I’ve told you “we’re going back” three times in the past, but this one is a little different. The last time we left Chad after our visits to the refugee camps in the east, we left on a French military plane, being evacuated in the middle of an all out coup attempt that left an already unstable country and region in even worse conditions.
Soon after, the Sudanese government attacked Darfuri villages, displacing tens of thousands of more civilians. This was in February 2008. Of the over 13,000 that reached the border between Chad and Darfur, 8,000 are still sitting in the desert, waiting to be transferred to camp Mile, according to UNHCR. The insecurity has stopped the transfers indefinitely.
Services have been reduced and interrupted at almost all of the camps in Chad. Chadian security officers working at the camps have been attacked and killed, and humanitarian aid workers have been targets. Our friends in the camps, mostly women and children, continue to live the life of a refugee—but the life of a refugee in grave danger.
We are returning after ourselves having been in some danger. That also makes it different. Our experience at the hotel in N’Djamena had an effect on Katie-Jay and I and on all the people around us. We are not taking this lightly. We will take all precautions possible and will make decision based on the best information from experts on the ground.
We want to continue putting a face on the numbers and allowing the voice of the victims to be heard. The innocent civilians of Darfur need immediate protection, and sovereignty cannot be an excuse for inaction from the entire world.
Join us for i-ACT, staring June 10th and for twelve consecutive days of webcasts, interactive blog, and opportunities for action. Scott Warren, the outgoing National Director of STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition, and Colin O’Brien, who served as the National High School Outreach Coordinator for STAND, will be going with us on the journey. Students have been the leaders of the Darfur movement, and we are looking for students and their communities to increase the heat and raise the noise this summer to bring peace to Darfur.
6 replies on “We’re Going Back”
I know this journey to put a face on the numbers has lasted far longer and cost far more than you ever dreamed. But Genocide diminishes all of humanity and MUST STOP if our species is to survive.
Many of my friends ask why you and KTJ don’t “do good” closer to home. I say you have chosen the more difficult path, the honorable one of commitment to a cause and a people that appear hopeless by all worldly measures. You have not quit for your own convenience and safety while they continue to suffer.
To chose is to be human and free. The people of Darfur have no freedom. You lead them and us by example. In my eyes, you are GOING FORWARD, not “going back”. And some of us are following you. You have called into question what it means to be human for all of us.
Thank you so much for this comment. I love how you really see it as something positive and how you word “GOING FORWARD.” I know that it is not easy for you to see your daughter going to a region that is very less than stable, but I admire how you stay strong and use this opportunity to spread awareness about the millions that are daily danger and, as you said, have no choice. I really appreciate your support.
Gabriel, KTJ, Scott and Colin,
We all wish you a safe, successful journey with i-ACT 5. As you return to the camps you really are compelling the rest of us to keep “going forward” in our advocacy for all those suffering from this genocide. That is how you are indeed able to “do good at home,” too. We’ll follow all of you in admiration and with sincere support from the home front, and continue to take action making noise till we find a way to make peace. All of you and your courageous, supportive families are in our prayers.
Lisa Goldner and family ~ ELMJEA
Thank you, Lisa!
Katie-Jay and I know how much you do, and it means so much to have a long on our trips.
“Going forward!” How beautifully put, thank you Kathleen.
Gabriel, my friend, what can I say that I haven’t already said a number of times before? You are and always will be a hero to me … oppps, I’ve said that before too but it’s worth repeating. I’ll be following along on your next journey from Canada.
Be well, (all of you)
From when I first started getting involved in this, you’ve been there, joining in every campaign and even coming to LA for the first Camp Darfur. Your good vibes from Canda always give me so much energy.