04 May 2010 |
Posted by Lama Surya Das | 2 Comments.
Genocide poses a crisis of conscience to all of us who care about the world beyond the small circle of ourselves. Yesterday I heard Mia Farrow speak and show slides at the World Trade Center in Boston about the humanitarian crisis and genocide in Darfur, West Sudan, where millions have perished. An actress, mother and activist, she is now focused full time on the Sudan crisis as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors on behalf of the United Nations Children’s Fund.
In Khartoum, the capital of that country–Africa’s largest–mass murderer Omar Al Bashir has won re-election and is now the first head-of-state to be re-elected while facing an international arrest warrant for war crime a dictator–an election widely known to have been neither free nor fair.
Meanwhile, over 2.5 million displaced Sudanese struggle to survive in teeming refugee camps, which are little more than tent encampments without food, water, doctors, or medicine scattered about the almost treeless and grassless, desert-like plain. In the upcoming year, the people of oil-rich south Sudan face upcoming slaughter when they are to gain the right to be free from the totalitarian Khartoum-based government of that beleaguered country.
Barack Obama once called Darfur’s genocide a ‘stain on our souls,’ before being elected president. Has he changed his mind, now that he has other pressures and priorities? Is there nothing we in the so called civilized world can do about it? We stood by while Rwanda went through genocide. The UN has been hamstrung by China’s Security Council clout as well as its formidable commercial leverage in international affairs. Is anyone even aware that the UN’s 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide–pioneered by Eleanore Roosevelt sixty years ago–has never been invoked to intervene in our modern era before the genocide was completed and a trail of evidence had been amassed, little benefit to the multitudes of victims, men, women and children! International genocide expert Dirk Moses has said: “Darfur will end when it suits the great powers that have a stake in the region”.
We can help now by donating through Enoughproject.org, by becoming more informed about these tragic events, and by contacting our elected representatives and letting them know we are not happy to stand by while genocide continues in these countries, or anywhere on this planet, and we’d like our government to help out with aid as well as UN intervention to protect the helpless people under the gun and the machete right now in Africa. Check out miafarrow.org for more information and action items.
I myself lived and worked in Tibetan refugee camps in Nepal and India during the 70s and was in aid work on the Thai-Cambodian border and also on behalf of the Cambodian Boat People. There are no words to describe the depths of terror, hopelessness, grief, suffering, and despair people endure year in and year out, if they manage to survive, under such conditions. Are lives less worthy of protection and cherishing in Armenia, Africa, or Tibet than in Europe or America?