Are Activists to Blame for Darfur?

Recently, the Enough Project and the Center for American Progress held a dialogue session on activism, intervention, and Sudan.

The question of the night was whether US activists are making it harder, not easier, to resolve the conflict in Darfur. Does citizen advocacy on Darfur policy do more harm than good? Can it positively influence decisions made regarding foreign affairs?

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Click here to watch the full event video – quite a provocative discussion.

This dialogue session came to be because there are people who believe that the US mass movement surrounding Darfur has oversimplified the conflict, directed funds toward advocacy rather than relief, and ultimately, came too late. They argue that so much energy is going into advocacy efforts for Darfur here in the US – however, that energy has yet to translate into concrete changes on the ground.

Is Washington really listening to the public outcry on Darfur or are they just trying to “manage” or “keep the lid on” what they view as “noise”? We declared Darfur a genocide in 2004 – why hasn’t more been done since then?

How can we best use our power as citizens to make a difference?

Teens Learn About Genocide and Activism

Photograph by Stop Genocide Now

Photograph by Stop Genocide Now

Toronto high school students giving a presentation for their “Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity” class were heckled and pelted with paper airplanes by fellow students until one classmate finally said “Enough is enough”.

It turns out that the hecklers had been instructed by their teacher to behave in such a manner. It was simply an exercise planned by the teacher to see whether the kids would remain obedient to authority despite committing acts they knew were not right.

The “Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity” course encourages Toronto teens to defy the stereotype of the apathetic, uncaring youngster by “up-standing” rather than by-standing.

According to teacher Mitch Bubulj –

You just have to offer a course like this to see the best in these teenagers and I’ve seen it. Students want to do the right thing and they get angry at the injustice.

They get that it’s not a joke.

For more teens unwilling to stand by while genocide occurs, check out STAND – the student-led division of Genocide Intervention Network.

Tents for Hope

62The Tents for Hope campaign came to an end last weekend with an unforgettable display of unity and an unmistakable call for peace. People from around the US gathered together in Washington DC – each bringing their own hand-painted canvas tent with them. The tents are symbolic yet also practical – as they will be sent to Darfur to serve as shelters for refugees.

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Read the complete article.

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Visit the Tents for Hope website.