Joey Cheek on The Colbert Report

Joey Cheek appeared on The Colbert Report last week.  I was glad to hear the Stephen Colbert was ‘aware’ of Darfur :)

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Meet the (foster) parents

Joseph “Lopez” Lomong is a United States Olympic 1500-meter runner, and was the choice as the flag bearer of the United States at the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Below is an interview featuring Robert and Barbara Rogers, who took in six Sudanese refugees in their home.  Lopez Lomong was the first of these “Lost Boys” from Sudan to enter their life and forever changed it.

He came from the lowest wrung in a third world nation. And what he’d seen in the world, this broke every rule… why don’t you talk to your friends back home?  Don’t you want to tell them about your life in America?  He said, “They could not believe me.  They just have no frame to realize how every single American lives.” He’s made us see our world a little different…

(Robert Rogers, foster parent of Lopez Lomong)

Single moms of Darfur

On day 7 of the Darfur Olypmics, Mia Farrow talks with women about their lives in the refugee camp.

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Women and girls living in Darfur and eastern Chad – in camps, towns and rural areas – live in constant fear of sexual violence. The perpetrators are usually men from the Sudanese security forces, militias, rebel groups and former rebel groups. Gender-based assaults occur as part of the attacks, but also in times of relative calm.

Watch the Darfur Olympics.

Do the children of Darfur have a future?

Mia Farrow focuses on the children of Darfur on day 6 of the Darfur Olympics.

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We’re very goal oriented in the United States – I’m gonna be a doctor, I’m gonna be a fireman.  Even when we’re kids, it’s – “I’m gonna be…”

If you ask the Darfuri children here in the camp, they just look at you blankly.  They have not considered, nor have their parents discussed with them, what they’re gonna be… It’s just not an option for them.

Watch the Darfur Olympics.

Mia Farrow live from Darfur

As the summer games open in Beijing, Mia Farrow, in an effort to draw attention to the plight of Darfur refugees will be broadcasting the Darfur Olympics.

“The Olympic Games should be cause for celebration … the decision to hold the games in Beijing is beyond comprehension,” she said. “With China underwriting the suffering in Darfur and hosting the Olympic games at home, there is an incongruity that everyone attending the game, participating in the games and covering the games can’t ignore.”

Read the full story.

Watch the Dafur Olympics.

US athletes show backbone on Darfur

Just read a very interesting post by Randy Harvey over at the LA Times. US Olympic athletes chose Sudanese lost boy, Lopez Lomang as the American flag bearer at the Beijing Olympics.

Lomong, 23, was 6 when he was abducted from a Sudanese church by militiamen trying to turn children into boy soldiers. He and three other boys escaped and walked several days until they were arrested by Kenyan police because they had unknowingly crossed the border into Kenya… Lomong, made the Olympic track team by finishing third in the 1,500 meters at the U.S. track trials, spent a decade in a refugee camp in Kenya as one of the “Lost Boys of the Sudan.” He resettled in the United States as a teenager with a family in Syracuse, N.Y.

On the other side, Olympic speed skating champion Joey Cheek had his visa revoked by the Chinese government preventing him from attending the Beijing Games.

Mr. Cheek, a 29-year-old gold-medal-winning speed skater in 2006, wasn’t going to compete in Beijing but had planned to attend in order to draw attention to genocide in Darfur, which critics say Beijing abets through its ties to the Sudan government. His organization, Team Darfur, urges athletes to support peace in Darfur.

Both athletes are members of Team Darfur. (Now why wasn’t I aware of this group before?)

I’m so proud of these guys :)

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UPDATE: Here is Joey’s interview with Riz Khan (of Al Jazeera)