Why is that we as humanity are so much more comfortable recognizing and commemorating past genocides, than acting to stop one while it is happening? Why do we look away when we can effect change? I revisit these questions almost everyday. There isn’t an end answer, but sometimes it leads to more imaginative ways to move people to act now. I understand the importance of education and awareness, and that is how I started my own advocacy efforts for Darfur in 2005. But now, being aware of what is happening is not enough.
Some say that the current situation in Darfur – starvation, disease, lack of water and medicine, and the resulting deaths – is because of Bashir. But I think we need to look at ourselves as a movement, and our failures to help the people of Darfur live in peace. We all knew what was going to happen when the ICC made their announcement on March 4th. Bashir was not shy about telling us this; it is no surprise that he acted the way he did.
What I am most surprised about is that, given the exponentially dire situation, we as a movement have not been able to work together to accomplish the entire reason we exist as a movement: to deliver the loud, consistent, and strong message to our government that WE WILL NOT ACCEPT GENOCIDE IN DARFUR.
The government has policies scripted and researched by the Enough Project. They have advisors such as Samantha Powers, and now a Special Envoy (which would have come much later had it not been for an urgent call-in campaign and over 1500 text messages received by Clinton) for Sudan. They know what they need to do. Our job is to tell them that Darfur is important to us. And that ending genocide is so important to us that leaders will pay politically if they do not act.
People are dying everyday simply because of who they are. The best way to commemorate those who have been brutally murdered because of who they are in the past is to fight for the lives we can still save. Darfur needs us to express this, loudly and consistently.
I am willing to say right now, today, that if President Obama does not act for Darfur as urgently and swiftly as needed to save the lives still left, he will not have my vote in the next election. Our leaders act on issues they feel are important to you and me. Our leaders must hear us: WE WILL NOT ACCEPT GENOCIDE IN DARFUR. If we don’t tell them, then we only have ourselves to blame for inaction; that is how democracy works.