Of all the incompetencies and failures of the Bush Administration, I think the failure to act on behalf of the people of Darfur is the biggest and most negligent of all. It’s depraved indifference at it’s best (or worst).
The Geneva Convention states once the American government declares a situation a genocide it is duty-bound to act. And yet, the Bush Administration has done nothing. Oh yes, President Bush has made a few speeches condemning the actions of the Sudanese government but nothing more. We all know that making a speech doesn’t take the machetes and machine guns out of the hands of the Janjaweed as they systematically torture, rape, hack down, and burn villages, some as large as 20,000 people, to the ground.
America is not just a country, a geographical space on a map. It is an idea. It is an ideal. It’s time to ask ourselves who we want to be as a people. The Darfurians regard America as their last hope. And yet we have sat by and down nothing. Where are the nightly news reports about the genocide in Darfur? Why isn’t this front page news? How can we sit by and do nothing while we condemn the Germans who sat by and did nothing while the Nazis eliminated the Jews?
Since 2003, Sudan’s Arab government and its Janjaweed militias have been destroying villages and displacing, raping, torturing, and killing Darfur’s black African citizens. Experts estimate as many as 450,000 PEOPLE, human beings, have been brutally murdered (the most common way has been to hack them to death with machetes or burn them alive), and 3 million people are displaced and living in refugee camps that lack water, food, shelter, while they depend on humanitarian aid. These people are not soldiers. They are ordinary citizens of a country that has betrayed them. They are men and women, children, and babies.
As soon as I learned of the genocide, I joined Save Darfur and receive regular e-mails from them. In the few years since, it seems like nothing has changed. I have written numerous letters to my elected officials, I’ve donated money, I written papers and done presentations in class about Darfur, and yet nothing changes. I don’t ever want my children to look at me in the future and ask me why I didn’t do anything to stop what was going on. I feel like I’ve done everything, short of leaving my family and volunteering with the aid workers, that an ordinary American citizen can do.
My recommendation is that every should see the movie “The Devil Came on Horseback” and visit the websites http://www.savedarfur.org/ and http://www.globalgrassroots.org/.