Monday, May 1, 2006

The Time for Action is Now.

On Sunday night, I took my daughter and her friend to Tucson to attend a "Save Darfur" rally at the University of Arizona. There were some pretty inspriational speakers, including survivors of the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur, Sudan.

I already knew a fair amount about what was going on in Darfur, but the rally caused me to resolve to do more. Upon my return to work today, I spoke to a few friends and co-workers about how my daughter had asked me to take her to the rally. I was stunned by the unanimous response:

"What's Darfur?"

I could not believe it. I was stunned! I'm not holding these people responsible... that lies elsewhere. The responsibility lies with the media for failing to provide sufficient coverage (a total of 18 minutes of primetime news was dedicated to this story in all of 2005, compared to 86 minutes for the Earthquake in Pakistan), or perhaps it can be traced back to the lack or priority given to the genocide by our own government.

Either way, things need to change now. I was heartened by the positive response I received from everyone-- once they knew what was happening in Darfur, they agreed that action was required and that they wanted to help.

Here are the minimal facts:

  • Government-backed militia are destroying village after village, killing children, raping women, and driving those who survive out of their homes.
  • 400,000 innocent civilians have died in the past three years
  • 2 Million have been displaced
  • 3 Million in the Darfur area and across the border in Chad are hungry, with many dying every day.
  • On Saturday, the UN announced that due to dwindling donations, they were cutting food rations in half for the refugees in Darfur.
If you would like make a difference, visit This coalition of over 100 organizations is coordinating efforts to raise awareness and provide assistance to Darfur.

When your grandchildren ask you what you did to stop the genocide in Darfur, what will you tell them?

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