En Route

G KTJ balcony.JPG Feels strange to be back in the same airport, headed back to the same city that I left by military plane last February. I guess that is expected however, the strange feeling, the surreal emotions; we really are going back. Most people would have processed that before we purchased the tickets, or even last night when we were trying to squeeze 100 pounds of stuff into two bags. I’m just trying to focus on the present reality.My reality is one that is vastly different than that of our friends in the camps. When I had the privilege of returning home to my comforts, and friends, Fatne remained with her seven children. For the past four months I have feasted on rich foods of my choice, while Darfuri food rations have been decreased to 1200 calories a day. As I walked the streets of various cities freely, speaking my mind about the world’s atrocities, new arrivals and veterans in Camp Kounoungo were threatened with increased violence that shows itself in the form of three dead gendarime and an aid worker just in the last month.

Now is the time if ever, we need our voices, and the voices of our entire community to shout to the world – WE WILL NOT STAND IDLY BY. THIS CANNOT CONTINUE. We need to shake our neighbors, show our leaders, and demand that ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity end. This is a moral issue that bridges politics, religion, race and culture. If we allow one group to be persecuted because they are who they are, then who will save us from the same persecution. If we let this continue, we have failed our values, and humanity.

As my blood begins to rise writing these words, I look around. An impeccably clean, white, sterile environment for travelers to come and go freely; an icon of the Western world and our separation from the realities that people live today. 33 million displaced people worldwide – 3 million of those living inside of Darfur, huddled next to 3 large cities, most without tents or organized camps, ¼ of a million where we will be in days.

For now, I will join the iconic ivory tower, and drink my last good espresso and get Gabriel his last diet coke. Hard to not think about the privilege associated with even this.

Katie-Jay keeps i-ACT running on several levels. Much of her work entails coordinating partnerships with other grassroots organizations and implementing the campaigns developed by Gabriel and seeing through the details. She graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Sociology and a focus on Community Development. She has previously worked as a community organizer in Thailand, Guatemala, and with grassroots organizations across the United States.

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