Tag Archives: genocide

Whose giving thanks?

I usually wait till after the holiday passes before I go into a critical assessment of the festivities. I figured this year would be a good chance to try and encourage folks to consider things before the holiday rolls around.
I’ll start by saying that I plan on driving home and spending time and eating a big meal with my family on Thursday. Whether that’s mainly because of the convenience of us all having that time off, or because of our devout acknowledgement of the historical events is up for debate.

I guess when I think about the historical implications of a holiday like Thanksgiving I’m much more disturbed then I am thankful for it. The idea of the pilgrims and native people of this land sitting down together in peace and sharing a meal is a beautiful and wonderful thing, I just worry it ignores so much more of the history.
You see if my history book is correct (they must have torn out this section in my middle school), the atrocities of that time far out weigh any peaceful meal together. Massacares, forced removal, slavery, genocide, stolen land; this is the overwhelming story of the “settling” of this land. Stolen land. Stolen land.

To this day we live on stolen land. Thanksgiving is a difficult holiday for me, because I think it’s celebration without regard for the terrible injustices, is one of the deep wounds of our society that has never healed. You live on stolen land.

I know for me sitting at my family’s table on Thursday, I won’t be able to solve the problem, or right the wrong of the land. I can however acknowledge, and I can be diligent in thinking of ways to return, to make amends, to right wrongs.

I live on stolen land.

Quoted in a published article

I’m famous or something, Sam asked me some questions and quoted me in an article he recently wrote at Ethics Daily entitled, Genocide for the Digital World:

Ariah Fine, a socially aware Christian who works with teenagers in Nashville, finds the game very unique. “The target audience of the gaming community is another big step in raising awareness to an audience that might not have otherwise heard about Darfur,” he says. “I work with high school students and they aren’t constantly checking BBC news for the latest humanitarian crisis, but they are playing plenty of games online. This project helps them hear about the issues in Darfur.”

Even though the game is packed with facts and stories in the small print, the die-hard gamer may not stop to read them all while playing. But, the simple fact that the game exists, coupled with MTV’s backing, is a conversation started in itself.

Says Fine: “A game like this is a great ice breaker and tool for bringing up the conversation with a group that might not otherwise care or know about the issues in Darfur.”

Read the rest of the article.

Maybe we are just pleasing ourselves…

I’ve been really bothered about something for the past week or so. The genocide in Darfur has been on my mind a bit lately, ever since the rally that happened last Sunday in New York. I’ve been thinking about the fact that for the last two years, I along with thousands of others have been “taking action” against the Genocide. We’ve blogged, written letters, rallied, met with congress people, bought wristbands, sent money, and a whole bunch of other things, from the comfort of our desk chair, coffee shop or school library.
We’ve declared, “Not on Our Watch,” and yet three years have gone by, hundreds of thousands have died, millions have been displaced, and I still sit in my comfy living room choosing which news article to link to or picture to post in my latest advocacy.

I think all our words are empty, because they are not stopping this horrible evil we seem to say we want stopped. I’m beginning to think maybe we are just interested in causes to the degree that they benefit us, usually through intrinsic, ‘I feel good about myself’ kind of ways.

I say this with the acknowledgement that I am far from willing to take this step…
We need to go to Darfur and stand in those places. We need to stop blogging and rallying and asking a government that isn’t listening to us, and we need to go take action into our own hands. I’m not talking about fighting, I’m talking about going and stopping it.

Imagine hundreds of planes full of people that decided to put their money were their mouth is, flying to Sudan, walking into the borders and declaring that they have come to spread peace, and that they could not stand idly by and let injustice come, that they would stand in the place, and if necessary take the beating, punishment, death upon themselves, rather then see others die.
There is an army of people who say they want to help stop the genocide. When will we decide we aren’t stopping it and that we need to find another course of action? When will we be willing to stand in and go to stop it ourselves, not through violence, but through creative non-violence.

Who shall go?

Save Darfur

Thanks to your efforts and the efforts of many others working to create a lasting peace in Darfur, I am pleased to report we have seen significant progress in recent weeks.

On May 5, the Sudanese government and Darfur’s largest rebel faction signed the Darfur Peace Agreement, laying out a plan to end three years of violence and raising hopes for a lasting peace in Darfur. There is a much more to do, however, before that hope is realized.

In the next two weeks, the Sudanese government and the two remaining rebel factions must come to terms in order to ensure a strong building block for a lasting peace. With or without additional signers, it is imperative that the parties live up to their commitments to end the genocide and rebuild Darfur.

Another significant step forward was taken just yesterday, as the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution demanding strict observance of the peace agreement, and calling for a quick transition from the current African Union peacekeeping force to a stronger UN force. Prior to the signing of the peace agreement, Sudanese President Bashir opposed a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur by saying that there was no peace to keep. With this peace agreement, however, that argument has been rendered moot.

Soon there will be a joint UN-African Union assessment mission dispatched to Darfur to assess the situation. Following their return, the stage will be set for UN Security Council consideration of a second resolution to actually authorize the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force.

These are real, substantive steps forward, and you helped make them happen.

In fact, just one day after over 50,000 rallied on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and thousands more rallied at events across the country, President Bush dispatched Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick to the peace talks to make sure that an agreement was reached.

Upon his return, Deputy Secretary Zoellick personally called the Save Darfur Coalition to express his thanks for the level of U.S. activism which helped make the peace deal possible. In an interview last week, he said that “of all I’ve dealt with in foreign policy over some 20 years that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen as much broad support from churches, from communities and universities.”

Your collective voices have helped accomplish amazing results thus far!

But much more still remains to be done. Work at the UN is far from over, funding for humanitarian aid and peacekeeping falls short and puts millions of lives at risk. And above all, the people of Darfur still must contend with the dual threats of violence and starvation every day.

As we continue the fight, there will be many more opportunities for you take action and help make a difference.

Best regards,

David Rubenstein
Save Darfur Coalition

More at Savedarfur.org

From concern to apathy, or maybe I just forgot

It was only a few months ago that I was an outspoken advocate on addressing the crisis in Darfur. The situation was even newsworthy, carrying stories of Powell calling it a genocide and other information about what was occuring. I helped organize a group to speak to a senator, encouraged people to write letters, send emails and more. I wrote an article for Relevant about Darfur and then I forgot.
It’s easy to forget when you don’t see the pictures and hear the stories on TV or in the Newspaper. It’s easy to forget when you stop reading the emails with “Darfur” in the title (cause you can already guess what they’re about).
It’s easy to forget because the dead bodies, the mutilated people, the raped women, the displaced refugees; none of them are in my way on my bike ride to work. They don’t pass me in the grocery store and they haven’t called me on the telephone.
I saw one of them today, and I didn’t know what to say. A small child just looking at me. “um, I… I forgot.” That’s all I could think of saying it humbles me like nothing else. Enough of me feeling important, feeling like I’m doing good things, living a good life, suddenly I don’t feel so good about what I spend most of my time doing.

Let’s get concerned again, and let’s continue to speak. My voice is not hoarse from crying out too much, I’m rested enough to stand and raise my voice on behalf of those who cannot.
Let your leaders know that you know about your brothers and sisters that are being killed in Darfur. Send them a card. And get more letters for your friends, family, and church members to sign as well.