I try to remain a realist in all of life's situations, but usually, the optimist in me wins out. A few news stories today have me hopeful, but I remain well aware of the reality in Darfur.
The BBC News has begun a piece allowing victims of the genocide to tell their stories. This is very important, and helps to raise awareness about the genocide, which is an important first step towards stopping it. These true-life accounts put a face on the genocide that often seems so far away. Here's a quote from Fatima Abdelshafi, a 28-year-old farm laborer:
I cannot forget the killing of 21 people from my village. They were buried in one well which was covered with earth and then leveled.
Our herds were stolen from us and we were forced to leave our homes. We had no choice but to head for the surrounding mountains without shelter, food or water.
Why did they do that to us?
The BBC is also reporting that the Arab League and the European Commission are having talks in the region about finding a workable solution to the genocide. Since the May peace deal (which is as good as toilet paper right about now), things have actually gotten worse in Darfur. Last month, the Sudanese government in Khartoum blocked a UN resolution which would have put a UN peacekeeping force on the ground, replacing the bleak African Union forces.
These talks are potentially groundbreaking because Sudan is part of the Arab League (although they are saying that their military can keep the peace). Likewise, the European Commission is pledging financial support to the AU forces, something they currently lack. Regardless of what happens, more attention is being paid to the issue, and more voices are part of the conversation. Thus, this route has the biggest chance for a positive outcome than any other attempt in the past year and a half.
And, an editorial in today's Washington Post inspired me. Susan Rice, Anthony Lake and Donald Payne get in right in this piece. The trio calls out what needs calling out, including:
- The hypocrisy of the Sudanese government
- The lack of international attention
- The double standards on the part of the American government
- The feasibility of a real solution
The three authors don't just complain - they provide solutions. The entire editorial is worth your time.
As always, stay tuned. Go out of our way to find news about the genocide. Get informed, get involved, and change the world.