i-ACT in the news

It was a busy day yesterday! Gabriel, Connie and Yuen-Lin arrived home safely in time to watch i-ACT featured on San Francisco’s local ABC news last night (video and news article), as well had their question to the candidates answered in the CNN/YouTube presidential debate!

Please read article, by John Morlino: President Bush: Imagine Yourself as a Man in Darfur

President Bush: Imagine yourself as a man in Darfur,
by John Morlino

Dear President Bush:

Shortly after taking office, you vowed not to allow another “Rwanda” to take place during your term. Later, when the systematic annihilation of a people began in Darfur, you were the first world leader to call it by its rightful name: genocide. Yet, today, half a million defenseless civilians have been killed in western Sudan as a result of attacks orchestrated by their own government. Moreover, four million more face the prospect of death from starvation, disease and further assaults.

Much to my dismay, you, as well as many of those reporting on the carnage, continue to express optimism over announcements of various cease-fire and peace agreements. This, despite the fact that the Sudanese military and their proxy militias routinely follow each of these “breakthroughs” by stepping up their level of violence. And while the general public is gradually becoming aware of the perverse reality that the architects of this mass murder continue to have veto power over the deployment of a powerful protection force to the region, you have been less than forthcoming about the reasons behind this arrangement.

Perhaps, if the White House press corps and the mainstream media highlighted the quid pro quo between you and Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir: his sharing of intelligence information with you for your “war on terror,” in exchange for your protecting his sovereign right to commit crimes against humanity – effectively deeming the lives of innocent men, women and children in Darfur expendable – it would be more difficult for you to feign interest in this crisis.

As I write this letter, I cannot stop thinking about a political cartoon I saw during the recent holidays. It depicted a child from Darfur sitting on Santa’s knee. The child spoke of having only one wish: “A chance to live.”

Since then, I have been unable to get the following images out of my mind: I imagine that, like you, I am a husband and father – except that I am living in Darfur. The year is 2003. My family and I are awakened one morning by screams and explosions. I run outside and, through the smoke and fire, I see dozens of armed men storming into our village on horseback. I then witness and experience the unthinkable. I am viciously beaten until I can no longer stand. After which, I am forced to watch both my wife and my seven-year-old daughter gang-raped by six of the attackers. Before losing consciousness, I see my three-year-old son burned alive.

My “dream” ends with a scene in a refugee camp in western Sudan. The year is 2007. All of the aid workers have left our area. The limited supplies we have may be our last. My wife did not survive her brutal attack, so it is just my daughter and I that remain from our family. She is eleven, now. Severely traumatized, she has not spoken since the day she was unmercifully violated. It is late at night, and, like every night, she is crying herself to sleep . . .

For an untold number of people living in Darfur, my “dream” is their reality. To be sure, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan was not far off when he described the conditions in western Sudan as akin to “Hell on earth.”
Mr. President, you are, first and foremost, a husband and a father. As such, I feel compelled to ask you: If your wife and daughters were among those at grave risk in Darfur, would you ask for permission from the perpetrators to save them? Would you wait more than four years for their answer?

Would you merely issue hollow words of warning to those responsible for genocide – and let your family die?

© 2007 John J. Morlino, Jr.

John Morlino is the founder of a nonprofit organization called The Essence of True Humanity Is Compassion (The ETHIC). He is the director of The ETHIC’s Darfur Pledge campaign, an all-volunteer grassroots effort to end the genocide in western Sudan. This article was originally published in the Orlando Sentinel, 27 February 2007, under the title: “Plea to Bush: Stop the Genocide”.

Voice your concern to President Bush and support the people in Darfur: Take the Darfur Pledge! (www.DarfurPledge.org)

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2 Responses to “i-ACT in the news”
  1. Subject: Press Release: Peace Village Festival
    From: Charlie@kskq.org
    Date: Fri, July 27, 2007 8:45 am
    To: Michel Moore

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Welcome to Peace Village Festival

    Dates: August 24th, 25th & 26th – 2007
    Time: Friday 8pm-11pm, Saturday 11-11, Sunday 11-10
    Location: Jackson Wellsprings, Ashland, Oregon

    Imagine… a village birthed from our shared visions, deepest longings, and ancestral memories of what could be, holding a resonance of peace that informs, inspires, and activates all who enter. This village is being conceived and built with peace, sustainability, and respect as its guiding principles.

    Come experience and participate in Peace Village. Take part in conversations about peace. Join in wisdom circles. Listen to the wise words of the elders and the youth. Take classes at our Multi-versity. Browse and shop at the village marketplace. Listen to varied and wondrous music. Learn and teach, network and converse. Dance, play, and celebrate. This event will be kid friendly on all levels, and will honor our elders. The desire is for the involvement of the whole community, for people of goodwill from all walks of life, all ages, all lifestyles, all paths and persuasions to gather together in the spirit of peace. For through us,
    Peace Prevails and ripples forth in all directions.

    Peace Village Festival is a 3 day community gathering in Ashland,
    Oregon, one hour north of Mount Shasta. From inspiring music and performers to an entire village dedicated to peace, Jackson Wellsprings in Ashland will transform itself into a truly unique showcase of all that is encompassed within PEACE. Admission is free, with donations welcome. There will be
    talks and workshops on peace and sustainability, an artisans’ market, delicious vegetarian food, performance artists, a healing sanctuary, our Om Dome, and a broad variety of music including Reggae, World Fusion, Rock, Folk, Blues, Blue Grass, Latin, Funk, and Electronica. Plus there will be late night music in the Sky Lodge on Saturday night. Use of
    Jackson Wellsprings spa facilities—hot springs, pool, and sauna, plus camping—are available for an added fee.

    Come to Peace Village Festival in Jackson County, Oregon, at the end of August. Bring your friends, bring your family. And above all…

    Bring Your Piece.

    The call goes out. If it beckons to you, please respond and let us know how you would like to join in this co-creation.

    Jackson Wellsprings is located at 2253 Highway 99 North, For info on booths, speakers or workshops contact:

    Larry Morningstar
    PeaceVillageFestival@gmail.com
    http://www.PeaceVillageFestival.org
    541-201-8787

  2. Hend Abd El Shafy says:

    Dear Gabriel & Connie, My name is Hend Abd El Shafy and I am part of STAND/AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL . This is my first year as commissioner of this High School club, yet as I follow up on your stories and journeys through Dar fur and Chad, My pride in Amnesty International and the ambition I with hold for striving to save places devastated by Genocide, Starvation, and neglection of human Rights is immeasurable. At first I want to thank you for being both role models and idols for the greater cause. On May 24th my committee and I have worked for 4 long months in preparation for a Dar fur Benefit show. It would be more than an Honor to have people like you as Guest Speakers at the Eleanor Roosevelt High School Darfur Benefit 2008.

    Location: Eleanor Roosevelt HIgh School
    Address: 7447 Cleveland Ave
    Corona, CA 92880
    Date: May 23-24

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