Wednesday, November 2, 2005
Care about Darfur
Dear citizens of humanity:
What would you do if someone told you that 500 people a day were being murdered in Darfur? Let me give you some options.
A) Sit there and do nothing.
B) Think to yourself, “That’s horrible,” and continue eating your dinner.
C) Pass this letter by and go to the comics.
D) Pay attention, be curious, and ask questions.
Average Americans choose one of the top three options. I don’t think this is anything to be proud of. Today I am asking you to step out of your everyday lives and pay attention.
Right now in the region of Darfur, Sudan, there is a worldwide human rights tragedy. There is genocide, ethnic cleansing and murder. So do any of these words grab your attention?
Open warfare started in Darfur in early 2003 when a government-backed terrorist group systematically began raping and murdering the black population. Two years later, the Janjaweed militia has killed over 400,000 people. Nobody is immune; anybody can be a victim, including babies, children, elderly, men and women.
This is one 19-year-old girl’s story:
“I was living with my family in Tawila and going to school when, one day, the Janjaweed came and attacked the school. We all tried to leave the school, but we heard noises of bombing and started running in all directions ... The Janjaweed caught some girls: I was raped by four men inside the school ... When I went back to town, I found that they had destroyed all the buildings. Two planes and a helicopter had bombed the town. One of my uncles and a cousin were killed in the attack.”
Why isn’t the United States doing anything about this? No one can argue that we don’t have the resources and the compassion. Is it because we are already involved in Iraq? Is if because Sudan has no oil? It’s oil vs. human life. We need to make the decision as to what’s more important. I don’t understand how anybody who claims to be a caring human can put politics ahead of something like this. This genocide can be stopped. After Somalia, we said “Never again.” After Rwanda, we said “Never again.” Yet here we are.
To anyone who read this letter all the way through, congratulations; you are now more informed than most Americans. Now what are you going to do?
For more information please go to www.darfurgenocide.org.
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The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge