Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Darfur Days

[Activism] The genocide in Darfur has not stopped. It's still there and it's still going on. Despite being a genocide which should get people's attention the crisis in Darfur seems to suffer from the problem that its so bad alot of people are tuning it out-- alot but not everyone.

This weekend the local group SaltLakeSavesDarfur is teaming up with SLC Amnesty International to put on a weekend fundraiser and education event. The Days of Darfur will include a documentary and panel discussion of the film The Devil Came on Horseback, Thursday at 7 pm at the SLC Library. Local restaurants Friday will donate proceeds from meals to charity efforts through the International Rescue Committee and Saturday a carwash, entertainment and information booths will be setup in Liberty Park. For more info check out SaltLakeSavesDarfur' s website here. (Eric S. Peterson)


  1. Yes, horrible.
    So is the willful genocide of 1 million-plus human lives every year in the good ol' U.S.A.
    It's called abortion, and according to the CDC, only 1 percent of those 1 million are cases of rape or incest.
    Odd that we think the difference between a human life and a "fetus" can be only a few weeks in the womb.

  2. Dear Anonymous

    Please think again before you post a comment.

    This article is
    a.) not about the U.S.A
    b.) not a philosophical (or religious) debate about abortion being murder or not.

    Using a tragedy to promote your own beliefs is disgusting to me.

  3. So...

    What should we do in Darfur? As Americans, our outrage isn't good for too much.

    So what action do we take?

    Go to a meeting to donate money to a cause to promote awareness, which helps fuel publicity for the issue, which leads to...further publicity. "A" has been going on for awhile. I'm concerned about Darfur now, thanks to publicity. So...now what?

    Write/call/email our congressman, telling him we expect action on Darfur. But What action? Invasion? Negotiations with genocidal maniacs?

    Honestly, this is a tough dilemna. What actions can Americans take? I just don't see many great options here, and "awareness" is not a virtue. It's a means to an end.

    But this awareness is simply depressing unless those people who are raising that awareness have a politically viable and functional solution. I haven't seen it yet. Do you have one?

  4. Anonymous:

    Interesting that you would compare willful abortion to genocide occurring in Sudan. There is nothing remotely similar between the two.

    For you to bring attention to your cause at the expense of thousands that die daily at the hands of a brutal government and their janjaweed puppets illustrates exactly how shallow and thoughtless you and your fellow religious nut-bags are.

    Sudan gets little to no attention, from this or any other publication. For you to try and piggyback on this tidbit makes me wish you were aborted.

  5. Jeff,

    Go to savedarfur.org for answers to your questions.

    There are lots of people trying to convince, if not force, governments that have promised aid to Darfur. The USA has promised much but delivered very little. As more people become aware of this problem, more people take action by writing their respective governments, illustrating that we are not going to ignore Sudan like we did Rwanda.

    Sudan's president was recently charged with genocide. This won't amount to much now but it means people are paying attention.

    The people of Darfur need very little in order to return to a relatively normal life. They need a few UN helicopters to patrol areas infested by janjaweed. They need help rebuilding villages that were (are) razed by the janjaweed. They need pots and pans, food and water. They need medical attention. These things and more are easy to come by. If we continue to insist, maybe we'll get assistance to these people before it is finally too late.

    If we can spend untold billions in Iraq, surly we can spend a million or two in Darfur. But without awareness, there is no hope.

    Watch the movie mentioned in the blog - you'll gain an entirely new perspective.

  6. You know what's really shitty about this whole thing?

    1)China supports this genocide by supplying Sudan's government with weapons. China is Sudan's largest trading/development partner. China is a major contributer to this mess and everybody knows it.

    2)The USA borrows billions from the Chinese to blow the shit out of innocent Iraqi's, meaning, unless we want to point out our own iniquities, our own hypocrisy, we cannot suggest to China that China knock it the hell off.

    Besides, what would we American's do without all that lovely Chinese merchandise we're so addicted to?

    And, by golly, we wouldn't want to piss China off seeing as how they're about the only ones left in the world that will buy our dollar.

    Plus, we need China to continue to loan us money - we got us a war on, man, and we might just want to send out another of those nifty economic stimulus checks.

    I'm really looking forward to the Olympics. Give me one althlete with a soul; one person that will stand up, in front of everybody, and call bullshit! at the expense of their pending Nike contract and I'll sincerely try and regain faith in this silly human race.

    Rant over.

  7. I'm glad to see this is still getting some attention. Most of the media are ignoring it in favor of more exciting stories. In 2007 I was part of a local fund- and awareness-raising effort called Dancing for Darfur.

    I did a lot of research into the situation, and I'm appalled that the Sudanese government condones the actions of the Janjaweed.

    The U.N. finally got peace-keeping troops in the area, but they're not able to get the equipment they need, including helicopters, vehicles, and even those blue U.N. helmets.

    And I appreciate Hayduke's comments on this. China has decided not to take action, and it's not hard to imagine that a big reason for that is that China imports a lot of oil from Sudan.

    "The Devil Came on Horseback" is definitely worth watching.

  8. Hayduke-

    Cmon. The abortion comment was not especially topical, but what the hell is with wishing that person were aborted?

    Honestly, that's the hardest part to get with most activists: They are so angry about their cause receiving little attention, that anyone who diverts what attention it gets is up for abuse. Think Darfur, Ron Paul, anti-Iraq War activists. Call it ducking my head in the sand, but does anyone want to associate with people who are so unpleasant to others who don't lock-step with the message?

    You get in the way of your own message. It's not what you intend, but it's the end result.

    And I'm still not seeing a solution to Darfur. Blue hats didn't stop Milosovic. Helicopters flying around with blue hats will just lead to either ignoring them, or aggressive action towards them by agitators. Which creates an international incident, bringing more scrutiny, but to what end?

    Most importantly, how does it all end?

  9. Clown and Hayduke,

    Your comments to Anonymous are pretty much amazing.

    The End.

  10. amused reader,

    You are right. I should have just ignored the off-topic comment from anonymous. I apologize for getting upset about it.


    I think awareness is more than simply depressing. If enough people are aware, political leaders will be expected and forced to deal with the issue. So even if the people raising awareness don't have a solution it will hopefully spark a discussion about what a viable solution could be. Why is it so hard to take action in Darfur and send some assistance? It might not be the optimal solution but it certainly better than turn your head away. The US was fast with invading Iraq based on dubious arguments. I guess there is no obvious benefit for the US to take action in Darfur...

  11. Jeff,

    I don't really wish that this person I responded to were aborted (I don't know the asshole). But then again, I wouldn't have cared one way or the other if they would have been. I know that doesn’t jive with the ideals of many, especially Republican Christians. I considered my comment to that person as equally hostile as theirs was callous and I certainly don’t apologize for it anymore than the anti-abortion nuts apologize for self-righteously harassing women at the women’s center downtown.

    Perhaps one problem in understanding this issue (or me) is the fact that you're trying to peg me as an activist. I am not. I am in no way an activist and do not represent activists fighting for Darfur or any place else. If I were an activist posting here, you would have read entirely different words from an entirely different person. Don't think for a second that I do not understand my words, how they are perceived or how I intend for them to come across.

    I did not write what I did thinking that you or anybody else with your opinion would suddenly see the light, removing your focus from your own world to train it on another. These things are for individuals to come to on their own, or not. I can't make you care. I can make you feel guilty but I can’t make you care. There’s a big difference between the two. If an individual is shallow enough to turn their back on hundreds of thousands of people affected by the horrors of genocide because of the words of one person, one jerk like me, that individual is useless to solutions, anyway.

    I did not write my words to appease, to make anybody understand this situation or make any specific point. Though I had hoped that you would do a bit of research, I saw in your words that you aren't terribly interested in the people of Darfur. I saw that it's easier for you to acquiesce to the problem, stating that it is too big for you or anybody, rather than attempt to seek or understand solutions. I’m not saying that you don’t care that people are dying. I am positive that you do.

    I felt that you were simply tacking words on this blog for debate alone. Hell, I do that more often than not myself. If you really were interested in seeking solutions, they are found easily enough. You could have done your own research on the internet and found quick answers to your own questions. You haven't "seen a solution yet" because you haven't been looking.

    You're probably right that the "Blue Hats" will not be able to stop this genocide. It's not that they wouldn't or that they couldn't but that they are not allowed. They are not given permission to do what they need to do by countries forming the UN, including our own. Though you may not see it, this situation could be easily controlled were the responsible governments willing to control it. They aren’t. Viable solutions are there but governments don’t like solutions. Governments are attracted to business interests, political ties, power and money. And that's exactly what pisses me off, what contributes to my attitude and what prompts me to write the way I do at times.

    But knowing that is no reason to simply give up. I am as cynical as they come but even I cannot avert my gaze from the helpless and the suffering just because bureaucratic governments continually refuse to do the right thing.

    Clown was right to bring up Iraq in his/her last post. We’re in Iraq for oil and geo-political positioning—not for the people as we like to pretend. There's no reason for our government to help the people of Darfur or even to pretend to anymore than there was to help the Tutsi’s—they have nothing to offer in return. Once China harvests abundant oil of that region, we’ll all know that Darfuri lives are worth far less than Darfuri deaths.

    We’ll continue to destroy Iraq for our own greedy purposes in the name of saving Iraq while dust settles on the charred corpses of Darfur, then we’ll forget.

    And you wonder why I have a bad attitude.

  12. Hey Hayduke (say it out loud...)

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    I suppose I'm just missing the "right thing" to do here. I'm just not hearing it.

    I don't want to put up bureaucratic walls to stop myself, or my government, from asking. The thing is, I don't know a ton about Darfur: Were I completely without any knowledge, savedarfur.org would leave me no better off. It's insider information, that assumes the regular Joe knows something.

    I found wikipedia far more helpful.

    I guess I'd sum up my thoughts by saying what I was trying to get you to say: Yes, Darfur is in an awful state, but the only way to stop it is to go in with a military operation, and that's simply not realistic given the economic and political situation. (IE China, US and Euorpe, Dollars in China, etc..,)

    There isn't a simple solution: Only multiple choice misery.

  13. Jeff,

    I hear you. I really do. Sadly, I agree with your last statement.

    I don't blame you or anybody else for not knowing much about Darfur. As I stated, things like this are up to the individual to research, especially as it pertains to Africa. Sad but true.

    If mass media were up to the task -were allowed and expected to be- we'd all know about this and more and something might actually be done. Instead, we're immersed in American Idol, CGI and the unchanging weather report: "It's hot today and it'll be hot tomorrow but the next day won't be as hot.....not as hot as my ass in these pants or my Cabo tan, anyway. Back to you, nutsack!"

    Most information the average Joe (or Jeff or Hayduke) is able to gather about Darfur is gleaned from the occassional 2 second blurb smashed within the 60 second world watch news segment. Aside from that, you might catch something about it on page 24 of the Sunday paper.

    Shit, man. We humans have had all this time here and for what?

    Same as it ever was...........

  14. Was it accidental that this blog was chopped and rearranged?

    If you're going to cut out my words, at least do me the fucking favor of cutting them all out rather than leaving the ones that suit your personal sensibilities.

    Censor it all or leave it alone. You killed a good thread.


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