Sunday, April 30, 2006

Instead of mourning a genocide, stop one.

Today is the big rally in D.C. to bring attention to the genocide in Darfur.

Timely, considering that due to a shortage of money coming in earmarked for aid to the refugees, their food rations will be cut in half. Every man woman and child, all 6.1 million of them, will now have to survive on a ration of roughly 1,000 calories a day. Just after aid workers have managed to get a handle on the malnutrition rates, the rates are expected to rise again.

I think the whole point of the rally is to say that we have a choice right now. We can either look the problem in the face now and take action to help, or we can sit back, ignore it, and ten years down the road we can watch some movies about it and self-righteously tut-tut the lack of response.

Here in the U.S. we spent over $23 million on tickets to the movie Hotel Rwanda. I can't find the DVD sales total, but I'm sure there's even more money there. I'd propose that every movie-goer take the amount of money that they will likely spend on a ticket to the movie that will no doubt be made about this genocide, and donate it to buy food and shelter for these people, before the fact. I'm even throwing in the $8 I'm not spending on the 9/11 movie, just for good measure.

It's Sunday. You're probably not doing anything THAT important today anyway. So, DO SOMETHING about this. I'll even give you some recommendations here, from the Human Rights Watch:
Contact Your Elected Representatives: Write and call your representatives in Congress and the State Department, asking them to support U.S. and international efforts to reverse ethnic cleansing and stop attacks against civilians in Darfur. Ask President Bush, members of Congress, and the State Department to do the following:
  • Visit and speak out on Darfur;
  • Support a Chapter VII resolution in the U.N. Security Council that will reverse ethnic cleansing, protect civilians, permit the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes in safety and dignity, and ensure full humanitarian access;
  • Substantially fund the humanitarian, peacekeeping and other costs of Darfur, including the African Union Mission in Sudan; and
  • Demand that the government of Sudan cooperate with the International Criminal Court and effectively address accountability for human rights abuses and crimes against humanity in Sudan.

You may find the contact information for your Representative or Senator at:

You may also contact the State Department by writing to the Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, at U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520; head of African affairs at the State Department, Jendayi Frazer, at; or the U.S. mission to the United Nations at
You may write to President George W. Bush at the White House, Washington, D.C. or email:

Donate to Humanitarian Agencies: A number of nongovernmental humanitarian agencies are providing help to Sudanese refugees in Chad and to Darfurians inside Sudan. Contact the following agencies for more information on their work in Chad and Darfur:

151 Ellis Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30303-2440
United States
Phone: 1-800-521-CARE ext. 999
Online at:

Doctors Without Borders-Holland (Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF-H)
Doctors Without Borders-France (MSF-F):
Please contact MSF’s New York office at 1-888-392-0392 or online at

International Committee of the Red Cross
19 avenue de la Paix
1202 Geneva, Switzerland
Online at:

International Rescue Committee
122 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10168
United States
Phone: 212-551-3000
Online at:

Oxfam America
1100 15th St., NW Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005
Online at:

Save the Children-US
Attn: Donor Services
54 Wilton Road
Westport, CT 06880
Phone: 1-800-728-3843
Online at:

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
c/o USA for UNHCR
1775 K Street, NW Suite 290
Washington, DC 20006
United States
Phone: 1-800-770-1100
Online at:

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund)
c/o U.S. Fund for UNICEF
333 East 38th Street
New York, NY 10016
United States
Online at:


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