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Darfur Ideas

In hopes of raising awareness about the reality of genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, Sam writes every Monday about a key issue in an attempt to stop the atrocity. Doing so may not bring about a wave of change, but it is a small ripple that represents the tide that needs turning.

Yesterday’s showing of Darfur Diaries was successful on several levels. Hundreds of folks gave up their Sunday afternoons to educate themselves on the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today.

After the film (which is a collection of 2004 interviews with refugees and internally displaced people), the theater was completely silent. I felt motivated to act like never before, but I also felt completely paralyzed by my own ignorance of how to act.

After the film, Dan Schafer, a professor at Belmont and local activist in Nashville, detailed the legislative approaches that have been taken. Dan candidly expressed his hesitancy that any US legislation would wholly end the conflict. Calls can be made, and resolutions can be passed, but the complicated intricacies of the situation (which were also explained by Nashville attorney Clint Alexander) demand that a workable solution is international in nature.

But, I still firmly believe that ordinary individuals can help the plight of the victims as they cope daily with death and displacement. I also believe that if enough of us are loud enough, the bulwarks of ignorance that keep this genocide in the margins can be shaken and the canopy of complacency can come crashing down.

In that vein, I want to highlight what Sharon Cobb, a Nashville filmmaker, asked on her blog:

I've never made a very good armchair warrior. I can only write about something for so long before I have to do something when words aren't enough.

The genocide in Darfur is going to take filming. It's going to take showing the American people what is going to happen after Oct. 1 when the AU pulls out. It's going to take showing the janjaweed raping little girls and killing their mothers who have to watch, then stuffing their fathers in water wells which can never be used again.

I need a small crew, one cameraman/woman, an interpreter, a mule (a person who can smuggle tapes out) and a medical assistant. All of them need to have nerves of steel.

We can fly into Chad, and have a driver smuggle us into Darfur. We can have the State Dept set up a meeting, or at least a phone interview with Minnawi.

To media outlets, will you please seriously consider sending me with a crew? I know it might be hard to cut into Anna Nicole Smith time, but it's only two million people who are going to die if we don't do something. The world needs to SEE what is happening, because talking about it hasn't stopped it.

A friend of mine asked me last night if I was afraid of dying by going to Darfur. I told her, "No, I'm afraid of living with myself if I don't."

What we (and Darfurians) need are enough of us ordinary folks who are willing to make a difference. Dream big, and perhaps we can make it so that no more movies about genocides need to be made.

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