Darfur


Are you investing in Genocide? Does your 401(k), IRA, or other investment vehicle provide money that is killing men, women, and children? Would you knowingly donate to a terrorist organization? I didn’t think so, but you might be doing the same thing with your investments.

Find out more from the Investors Against Genocide. There is a lot of recent news coverage due to a shareholder meeting that voted against Genocide.

Be sure to stop funding Genocide.

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I thought this was great when I found it –

In 2003, a couple of major things happened. 50 Cent blew up and G-Unit took over the music industry, Jay-Z “retired,” and Eminem won an Oscar. It was a big year for Hip Hop. These things we remember vividly, as they were the subject of endless media fanfare (seriously, how many articles did you read about Hova claiming he was done with the rap game?).

Sadly, while you and I were bumpin’ “Dirt Off Your Shoulders” and “In Da Club” that year, a tragedy that has been dubbed the number one humanitarian crisis in the world began – the genocide in Darfur.

Who knew that Hip-Hop had a soul and even a positive side? This particular post: Hip-Hop and Darfur:Part One give a pretty basic overview of the conflict and what has been done. The series continues with an interview with Ankh Amen Ra in part two. Ankh Amen Ra wrote a song called Darfur which can be heard here. Here is the final dialouge from the interview:

DX: What is the most important thing the “average” person can do to help?
AAR:
Raise awareness in his or her community – however they feel they can bring more attention to the issue. Talking to people at work, your neighbors, going door-to-door – we have to put this issue on people’s radar, and they have to feel that this is something that needs to stop immediately. Helping raise awareness in your close circle is really the way to make this issue resonate in the hearts and minds of the international community.

I would also like to personally call upon the hip hop community to peacefully assemble as a unified front on the steps of the United Nations and demand that the United Nations Security Council fulfill the promises of UN Resolution 1769, which effectively created the UNAMID Force, an international force consisting of African Union and European Union troops, responsible for establishing security in the war torn region.

In fact, due to the recent attempted coup of the Chadian government by allegedly Sudanese government supported rebels, the situation in that region is deteriorating rapidly as the Chadian prime minister has apparently called for the immediate removal of all Darfur refuges from the his country. Therefore, we must act now!

Part Three is the final (at least for now) installment connecting Hip-Hop and Darfur at HipHopDX and is an interview with Don Cheadle and Adam Sterling. Here is a good excerpt from that interview:

DX: When actors get involve themselves in activism, it puts their careers into a different light. Do you talk to your friends about it, like George [Clooney] or Brad [Pitt]?
DC:
I don’t know where it fits, vis a vis. I think a lot of people think doing advocacy work really helps in your career. I think, as you are a human being, and you’re feeing off of being a human being, giving value and meaning to your life, then in all walks of your life it absolutely helps. As far as acting goes, it sometimes cuts against it. It makes it more difficult, as a career. It makes it more difficult in our business, because you get pigeon-holed. It’s just another way to get pigeon-holed and people don’t think you can do a bunch of things and those doors start shutting.

Does that mean that I stop doing it for me? No. Or George? Or others that I’ve spoken to? No. You keep doing it because that’s where your heart lies. It definitely puts everything in perspective. Way more than my acting, it puts my family life into perspective, it puts my children’s relationship to me in perspective–what are you trying to accomplish and achieve as a global citizen in the brief time that you’re here?

What do you want to do? Do you want to be on record between you and your god and your family and your friends as having tried to do something? Or just, you know, to make as much money as you can and get a nice big house and cool ass cars and nice clothes? You can do that too. But I don’t think that’s how you want to measure yourself.

These are well researched and well-written articles, not what I would have expected from a stereotypical Hip-Hop culture. You should go check them out.

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After several weeks of good news and progress related to Sudan, the New York Times reported on Sunday that the scorched-earth policy which initially led to the US declaring the violence a genocide has returned.

The attacks by the janjaweed, the fearsome Arab militias that came three weeks ago, accompanied by government bombers and followed by the Sudanese Army, were a return to the tactics that terrorized Darfur in the early, bloodiest stages of the conflict.

Such brutal, three-pronged attacks of this scale — involving close coordination of air power, army troops and Arab militias in areas where rebel troops have been — have rarely been seen in the past few years, when the violence became more episodic and fractured. But they resemble the kinds of campaigns that first captured the world’s attention and prompted the Bush administration to call the violence in Darfur genocide.

This is not a good development as the UN Peacekeeping force still isn’t fully deployed and able to help protect civilians. Women and children are bearing the brunt of this never-ending violence. While it clear that it is a complicated mess there are also clear paths forward to begin the end.

The Sudan government must allow full access to the country by the UN-AU Peacekeeping force, the government must stop bombing villages and coordinating with rebel groups to eliminate entire populations. Rebel groups must step forward and be willing to negotiate peace and not provoke government action. Both groups should focus on true and lasting peace in Sudan and end the skirmishes for power in neighboring Chad.

The world has had ENOUGH.

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The pressure is working!! Let’s keep it up.

From the New York Times:

China has begun shifting its position on Darfur, stepping outside its diplomatic comfort zone to quietly push Sudan to accept the world’s largest peacekeeping force, diplomats and analysts say.

It has also acted publicly, sending engineers to help peacekeepers in Darfur and appointing a special envoy to the region who has toured refugee camps and pressed the Sudanese government to change its policies.

Few analysts expect China to walk away from its business ties to Sudan, but its willingness to take up the issue is a rare venture into something China swears it never does — meddle in the internal affairs of its trading partners.

This is a very good step for China. I won’t say it is enough and time will tell if it is mere lipservice, but baby steps are good!

I found this part of the article very interesting:

“Coming to some sort of agreement with the United States is the Holy Grail of Sudanese politics,” said a senior Western diplomat in Khartoum, who was not authorized to speak publicly. “No one has been able to deliver it.”

This holds true though Sudan is awash in investments from Asia and the gulf that would, in theory, allow the oil-rich but development-poor country to prosper more broadly than it has despite American opprobrium.

American approval and acceptance would transform Sudan in a way the billions of dollars from China, India, Malaysia, Iran and the gulf have been unable to: by opening the spigots of Western development aid and with it a deal to reduce its nearly $30 billion in external debt, along with technical assistance to manage the tide of money rushing in.

Unfortunately, the Bush Administration has been very hesitant to take much action, despite having such a large role in ending the civil war between North and South.

It is definitely a mixed bag of how to end the terrible genocide, but it is pretty clear that China needs to be a major role in the solution as does the United States.

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Maybe a slight exaggeration, but Steven Spielberg has officially quit helping China with the Olympic program due to their involvement in Darfur.

Spielberg wrote:

“I find that my conscience cannot allow me to continue with business as usual. At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies, but on doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Darfur.”

The press release continues and says:

For me, the Olympic Games represent an ideal of brotherhood designed to bridge cultural and political divides. I am committed to building bridges between peoples and I saw, and continue to see, the Beijing Games as an opportunity to help ease some of the tensions in the world.

Darfur activists around the world are very excited about this move. This is not a boycott of the
Olympics, but an effort to raise awareness about China’s role both good and bad (mostly bad) in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of individuals in central Africa.

Dream for Darfur
has more resources and information specifically connecting China, the Olympics, and Darfur.




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Genocide Intervention Network: Have a Hand in Stopping Genocide

Take action now and build the anti-genocide movement!

This Weekend Only: Shop at Barnes & Noble, Raise Money for Civilian Protection!

Dear Anti-Genocide Activist,

This weekend, you can earn money for GI-Net, just by shopping at Barnes & Noble!

Make a purchase at ANY Barnes & Noble in the country from February 1-4 and a percentage of all sales will be donated to the Genocide Intervention Network.

Note: You must mention “Bookfair #223842” at the point of purchase for the donation to occur.

This fundraising initiative applies to all in-stores sales, including books, CD/DVDs, and food and beverages purchased at the Cafe. It does not apply to online purchases.

Thank you to the Hollidaysburg National Junior Honor Society, Save Darfur: Central PA and the Barnes & Noble of Altoona, PA for organizing this exciting fundraising opportunity.

— Colin, Jess, Ivan and the GI-Net team

Genocide Intervention Network | info@GenocideIntervention.net | www.GenocideIntervention.net
1333 H Street NW, First Floor, Washington, DC 20005 | (202) 481-8220

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I’ve written a lot about Darfur and have been engaged locally and on a national scale to help build a movement to find peace for Darfur.  But what really has happened in 2007?

  • 1,000’s of American’s have come together
  • The United Nations Security Council authorized a UN/AU hybrid peacekeeping force (UNAMID) to deploy to Darfur. The first soldiers in the 26,000 strong force will be deployed in January
  • Due to international pressure surrounding the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China has begun to take a harder line with Sudan. China not only approved UNAMID, but has also sent its own envoy to Sudan to focus on ending the genocide
  • Americans have refused to let genocide be committed on their dime. 22 states, 58 universities and 11 major U.S. cities have adopted Sudan divestment policies. Earlier this month, Congress unanimously passed federal divestment legislation (PDF) that will ensure American dollars are not funding the genocide.

While this is all really good news, there is still lots more than needs to be done to actually end the violence.  It is hard to remain engaged and care when it is happening so far away from us and with so many other conflicts going on around the world.  Engaging China has been a huge step, so too is getting a neutral military presence in place.  There is still more that needs to happen before peace and stability can fully return, most noticeably:

  • UNAMID still needs helicopters and logistical support in order to succeed.
  • The ultimate success of the divestment movement rests on the 28 states that have not yet acted. 23 of these have divestment campaigns planned in 2008.
  • Millions of vulnerable civilians remain unprotected in camps across Darfur.

So to you I say keep up the good work and the willingness to care! Let’s make 2008 the year we end the genocide in Darfur.

Information for this post came from the Genocide Intervention Network, which continues to be an excellent resource.

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