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:
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.
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: Students Taking Action Now- Darfur (a student anti-genocide coalition)
Genocide Intervention Network (press releases and reports)
USA Today – CNN Initiative helps to get the most difficult news out of Africa
By Peter Johnson 10/04/06