The days fly by, and, looking back, they start to flow in to each other, as one long day that started when we landed in Goz Beida and will end in two more days. Refugees have been seeking us out, arriving one by one and often quietly waiting until they catch our eye to pull us to the side. “I have a letter I’d like you to take with you.” They are letters to friends they do not know in “America.” I put quotations around America because the America they are sending their letters to is not just the physical place we will be going back to in a few days. The “America” in the minds of the refugees, I believe, is more of a concept, an idea. “America” is friendship without having met, and it is standing on the side of those that are seeking peace and justice, for no other reason than, it is the right thing to do. As the days flow by on this trip, I often feel conflicted about the expectations refugees have for “America.” America, the real one (or the many real ones) is friendship and solidarity, but it is also impatient and with a short attention span. It is the student movement going all out in advocacy for Darfur, but it is also the government, at times bumbling its way through diplomacy and at other times focusing on other priorities, where there are higher American interests. As the days flow by, I have to stop myself and get in the moment. I can usually do this by taking a minute to look at one individual face and one set of eyes of one child, out of the thousands we see during the day.
3 replies on “Letters to “America” (Reason #37: Darfur believes in us)”
Each compelling word written by you, Gabriel… The insight the view of given of how we’re perceived by the children of Darfur.
This America you so eloquently have articulated. Is the America I’ve dreamed of. As the days become close to the elections – I wait…
Thankful you and Katie-Jay and The i-ACT Team are there. Attention brought to the region
at the crucial time period. Along with much love for all..
Justice is certainly a pang I feel deeply.
America is at a threshed. We again can sit back and watch hell unleashed on NON ARAB – AFRICA
WE KNOW IT WILL… Omar Al-BAshir, with the OIL RICH SOUTH… It is a death sentence to all in his way.
America, I dream we stop GENOCIDE NOW…
Not start another war, protect those whom can not…
We have ENOUGH!
We have met so many wonderful children and youth this trip that have given us letter after letter, many of them like poetry. We will have spent 10 days total in Djabal when all told and each day brought us closer to the lives of those we are working with and for!
Thank you, and justice is in all of our minds. To the refugees, it is what will signal the return home.
Thank you for being passionate about this and matching the passion with action.