G’s Journal—Day 9
Our plan was 10 days of i-ACT, but today is day 9 already, and we still have three days left in camps before returning to N’Djamena on our way home. The last day will be in Camp Gaga, where little Leila lives. I haven’t asked the rest of the team, but I’m thinking that we’ll be doing 12 consecutive days of i-ACT this time.
I’m not going to write too much about the specific people we saw today, since the video can tell that story. I will say that it was an exciting, emotional day at Farchana, seeing most of our old friends. It is great to see them, but they are still refugees.
When our SGN team meets, has conference calls, and gathers through e-mails, we regularly refocus our efforts by debating whether what we are doing is the best for the people we are trying to help, the survivors of Darfur. It is not an easy question to answer. We do not want to get stuck on figuring out what’s best for us as a group; we want to be light and streamline and effective in our contribution, even if small, to changing the way the world responds to genocide, starting right now.
One thing I mention at times is that I try to act with the urgency I would act with if it was my family sitting out here in the middle of the desert or, even worse, if they were still inside of Darfur. I’m not sure that I have been living up to that.
I’m having a hard time writing about this because it’s not all clear in my mind, and I think that is part of the frustration. I know that what we do with i-ACT, Camp Darfur, and our other SGN projects are the right, needed things to do. But, I also feel that I should be acting with more urgency and intensity, as if it was my family out there in the desert. It cannot be business as usual, as genocide is taking place.
With SGN, I was a part of more than seventy events across the US last year. We set up Camp Darfur more than fifty times in all kinds of communities—churches, high schools, university, town squares, State capitols, and parks. It is rewarding to see people moved to action; it makes me feel good, but it’s not about me feeling good. I just don’t want these actions to be routine. Samantha Power says that we must make louder noise. John Prendergast says that we must increase the heat. These increases cannot be gradual and linear. We must make it hotter and louder each and every day, many times over!
There is absolutely no excuse for what is happening in Darfur to still be going on after five years. Many will make an argument for why there’s nothing we can do about it—that it’s complex and inevitable. I don’t buy it, and our leaders around the world are the first to blame for allowing hundreds of thousands to die and millions to live less than human lives. After our leaders, it is then us, all of us, that are to blame. I know that guilt is not the best technique to convince others to become involved, but I guess right now I’m not in recruitment mode. Anyway, this entry is way too long now, and, after reading it, it’s not a very good one.
Help me out, though. Give me ideas on how we can increase the urgency of the activism out there. How can we get our leaders to take responsibility? Our friends here in the camps believe in us. They speak with urgency. Lives are being lost today.