchester will be sleeping out in Piccadilly on Monday 19 February in support of the growing numbers of destitute asylum seekers on Manchester's streets.

The sleepout is timed to coincide with an event being organized by the Refugee Council in Parliament Square, on the eve of the publication of the latest Government asylum statistics.

The sleepout will highlight to the public, politicians and the media that destitute asylum seekers have no home - and that destitution is not working as a policy. Asylum seekers whose claims are turned down are not leaving the UK ­ they are here and they are homeless and hungry.

The event will start with a vigil outside Piccadilly railway station from 5pm ­ 7pm, followed by a vigil and music in Piccadilly Gardens from 7pm ­ 8pm. Campaigners will then bed down for the evening in Piccadilly train station ­ just as several refused asylum seekers from Darfur (Sudan) have been doing on a regular basis throughout the winter.

Niall Cooper, national coordinator of Church Action on Poverty said: "In 1999 the Prime Minister said "It is a scandal that there are still people sleeping rough on our streets. This is not a situation that we can tolerate in a modern civilised society." Destitution is now being used as a tool of public policy ­ and it is time to put an end to it."

Source: CAP


© Independent Catholic News 2007


Contact Independent Catholic News tel/fax: +44 (0)20 7267 3616 or email

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Darfur Heroics: Pareles & Levine of U Chicago

My guess is that this Open letter in response to the U of C’s rejection of Darfur divestment is a principled, RISKY, SACRIFICIAL STAND by what I presume to be students at U of C. THIS IS UNHEARD OF - People actually taking personal risks to stop the Darfur genocide! Presuming that I am correct, GOD BLESS YOU Michael Pareles and Aliza Levine.

Open letter in response to the U of C’s rejection of divestmentChicago Maroon, IL Hope Franklin, the last surviving drafter of the Kalven Report, agreed that the genocide in Darfur qualifies as an “exceptional instance” under its terms.

Darfur Heroics: "My Jesus would be in Darfur..."

It is so rare to find any shred of courage or truth in the media. Thank you Mr. Stephens.

"My Jesus would be in Darfur, saving his children from genocide instead of escalating an ungodly war. Lastly, the Jesus I know sees every life as precious. Whether you are an Iraqi mother, the parents of a fallen war veteran, or the president of the United States, we are all equal in his eyes. Christians understand that." full article below
Stephens is a Black Star News contributing columnist.

Right-Wingers Don’t Represent All Christians

By Andre Stephens

February 6th, 2007

The mainstream media has done a poor job of differentiating Evangelical Christians from more mainstream Christians. This failure by the media to properly define the differences in people of the Christian faith has led to false perceptions by both Christians and non-Christians as it pertains to their political beliefs.

Merriam-Webster defines the word evangelical as:1: “of, relating to, or being in agreement with the Christian gospel, emphasizing salvation by faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ through personal conversion.”

Merriam –Webster also defines a Christian as “one who professes belief in the teaching of Jesus Christ.” Therefore, by definition, an Evangelical Christian is a person that adheres to the teachings of Jesus Christ and has accepted Christ as their personal savior.

I have been around people that fit that description all of my life. In fact, I count myself among them. What’s strange to me is that I don’t recognize the rhetoric I hear from people that the mainstream media appoints as Evangelical Christian leaders. Their message is inconsistent with the teachings of the Jesus I know.

At one time the group we now know as Evangelicals were referred to as The Christian Right. That name seemed more appropriate since it identified their political aspirations. The brand of religion they subscribed to seemed to be front loaded with patriotism, as if God only extends his blessing to America and its allies. They also align themselves with conservative politicians. While I would never question their faith, I do question their political agenda. It’s their political agenda that concerns me when the mainstream media identifies them as Evangelical Christians or just Christians rather than The Christian Right.

The mislabeling of the Christian Right by the mainstream media creates a false perception that is twofold. When people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell are referred to as Christian leaders, the public perception is that they represent all Christians. When Robertson and Falwell use their pulpit to call for the murder of another country’s president –Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez-- support the oppressive minority ruled government of apartheid South Africa, or say that a town is headed for damnation because it approved intelligent design, it creates backlash against Christians. That backlash sometimes turns into Christian-bashing, even though many mainstream Christians are just as outraged.

When conservative Christian leaders get attacked for their outrageous views, people of faith hear the affront and confuse it as an assault on Christianity itself—sometimes it is. The galvanizing effect of these attacks is that in defense of their faith many Christians close ranks and start identifying themselves with more conservative Christian groups that really don’t represent their true beliefs.

Robertson, Falwell and Dr. James Dobson have used the scripture to become very powerful and rich men. Their wealth and influence has been enhanced by the millions of additional dollars funneled to them by Bush’s faith based initiatives. These men have created and funded their own special brand of American/Political Christianity.

The media has bestowed the power to win or lose elections in the hands of the Evangelicals and Evangelical leaders gladly languish in that perception. Candidates have now bought into the idea of Evangelicals as a power base and routinely seek to win their support.

In the 2004 presidential election, Christian voters were almost exclusively identified by the media as Republicans. There was never any sort of in-depth analysis that differentiated the so-called Evangelicals from other people of faith. Even when the Republicans were routed in November 2006, the media speculated that Evangelicals must have stayed home. A poll conducted by The Washington Post showed that 58% of people that attend church weekly voted for Bush in 2004. In 2006, only 44% of weekly church goers voted for the Republican candidates, 43% voted for Democrats. Christians didn’t stay at home; they were incorrectly identified as being staunchly Republican.

While the talking heads in the media would have us believe that people of faith vote Republican and non-believers vote Democrat, the issue is clearly far more complex and their faulty analysis leaves viewers with the wrong perception.
I never bought that line. I think there are millions of Christians that do not subscribe to the words of Robertson, Falwell and Dobson. I think the Jesus they worship is the same Jesus that I have a relationship with. The Jesus that is more concerned with saving the planet and its species from man’s destructive path than he is with condemning gays.

My Jesus would be in Darfur, saving his children from genocide instead of escalating an ungodly war. Lastly, the Jesus I know sees every life as precious. Whether you are an Iraqi mother, the parents of a fallen war veteran, or the president of the United States, we are all equal in his eyes. Christians understand that.

Stephens is a Black Star News contributing columnist.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Darfur Heroics: Jerusalem Post/Irwin Cotler

Feb. 5, 2007 21:59 Updated Feb. 5, 2007 22:32
Meltdown in Darfur - what happened to 'Never Again'?
By IRWIN COTLER

"The genocide by attrition in Darfur is being accelerated." It is painful - almost incredulous - to have to repeat these words, which I first spoke at the Save Darfur rally on September 17, 2006, the first anniversary of the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the "Responsibility to Protect" doctrine (the "R2P doctrine").

Yet tragically, incrementally, the genocide in Darfur has moved into high gear, a standing repudiation of the R2P doctrine, both mocking the lessons of history while betraying the people of Darfur.

For the enduring lesson of history is that the genocide of European Jewry occurred not only because of the ideology of hatred, but also because of crimes of indifference and inaction. Indeed, we have witnessed in our own days an appalling indifference and inaction which took us down the road to the unspeakable - the genocide in Rwanda.

Unspeakable, because this genocide was preventable. No one can say that we did not know. We knew and we did not act. We know what is happening in Darfur and we have yet to act. The moral injunction of "never again" has become "yet again" - again and again, a particularly poignant and painful reminder as the UN has just commemorated the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust.

Moreover, Darfur is in "freefall" or "meltdown," as Chief UN Aid Coordinator Jan Egeland recently put it, going beyond his ominous predictions in conversations with me in September on the occasion of the opening of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Full article here - 3 more excellent pages