An article in today, September 6th’s Wall Street Journal, written by Mia Farrow and Eric Reeves makes me feel like getting up and do something beyond my usual comfort zone. Since I read this article this afternoon, I sat on my couch and stared at the TV all afternoon and evening, not really watching anything, but just sat there, with occasional tears rolling down my cheeks and my heart pounding fast; angry, very angry.
I don’t know what to do, I am just me, Simon, I am nobody, and I have no power to do anything relevant in order to help, right? But this article makes me furious, like I need to do something, but what can I really do, I am no body, right?
Okay, let’s rewind back a little, to the beginning of how it all started.
Today is Saturday, September 6, 2008; actually, it’s now 12:56 AM EST as I’m writing this, so it is Sunday, September 7, 2008. But I can still say it’s Saturday because I haven’t been to sleep yet.
Today, since I woke up this morning, has been a very quiet day. The last few days, I’ve been suffering from a severe sinus, it’s a seasonal thing for me, and this year, I have had it since February, so I am kind of used to the constant sneezing, running nose, and itchy eyes.
Last night I slept okay, but yesterday night my nose just didn’t let me go to sleep. I took some Benadryl, as usual, but it just didn’t seem to work. I have prescription pills that I need to go pick up when I get a chance. But last night I didn’t take anything, but I woke up feeling better, in fact, I feel like I am completely well and never had this sinus thing. So, I should be happy and go out and have some fun, it is summer, so maybe I should have gone to see my school’s football team beating Ohio University.
But, no. Since I read this article this afternoon, I’ve just been feeling different. I’ve been quiet all day. When I woke up, I watched cartoon, it’s Saturday, and yes, I still watch my Saturday cartoons. Then I went to do some work on my two current projects, but that was just for a few hours, so then I came back home at around 3:00 PM, and watched six seeded Murray beating number one seeded Nadal in the US Open. When the game stopped because of the rain, I started reading my Wall Street Journal paper. I browsed through, read a few articles, but one specific article caught my attention, no, it distracted my mind.
For the past five years, since 2003, I think that’s how far it goes back; I’ve been following the crisis in Darfur. I’ve been sitting on my behind, just watching it rarely on the TV news and reading about it in newspapers, but I haven’t done anything. In the US, you can’t really follow what’s really happening in Darfur by watching it on the news because they barely say anything about the Darfur crisis in any of the US TV networks. But, many people around the world have rallied for Darfur, George Clooney, Mia Farrow, and many other celebrities have voiced their concerns about the Darfur crisis, but I just sat on my behind and did nothing.
But what can I do? I am just me, nobody Simon. I am now studying Economics at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. I have never served in the military or in law enforcement or in any real life-saving organization, anywhere. My entire life, with the exception of living and surviving the South African Apartheid as kid, has been nothing real significant.
I have never done anything out of the box to help anybody. Even what I thought I did to help some may not have actually helped anybody as I thought, but more like may be hurting them than actually helping. I tried in the late 90’s to start an organization, hoping to help some students, but that was too stupid, all though its purpose was for a good cause and have helped some, and even though I have been helping some students since I was eleven, I just didn’t know and had no experience in doing anything of that nature, so you can basically say, the business model was lousy.
Thus, like some people, I basically have been living within my comfort zone. Unlike the people of Darfur who are constantly living in fear and starving. So, being me, nobody important, what can I really do to help, right? You’ve got to read this article to understand why I feel this way.
I am certain you know everything about the Darfur Crisis and Genocide, so there is no need for me to try to elaborate where Darfur is and what’s happening there since 2003. But one thing I want to retaliate is that for over six years now, I stand for correction, Darfur has been ravaged by civil war. Millions of people have perished in genocide. If you don’t know what Darfur is, please go to Yahoo and search for Darfur.
To paraphrase, this article states how early in the morning of August 25th, before foreign humanitarian aid workers come to work at Kalma Camp, a refugee camp of 90,000 displaced Darfuris, was surrounded by heavily armed Sudanese government military vehicles and its Janjaweed thugs, hastily armed with sticks, spears, and knives. And by the time they were finished, a score of mostly women and children were dead and over 100 wounded.
This article further states that; “Since 2003, 80% – 90% of Darfuris African villages have been destroyed; over 2.5 million survivors have fled to squalid camps across Darfur, eastern Chad and the Central African Republic”. While that’s going on, the world power is quiet, they talk but nobody is doing anything to stop all of that. The world community has attempted to bring the Darfur case to the UN Security Council, but China who has interest in Sudan and is one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council nations with veto power, apparently threatened to veto the UN Darfur resolution over oil sanctions.
Last month, Russia was accused of invading South Ossetia, Georgia, and as soon as that happened, the world power started barking at Russia. Condi Rice ran to her European allies trying to rally their support in order to punish Russia for invading Georgia. And today, Cheney is in Ukraine, he left Georgia yesterday, where he went to visit and bring them over $1 billion dollar in aid. In another article, The Wall Street Journal reports yesterday that as Cheney spoke, warning the Ukraine about the Russian aggression, “the USS Mount Whitney was boldly anchored off nearby Georgia, at the port of Poti, a city still partly occupied by Russian troops, after last month’s conflict. The ship was delivering humanitarian supplies, including blankets and powdered milk”.
Well, like Iraq, Georgia has oil and natural gas while Darfur doesn’t have the oil that the word power needs, unlike China. Therefore the lives of the people of Georgia and Iraq, even those of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnian War) are more valuable to defend than the lives of the people of Darfur. Just like the millions of lost lives of the people of Congo (African World War), where since 1998 to 2003 leading to the ripple effect and aftermath, over 5.4 million people died mostly from disease and starvation, making the Second Congo War the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II (Wikipedia.org), while the world power stood back and watched.
In Liberia, hundreds if not thousands of lives were lost during the Richard Taylor’s brutal regime, and again the world stood and watch. The world power doesn’t immediately make any move if something like that is happening in Africa. But if it happens elsewhere, then Rice and Cheney are immediately dispatched to seek and bring aid. Well, let me not say so fast, we’ve seen how the world power has responded to the Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans about three years ago. And Haiti is always in turmoil, but what does Haiti have that the world power needs in order to help them? It seems more like as long as there’s dark skin, then the world power is slow to respond. But if it happens elsewhere in other parts of the world like in Europe (Bosnia or Georgia), Asia or the Middle East, then the world power is there instantly with billions of dollars in aid and its military mighty on standby, ready to move in if else fail.
In Africa, we let Africans handle their own crisis. We let the most powerless and ill-equipped African Union (AU) forces try to tackle the crisis. We let the UN and AU troops from the neighboring states, whose troops might be of the same tribe, and or speak the same language and who look like the very same people in the region that they are trying to help. And we have seen that happening over and over, from Liberia, the UN troops from Cameroon or Ivory Coast and neighbors trying to tackle the Liberian crisis, to Congo with UN troops from Nigeria, Namibia, and other states, and now Darfur, and we all know that, it just never works. You just can’t do that, you can’t send and expect the UN or poorly equipped AU troops from Kenya, Uganda, Chad even Nigeria to tackle and stop the crisis in Darfur alone.
For one, they may be speaking the same language, and that makes them even more ineffective. And two, the neighboring states usually have cooperative ally and friendship, so common sense, you can’t expect the UN or AU troops from across the border to topple their neighboring head of state even though they know that that elephant is doing some inhumane to its people. So, they simply stroll, sit back and watch while things like the genocide go on. And then, when the world power makes its move after many months or years, then many lives of helpless and innocent civilians have already perished.
Taking one to The Hague to answer for his or her act of inhumane is commendable, but that’s just too late and too little. Why can’t the world, over 4.7 billion people on earth, not counting China’s 1.3 billion people, why can’t we, the able and capable, do anything to stop the government of Sudan and its proxy, Janjaweed. Why can’t we do something, not just talking and matching, but actually order some mighty military ships and planes and for once and all topple the Sudan government. Screw the UN Security Council, they are not doing anything. Why do we need to have the UN Security Council pass a Darfur Resolution so we can stop the Darfur war?
We didn’t wait for the UN Weapons Inspectors to finish their job in Iraq before we toppled Saddam. So, why do we need the UN Security Council or the world to pass laws in order to stop the Sudanese government now? Even if China threatens to veto it, the world power didn’t wait for Russia to approve the toppling of Saddam Hussein. And if my mind serves me well, either Germany was not a go for toppling Saddam, but the world power didn’t wait for their stamp of approval either. So, why are we waiting now for some government to approve to topple Sudanese’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir?
I am very angry but don’t know what to do, there’s nothing I can really do., right? The article that infuriates me is titled; “Now Sudan Is Attacking Refugees Camps”, by Actress and Activist Mia Farrow and Eric Reeves, published on page A9, in the Opinion section of The Wall Street Journal of Saturday, September 6, 2008. If you can, please find it and read it. Go to your local library and look it up or go to WSJ.com and search for it. Oh, I found its link here.
There are nearly 3 billion of us, who are able and capable, on this planet, and can we really just let this go on in Darfur without actually doing anything? If each one of us, keep telling ourselves that we can’t do anything, like myself, then this will keep going on for another 10 years. A few hundred kids will be born in Darfur, if there are still women left there capable of nurturing babies, and will eventually die sooner without ever knowing anything better in life other than seeing what’s going on now, and every day.
I want to hear from anyone, anybody, out there with an idea of what to do to really help put an end to this. May be we can share some ideas and together take a concrete step. If all of us, 3 billion of us try, we may be able to do something, but if we don’t try, then this will go on forever.
I don’t foresee anybody else really trying to help other than those who have been speaking out already and doing what they can. Even the current US presidential candidates, both McCain and Obama, rarely mention Darfur in their campaign. And even if one of them take the Office in January 2009, he will have a tantamount of problems to tackle, the mounting $482 billion budget deficit, fixing the economy, healthcare, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the war on terror, and many other important issues that they will have to handle.
So, honestly, just like the current president, Bush, Cheney and Rice, Darfur might be the last thing in the next president’s mind.
So, please contact me, all of you, let’s talk, let’s put our mind together and then present it to the world, and see if we can put an end to this. Just think, what would you do if that were you or your family members?