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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Blogging Against Genocide Day

Today I am Blogging Against Genocide. Joining with Afrospear member D. Yobachi Boswell of Black Prespective,net, Eddie Griffin BASG, Electronic Village and dozens of other Afrospear bloggers and Amnesty International for a Day of Action for Darfur.

Brother Yobachi, thank you for bring us together on this important matter.

Today the Afrosphere Jena 6 Coalition is morphing into the Afrosphere Darfur Action Coalition to Blog Against Genocide, aiming to raise public awareness of this atrocity and applying public pressure to politicians.

Let me be honest

As an African American blogger this post has a two prong purpose, to educate myself about what is going on in Darfur, and to educate those who would read this blog post. OK, let start with what I know about Darfur. Pretty much nothing. I know Darfur is in a part of Africa and people are dying that's it. No real understanding of the players and politics with Darfur, although I have been following the lack of Federal government response to this genocide in Darfur. I probably know just as much as the "average" black American knows, or for that matter the average American. Am I ashamed of myself? -0f course. I should know what goes on around me. Who is at fault for me not knowing? Just Me. I am guilty of being preoccupied with what goes on in America and the war in Iraq, that I have not educated myself about what is going on in Darfur. Well that changes today. Let me get and give a little Darfur 101.

It's Time to Learn

Roots Of The Crisis

Source: enoughproject.org Darfur is only the latest killing field in Sudan, where leaders driven by racism, greed, and extremist ideology have exploited the country's diversity as a weapon to divide and conquer its people. Understanding the history of this crisis is essential to stopping it.

Sudan, Africa's largest country, owes its existence as one unit to its colonial history. Sudan is divided by religion, ethnicity, tribe and economic livelihood (between nomadic and sedentary cultures). Since independence in 1956, the country's most significant conflict has been that between the north and south, with the first civil war lasting from 1955-1972, and the second from 1983-2005. More HERE

Since early 2003, Sudanese government soldiers and their proxy militia, known as the Janjaweed, have fought rebel groups in the western region of Darfur. Initially, the government strategy largely involved systematic assaults against civilians from the same ethnic groups as the rebel forces. The targeted victims have been mostly from the Fur, Zaghawa, and Masaalit ethnic groups.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have died from violence, disease, and starvation, and thousands of women have been raped. More than 2.5 million civilians have been driven from their homes, their villages torched and property stolen. Thousands of villages have been systematically destroyed and more than 230,000 people have fled to neighboring Chad. But most of those displaced are trapped inside Darfur. Although large-scale government attacks against civilians have declined since 2005, millions remain at risk. Most of the displaced are not returning home for fear that their villages will be attacked again. The Sudanese government still bears primary responsibility for the danger to civilians, but the increasing fragmentation of the rebel groups and their use of violence have contributed to the high level of insecurity.

Darfur is home to more than 30 ethnic groups, all of which are Muslim. The Janjaweed militias recruited, armed, trained, and supported by the Sudanese government are drawn from several of the groups in Darfur who identify themselves as Arab. They have used racial slurs while attacking and raping the targeted groups, who are considered non-Arab. The ethnic and perceived racial basis of the violence has been well documented by the U.S. Department of State, the United Nations, independent human rights organizations, and international journalists.

The Khartoum-based government's use of ethnically and racially targeted violence in Darfur resembles similar actions in southern Sudan before a tenuous 2005 peace agreement ended conflict there. Government-sponsored actions in both regions have included:

  • INFLAMING ethnic conflict

  • IMPEDING international humanitarian access, resulting in deadly conditions of life for displaced civilians

  • BOMBING civilians from aircraft

  • MURDERING and RAPING civilians

Because of substantial evidence that "acts of genocide or related crimes against humanity were occurring or immediately threatened," in 2004 the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum declared a Genocide Emergency for Darfur. That same year, the U.S. government determined that genocide had been committed in Darfur. In January 2005, the UN Commission of Inquiry concluded that "crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed in Darfur and may be no less serious and heinous then genocide." More HERE

Update 2007 - Current Situation

Efforts are underway to deploy a hybrid UN-African Union peacekeeping force of 26,000 to replace the poorly equipped and overextended 7,000 AU troops now on the ground. On September 30 hundreds of rebels raided an AU peacekeeping base in Haskanita, killing at least ten soldiers and kidnapping dozens more. Aid officials are concerned that these attacks will discourage UN member nations from committing troops to the new hybrid force.

The UN and the AU are convening peace talks on October 27 in Tripoli, Libya. Key rebel leaders are refusing to participate, and the good faith of Khartoum remains under scrutiny.

6 Things we can do to respond to this genocide:

1. JOIN OUR COMMUNITY OF CONSCIENCE. Sign up for our Genocide Prevention e-Newsletter and subscribe to the Voices on Genocide Prevention podcast and blog. Find out more about genocide, the current situation in Darfur, and other places at risk.

2. CONTACT THE MEDIA. Tell them you want better coverage of Darfur. Visit their Web sites, call them, and send e-mails providing feedback on their coverage of the region.

3. COMMUNICATE WITH DECISION MAKERS about the need to provide humanitarian assistance, protect civilians, stop the violence, and promote a solution to end the genocide in Darfur.

4. GET ENGAGED IN YOUR COMMUNITY. Talk about Darfur with your friends, family, members of organizations you belong to, and coworkershelp spread the word. Schools, churches, synagogues, mosques, and groups across the country are making a difference.

5. SUPPORT EDUCATION AND RELIEF EFFORTS. Support the ongoing efforts of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to draw attention to what is happening in Darfur. Find out more about who is on the ground in Darfur, what they are doing, and how you can help.

Send our print this Blog Post. Pass this blog post on to someone you know who knows very little or nothing about Darfur. EDUCATE!

Other things you can do:

Take More Action Divest!

Learn more through the links to organizations who are addressing Darfur Genocide:



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