In thinking of our courageous team on the ground in Chad, I recently checked the travel advisory issued by our State Department to see what they were getting into. The report tells of the volatile situation behind the cameras, urging Americans to avoid non-essential travel to Eastern Chad, the border with Darfur. N’Djamena has experienced increased crime as well. On November 16, 2003, the government of Chad declared a State of Emergency due to inter-ethnic violence and rebel activity throughout the entire country, especially in the east. There has been almost no media coverage as independent media is primarily censored, jeopardizing our own teams’ citizen-journalism and necessary interactive-activism. Reports indicate that our team could be in danger of “couper de routes”, or highway banditry incidents, everywhere in the country. Some have even reported harassment at Chadian government roadway checkpoints. (For a full report check out: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_2876.html)
To the team, does this report speak to the situation you have experienced so far? Does the report do it justice?
Thank you to Gabriel, Connie and Yuen-Lin for standing up to not only the genocide in Darfur, but also for putting your own lives in the middle of these conditions in order to bring global citizens real information, from real people. Please stay safe, keep your papers and press passes close, and stay strong. What you are doing for the people of Darfur is irreplaceable and brave.
Peace and Solidarity, KTJ