At the end of writing this I realized I had started a short diatribe, and so if you don’t get to the end, I thought I would add the punch line here: Even though i-ACT5 did not make it into the camps, PLEASE, for all the innocent civilians caught in this crisis, CONTINUE EACH DAY TAKING ACTION FOR DARFUR.As we walk to UNHCR for our usual Suzanne check-in, I begin to think about commitment and what it means to me. In this situation, a person’s commitment is only as strong as their personal threshold for stress. There is a point when that commitment is interrupted. This is not to say that the obstacles that we have faced this trip have weakened my commitment, I just wonder what my personal threshold is, and why it is different from other peoples. Since I studied sociology, what situations, people, environments and institutions contributed to my personality in such a way that created my strong commitment to equality, justice, and moreover the believe that every person has a right to choose their own future?
If anything being caught here, once again, in Chad while rebels scurry from town to town in an attempt to dislodge their President, has reaffirmed by commitment to this work. During this crucial time when media focuses on self-reporting from rebel and government leaders and makes heroes out of UN forces, the innocent civilians are those who are most affected, and the ones given the least amount of voice. Not only the refugees who probably relived their own villages destruction during all of this, but the regular Chadian who has the market stall, or the mother who cares for her children. These are the innocents. But, they are also the disposables to so many people. Their stories are not told. The voices muted by those with fancy titles and positions of power.
For now, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis is Chad-Darfur. But all over the world live the voiceless. But they are only voiceless because of those who turn a deaf ear. They have a story, and an opinion. They are knowledgeable beyond comprehension in survival, and culture. They are very much alive here, and in the Congo, Burma, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Columbia, and all over the world.
We can give their voice meaning in our lives, and our neighbors, and their neighbors, and then, through our mutual commitment, begin to live in a global community.
I can’t imagine turning back to the life I lived before activism. My life had very little meaning outside of myself. It is also hard for me to imagine doing anything else with my life than what I am doing at this very moment. Many people ask me what I am going to do next, as if I was working towards a different job title or occupation. But this is it. For the rest of my life, in whatever capacity, I am committed to work for the voice of the people to be respected and heard.
I don’t think it would be fair to ask the same thing of you, but I do want to ask you, that even though i-ACT5 has not been the usual i-ACT, you are still the same committed i-ACTivist, and you can still take action, everyday for the people of Darfur.