Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sleepless in Sudan


The international community must bear its share of responsibility for this tragedy. All over the world there were people like me sitting in offices who did not fully appreciate the depth and the speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror. Genocide can occur anywhere. It is not an African phenomenon. We must have global vigilance. And never again must we be shy in the face of the evidence.—
President Bill Clinton, March 25, 1998, in Kigali, Rwanda

I put off watching Hotel Rwanda as long as I could. But finally, last Friday night, with a lousy selection at Blockbuster, and I could no longer look away. All through the film, I kept thinking, I wonder who’s going to make Hotel Darfur?

Someone already has: Human Rights Watch, in partnership with the non-profit video advocacy group Witness , has a couple which you can watch on their website. And now there’s a blog, by an anonymous aid worker, that sheds a powerful light on the genocide in Darfur: Sleepless in Sudan.

Sleepless in Sudan's Anonymous writes things like: “More than two years have passed since Darfur's rebel groups first began fighting, and government troops and Janjaweed militia responded by fiercely attacking villages and civilians—but the scenes of horror continue in many parts of Darfur. In Gereida/Tulus locality, dozens of villages have been destroyed and burnt to the ground over the past two weeks, with the desperate survivors fleeing to the safety of the camps. The UN has now reported more than 10,000 new arrivals in the Gereida area and - with daily reports of new attacks still flooding in - this number could well rise. Not only is it acutely disturbing to hear locals tell you that 50, 60 or 70 people have been killed today - there are also concerns that the insecurity is still preventing humanitarian agencies from assisting victims with food, water and shelter. Two-thirds of South Darfur are still considered too unsafe for travel and it's scary to think what the situation is like in the parts we are not reaching.”

It’s the first Sunday of Advent, and in Mark’s gospel for today, Jesus says: “Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

Mark, written amidst the Jewish insurgency against Rome between 66-70 C.E., warns us: things may be bad, and they are likely to get worse. Pay attention. Whatever you do, for the love of God, don’t fall asleep.

Pay attention to what? To hunger. To thirst. To naked strangers. To prisoners. To genocide.

But, here we go again. Nodding off again. We said we learned from the Holocaust. We said we learned from Cambodia. We said we learned from Rwanda. We learned all right. We learned how to sleep right through the horror, dreaming of democracy. We learned how to say” Never again,” while letting it happen again.

Darfur is our responsibility. We have must demand action, from our government and from the governments of the rest of the world.

It’s time to wake up.

1 comment:

sasfdasfdljkfksdjkfjsd said...

words of wisdom, but it seems so much easier to just donate to the charities than to get the beauracrats to do something, if we wait for them it'll take too long

surfed in from funkybug's blog because of another post of yours I really liked.