Friday, June 23, 2006

Why YOU should care about Darfur

Sometimes I get asked why I care so much about a country so far away. I also hear people say it's too huge a problem, too far along, too beyond our control to do anything about. They view it as a hopeless cause, and goddess forbid we waste our time on hopeless causes! My answer is always the same: we must care, we must get involved, we must let people know what is going on there because if we do not, we lose another piece of our already frail humanity.

Throughout history, there are numerous examples of societies and cultures remembered by how they treated or mistreated those beneath them in power, how they defended or failed to defend the weak and powerless, how they failed or succeeded as human beings. Those who remained silent are judged the harshest because with their silence they implied consent. By not speaking out, they let their neighbors be dragged away in the night and killed. They let living, sentient beings undergo torture and abuse. They let entire generations be wiped out and the face of nations be forever changed.

Think about it. If you are walking down the street and you see a very large person attack a very small person, what would you do? Would you turn your head, walk away and say it wasn't any of your business? Or would you at least make a phone call as you were running away? That phone call, small and insignificant as it may be, could very well be the one act that saves a life.

Let's take it in another direction. You see a helpless creature such as a dog, cat, horse or other sentient creature being abused. What do you do? Do you run away? Do you say it is not your problem? Do you say there is nothing you can do? Or do you respond because everything in your heart tells you what you are seeing is wrong, that something weak is being abused by something strong? Do you see NOT responding as a condemnation of your own humanity, your own right to call yourself a human being?

What all those questions demonstrate is that we will be defined for posterity by the actions we take or don't take on issues like Darfur. Our humanity will be judged by how we live as a WORLD community. And most of all, we will be judged by the children who died because we didn't think they were any of our business. They are the reason I speak up. They are the reason I try and educate people about what is going on in Darfur. Children are not political. They are not policy makers. They are not armies. They are not militias. They are not the knock on the door in the middle of the night. They are children. And they are our conscience. They are why we must speak up and demand the rest of the world, the bigger reaches of our world community, look at Darfur and see what is happening. It is called GENOCIDE and with our silence, we let allow it to continue.

What you can do:

1. Get educated. I'm not going to provide links because there are so many and so much is changing day to day. I recommend typing "Darfur" in any search engine. There are thousands of people like yourself who have devoted their time and energy to educating the rest of us. Go read what they have to say.

2. Call your elected representatives. Most of us have cell phones with national plans, so it will cost most nothing but a few minutes of your time to call. Emails are easier and will do if you can't afford to call, but from talking to politician's staffers, it's the phone calls that get attention and not the emails or ten mile long petitions.

3. Get loud. Tell others what is going on. Donate to groups who are doing something to increase awareness. Write a song, poem, novel, or create a work of art as there are many ways to get loud. The image at the top of this posting is my contribution. I've made it available on t-shirts, buttons, and stickers in my store Darfur Items

I keep a supply of mini buttons on hand to give out at concerts, fairs, and other events where people of conscience can be found. I remind them it is about the children. I call my representatives and ask them what they have done lately to bring this matter to the world's attention. Some of them are tired of hearing from me. That is my intent because maybe they will act from their conscience so I won't have to call anymore.


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