Monday, April 04, 2005


This isn't about federal Indian policy, so shut up already. A very dear friend of mine has become deeply involved in trying to generate much needed publicity and increase public awareness of the crimes of genocide occurring in the Darfur region of the Sudan. The word genocide is being carefully avoided by the United Nations, mostly because the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide obliges signatory nations to intervene once a determination has been made that genocide is taking place. It's much more convenient to look the other way and send flowers and a deeply sympathetic card to the funeral than get involved.

Since approximately the moment this country was founded there has been ongoing consideration of the extent to which the citizens of a democracy are responsible for the actions of its government. Our track record on intervention in Africa in cases of genocide has been less than sterling, and I believe things like this weigh us down as a people. As a nation we are at best rather indifferent to the terrible events taking place in the Sudan; to a certain extent the media has been severely lacking in its coverage, but they are market driven creatures, and we are the market. I believe it says something deeply disturbing about us when a google news search for "Darfur" turns up five thousand refererences, while a search for "Schiavo" whips up eighty-five thousand. We're interested to the point of obsession with the death (and associated politics thereof) of a single woman, while the deaths of 300,000 have gone largely unnoticed.

So, where do we go? Start with the Save Darfur website. They have a ton of information for us to educate ourselves on the tragedy in Darfur. Look at the Take Action Now section, with numerous ways people can get involved locally; handing out flyers and wristbands, contacting your congressmen--they even have sample letters--not to mention the easy way out; donating money. Couldn't be easier, you just need to do it. Go!