Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Once Again, Never Again 


Does the mere clasp of eyes on that word produce a small, involuntary groan? I completely understand if it does. Doesn't it sometimes feel as though that word and that horror will always be with us, until there are simply no more human beings left there to worry about?

Rwanda was an international crises on steroids; a complicated political situation disguising a long-simmering ethnic conflict which right before our eyes bulked up at super-human speed into an massive genocide, carried out not by a secretive ministry of death as in the Soviet Union, or Nazi Germany, carried out by ordinary people against their neighbors, a collective madness that took mere weeks to rack up a killing score in the hundreds of thousands, and leave behind a landscape of corpses to decay in heaps where they'd been slaughtered.

Darfur seems almost an opposite phenomenon - an immense human catastrophe, a million plus people driven by violent means from their homes and land, and thus deprived of any ability to live a normal life, unable to provide for themselves the most basic necessities required to survive, an on-going humanitarian crises that almost seems to be happening in slow motion.

For all the talk that we can't let this happen, not again, among ordinary citizens like those of us who read and write blogs, at the UN, by NGOs, by reporters and by heads of state, the tragedy continues to unfold, the most vulnerable humans, old people, children continue to die, mothers, fathers, whole families are under threat both of famine and of all the diseases that come with huge numbers of refugees living in make-shift camps, without adequate sanitary facilities, without potable water.

A new blog "Coalition for Darfur" is not content to let any of us just sit and watch. Here's how the two founders of the blog explain its purpose:
A Southern conservative and a Northern liberal have teamed up to raise awareness about the genocide in Darfur, Sudan and money for a worthy organization doing vital work there: Save the Children.

Drawn together by their love/hate relationship with federal judicial nominee William Pryor (Feddie of Southern Appeal loves him, Eugene Oregon of Demagogue hates him) the two have found common ground on the issue of Sudan.

For nearly two years, the government of Sudan and Arab militias known as the Janjaweed have rampaged through Darfur, raping women, killing thousands, destroying hundreds of villages as well as the agricultural economy and displacing more than 2 million people. Hundreds of thousands of people are in dire need of food, shelter, and medical care, but a lack of security is making it nearly impossible for international organizations to reach those most in need.
In addition to raising money for "Save The Children" it is the purpose of the Coalition to try and harness both political halves of the blogisphere to keep the reality of what is happening to the people of Darfur front and center in the conscience of all of us, to focus on the needs of the refugees, and to keep that focus until that hard political work is done that will allow to return to their homes and reclaim their land.

Corrente is priviledged to be part of the coalition. At least once a week we will be offering either a link to or publishing at Corrente a post from the Coalition For Darfur website, and we'll soon be adding a link to the blog in our sidebar. For now, you can find the blog by clicking here, and this week's post by clicking here.

Please make the small journey from here to there, and while you're there, please consider making a small contribution to Save The Children. If enough people would give $10 a month, that would feed and care for a lot of people who have no way right now to fend for themselves.

In the lamentable literature of mass disaster, there is one overwhelming theme that occurs over and over again - the need for those to whom the disaster is happening to have some sense that the world is paying attention to their agony, and that the world cares. To know that, to feel it, gives to victims an expanded sense of their own humanity, a sense that they are still part of the world. We owe it to the people of Darfur to know what is happening to them, and to care.

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