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)