Day 7: June 21, 2009

Focused and Determined

IMG_1858.JPG Yesterday was World Refugee Day, and the people of Camp Djabal’s lives were intertwined with people from around the world in real-time. It was without a doubt the most important work I’ve ever done in my life. I haven’t had time to really process or absorb what I have been taking in on this trip, at least not as deeply as I know I eventually will.

Today is Sunday, Father’s Day, and I’m thinking of my Dad. I didn’t send him a card or a gift, but I know he knows I’m thinking of him. Yesterday morning in the hours before the start of the live video broadcast we sat on a mat and spoke with a group of men that are father figures of the camp. They told us about what they left behind in Darfur, and how they describe the beauty of Darfur to their young children so that they have at least a basic description of a home that they have never seen with their own eyes. They told us unanimously that there can be no peace in Darfur with there first being Justice. There was no debate, and they did not hesitate to state with complete confidence that everyone shared their non-negotiable demand for justice and accountability for Omar al-Bashir and all who have committed genocide and crimes against humanity. They voiced their support for the ICC and Luis Moreno Ocampo’s work.

IMG_1906.JPG I sat in awe listening and studying the faces of the men, astonished at how much pain, suffering, and evil their eyes had seen. We shared a mat on the ground. They shared their pain from the past, and their hope for the future. This was now on my shoulders. Focused and determined. It’s a weird metaphor, but one that I think people reading this will understand: This conversation was like the most inspirational pre-Superbowl motivational speech ever given by a coach to his team. Except, they didn’t know they were giving it. The conversation was totally impromptu, we didn’t plan on having it, it just happened… the way all things have happened on our trip. It happened for a reason. I left energized and focused on the task ahead — make sure that the stories of these men and those of the other people in the camp are beamed live across the world for all to see and hear.

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