Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Darfur: Never Again

I have been working for a few years on spreading the awareness of the current genocide in Darfur, Sudan.
It started when my gym teacher in ninth grade overheard me talking about it and asked "What's a Darfur?"
O My God.
She is mindless.
and i was speechless.

It was then that i started to make a plan of what i could do to inform people of this modern day Holocaust.
I did what any fifteen year old would do: Call the president.
That proved to be unsuccessful, so i called the Mayor.
He was a jolly guy. Actually returned my call. we went out to coffee and discussed what we as a city could potentially do.
I talked to a friend of mine, Emma, and she had connections with someone who worked for Genocide Intervention Network.

Dr. Kennedy was the director of GI Net. She aided us in setting up a benefit to aid women and children in refugee camps.
We did a movie showing of the Documentary "The Devil Came On Horseback"
(I HIGHLY suggest this movie to anyone who is even slightly interested in Darfur)
We also made tee shirts that we sold around school and places like that.
After the movie there was a panel discussion that included the following:
Mayor Jim Hovland, Senator Sandy Pappas, Ben (a "Lost Boy of Sudan"), Dr. Kennedy, Myself, and my friend Emma.
We had an audience of over 300 people. We were not expecting that many, and definately not prepared.
Due to a lack of chairs, there were people standing against the walls and laying on the floor.
We had 17+ sponsors including Dairy Queen (free dilly bars...)

Anyhow the event was a big deal and got Emma and I the "Mayors Youth Commendation Award" and "Human rights Activist Award", a Fox News story, a lot of news paper clippings, etc...
But quite frankly, those things didn't affect me.
i mean i'm grateful and proud of my accomplishments,
but what really changed me,
was watching peoples reaction when they learned of this tragedy.
not that i'm a big fan of horrifying people but with this topic, there's no other way to make a point.
Just seeing their faces when they were watching the movie, seeing real film and photos of whats happening in Darfur.
Hearing versus seeing makes all the difference.
I'll admit, it did it for me too.

the audience came into the gathering with ignorance and curiosity. They left with shock and concern.
They way that i have felt for years.
I'm shocked that the US is doing NOTHING to help.
After the Holocaust we as a nation pledged,
"Never Again"
meaning never again would we let a fellow country be shattered and taken advantage of, without our interruption to help.
to bring peace and fight for the innocent.
I don't want another war but there HAS to be something that we can do.
There has to.
I'm concerned with these peoples well being.
Women and children are being raped, trafficked, tortured, killed
Men are being murdered, burned alive, crucified, hacked, slaughtered
Their villages are being trampled, burned, bombed
Their lives are being stolen
and their hope is deteriorating as fast as their bodies.
Refugees are fleeing to Chad.
it has been predicted that the genocide is soon to spread there as well.

***So what i ask of you who read this, is for your opinions.
reply/post a comment on:
-any thoughts
-what you think of the genocide
-what you have done to help
-what you want to do to help
-words of advice
-anything..... i just want to hear people speak up.