Thursday, October 05, 2006

U.S.A.: Students STAND UP for DarfurFast Day

I was telling my fellow blog author buddy Jörg Wolf of the Atlantic Review that I intend to increase my focus on the Darfur crisis & Sudan here at Jewels in the Jungle this month. Jörg has been making a great effort over at his blog to share his own views on Darfur as a European (German) and to stimulate a transatlantic dialogue over the crisis amongst his many readers.

There are more than 32,000 blog posts about Darfur in this Technorati search result (tags) and more than 20,000 posts about Darfur in this Blogpulse search result, many of them coming from international blog authors too numerous to mention here. I want to thank all the new global visitors who have left comments to my Darfur posts and I apologize for not being able to spend more time at your blogs lately to read some of your very fine posts. I recommend that my readers check the comments to my most recent Darfur posts and click through to these international blog authors who have graced this site.

One new global blogger that has caught my attention lately is Drima, a Sudanese student studying at university in Malaysia and author of the Sudanese Thinker. In Drima’s own words he is…”Born where the White & Blue Nile meet aka Khartoum, Sudan. Currently a full-time student and a part-time multi genre music producer, aspiring entrepreneur and blogtivist in the tiny multi cultural island nation of Poopa Majoma...”. Drima’s blog is quite good with lots of links to news and opinions about the crisis in Darfur and Sudan in general as well as general news about the Middle East and global issues. In a recent post titled Ex-US Officials Urge Military Action Over Darfur I made mention of the STAND DarfurFast campaign that is taking place in the U.S.A. on October 5th.

Unfortunately, Drima felt that I was “rubbing it in his face” re: the reaction of high school and university students and the general public in the United States to the Darfur Crisis vs. Malaysia and the rest of the world, but that wasn’t my point. Jörg and I have been having an intense (private) dialogue about the same thing re: European university students and the lack of media coverage and public outrage here in Europe. “Where is the rest of the world on Darfur?”
So, this was meant to be a brief Heads Up post on the DarfurFast campaign that is taking place on university campuses and in high school auditoriums across America today, and I will keep it brief.

Another Heads Up event this week that focuses on Sudan, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of Congo is the CNN special report on Anderson Cooper 360°. The CNN documentary news production is titled The Killing Fields: Africa’s Misery, The World’s Shame. With some luck I hope to have more information published tomorrow about this series from the award-winning production team at Anderson Cooper 360°. CNN correspondents Jeff Koinange, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Anderson Cooper are spread out from the DRC to the Horn of Africa and are maintaining a blog with video clips for online visitors and viewers. Here is a link to Jeff Koinange’s post about a ride with the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) forces on their way to rescue stranded refugees in North Darfur: Outgunned soldiers avoid confronting the enemy – Oct 03, 2006.

The Anderson Cooper 360° special will be airing in Europe again on Friday at 0400 CET, other regions of the world should check your local CNNI program schedule. CNN Insight has a related feature report tonight airing at 2000 CET and titled Living in Africa’s Refugee Camps, hosted by Jonathan Mann. All I have to say about that prime time program airing schedule of 4:00 AM in the morning is “Thank GOD for the Internet!”.

Below is an excerpt from an October 4th article at the Christian Science Monitor online that highlights the work of the organization STAND:

Student activists rise again - this time for Darfur
By Matthew Clark Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

She sleeps less, goes out less, and has reduced her course load to work 30 to 40 hours a week organizing student campaigns. Her goal: to end the suffering in Darfur, Sudan, perhaps the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

"If people are still dying, I need to keep working," says Bailey Cato, a University of Oklahoma senior and a regional coordinator for a student antigenocide coalition called STAND. And tomorrow she'll be fasting - along with Don Cheadle, Hollywood star of "Hotel Rwanda," and other celebrities and politicians in a show of solidarity with the people of Darfur.

Student fasts are nothing new, of course. But the Darfur crisis has caught on with American activists in a way not seen since the anti-apartheid movement of the 1980s and early '90s. And the big surprise is: They're achieving results.

In the past month alone:

• The US appointed a special envoy to Darfur, bowing to pressure after an international day of protests - including a rally of some 30,000 in New York's Central Park.

• California passed legislation to stop investing in companies supporting the Sudan regime - the fifth state to do so. More than two dozen colleges and universities are also in the process of divesting.

"The grass-roots people have really kept the issue alive and forced the hand of the governments," says Alex de Waal, a fellow of the Global Equity Initiative at Harvard University, who has been advising the African Union on Darfur. He says the UN Security Council's decision in March 2005 to refer Darfur war crimes cases to the International Criminal Court and the US move two years ago to label the conflict "genocide" would not have happened without advocates' pressure.

That pressure is building. Yesterday, student musicians from Berklee School of Music in Boston released a CD dedicated to the women of Darfur. Proceeds will benefit aid programs there run by Mercy Corps, an international humanitarian group. Last week, a coalition of Cincinnati-area religious, civic, and student groups held "Five Days for Darfur," a series of awareness-raising events.

The CSM article goes on to say:
Activists' priority: UN peacekeepers

As the situation has worsened, activists have pushed for change. Most advocates want UN peacekeepers sent to Darfur.

"I think [grass-roots efforts] have made [Darfur] almost a top-tier issue for the Bush administration," says John Prendergast, a senior adviser of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group. "There's no question [President] Bush feels political pressure to respond."

Mr. Bush said Monday the UN should send peacekeepers without delay.

One reason the Darfur movement has succeeded - where many similar international efforts have failed - is the US move to label the crisis genocide. "The comparison of Darfur to [the 1994 genocide in] Rwanda is what has been most potent here," says Eric Reeves, a Darfur analyst and Smith College professor.

While appearances by celebrities like George Clooney have been crucial, grass-roots efforts have made the difference - especially those of young people, he adds. "A lot of students now really only know Rwanda as historical event, and there is a resolve that this will not happen on their watch.... You have to go back to apartheid-era South Africa to find [a movement] this powerful for an issue that doesn't involve US blood or treasure.

"STAND, the student antigenocide group, is an example. Since April, it has grown from seven to 55 chapters. When Ms. Cato brought Paul Rusesabagina, the Rwandan whose story inspired the movie "Hotel Rwanda," to her campus last Wednesday, he packed the 750-seat auditorium with an overflow audience of at least 1,200 people. "We're young, idealistic, and we're horrified that genocide can go on in this world," Cato explains. (read more at CSM online)

Additional online resources

Time to Protect homepage (see regional blogs, videos, and other resources)

STAND: Students Taking Action Now- Darfur (a student anti-genocide coalition)


imnakoya said...

Where are the African students? Where is the African media? Less than 40% of Africans on the continent knows what is going on in Darfur! Thanks for amplifying the voices against the Khartoum regime!

Jay McGinley said...

Bless you for your concern for Darfur. And yes, Mr. Wolf's site is quite a blessing.
Several of us have decided to begin a RESCUE DARFUR FAST. One of us began 5 days ago, and several others today. Links below for the details.
Nothing less than a worldwide fast-until-the-genocide-stops will be enough to stop it.
Nothing less will be a sufficient moral response.
Nothing less will preserve our humanity, yours and mine.
Please consider linking (below) to increase the visibility of this effort.
Jay McGinley
Day 134 Darfur Vigil at White House; Day 68 Rescue Darfur Fast (since July 4, 2006)
DARFUR Dying for Heroes (you would find this a helpful resource)
Stand With Darfur-White House II
Please consider linking here to increase the visibility of this effort.

Laura Burke - Homer Glen Specialist said...

Thank you for providing this information.

Andreas Kiaby said...

Hi Jewel In The Jungle,

Thanks for an informing post!

Here in Oslo, Norway focus is increasing daily, and we have almost weekly seminar and the sorts where Darfur is mentioned. Now we just need to pump up the activism.

I just went on a panel today with some politicians - a panel discussion set up in connection with the showing of "Shooting Dogs", a film about the Rwandan Genocide.

Andreas - The Oslo Blog (

Black River Eagle said...

Thanks for the update from Norway Andreas. It is good that the general population up North and the political leaders are putting their heads together on finding solutions to the crisis in Sudan.

I read an article yesterday about a meeting of EU ministers in Luxembourg that shows that the EU's position is still very weak on supporting sanctions against the Sudanese government and the support of UN Resolution 1706. The ministers have called for more dialogue with Sudan on UN troops going in to rescue people.

Some key EU countries are much more interested in protecting their business investments and interests in Sudan than protecting the civilians of Darfur.

If I remember correctly, the people of Norway have NOT joined the EU yet. Seeing how slow and un-united the EU/EC operates on emergencies and crisis around the world, I can understand why the Norwegians want to remain independent of Brussels and Strassbourg.

BTW: You can call me Bill or BRE or Black River Eagle. "Jewels" is the name of my blog.