17 June 2009

Darfuris Still Waiting

While I truly appreciate the collection of plates that our government has spinning at the moment, I am compelled to offer another plea for assistance and a concrete plan for peace for the people of Darfur.

The heinous Sudanese President Bashir remains free and has continued to persecute the citizens of this region – with no “fault” beyond being black and Christian - including expelling multiple aid organizations that have been the only source of relief and hope to this area’s millions of refugees.

I vividly remember watching the Sudanese delegation at the United Nations meeting in which President Bush declared that the actions of Sudan’s government and their janjaweed hitmen would not be tolerated. They laughed at him, at us, at the international community, at the idea that anybody could or would do anything to stop the atrocities they had already been committing for several years. No small feat, a warrant was finally issued for Bashir's arrest months ago, an invitation for intervention by the global community like none before. Still, no action has been taken, and in fact, the situation has only deteriorated further.

Make no mistake, I am no less deeply concerned about the plethora of domestic issues plaguing our country. But I believe in my heart that every second that we allow the continuance of the humanitarian crimes in Sudan (as crimes they are), we give up so much of ourselves, and so much of what we claim to have learned from our collective international genocidal history, that all measures to save ourselves will ultimately be irrelevant and pointless.

It is long past time to stop this. We are running out of time, not only to help these people, but to seize this one of a long list of opportunities (the Holocaust, Bosnia, Rwanda, etc.) to change our pattern: letting it happen, condemning it afterward, and swearing, “Never again.” We are running out of time to say, as a nation, “Not on our watch,” and mean it.