Sunday, July 24, 2005

A Darfur Round-up

The Sudan News, an independent Non-Profit based in France, reports that: "The Sudanese government on Saturday said it has extended an agreement with a strong breakaway rebel group in Darfur to work to improve the humanitarian situation." Get the details here. Here's a taste:
The National Movement for Reform and Development, which has a strong military presence in West Darfur State, also agreed to abide by a "declaration of principles" reached earlier this month by the government and Darfur's two main rebel groups.

The National Movement signed a cease-fire agreement with the government last December, followed by two supplements on humanitarian and security arrangements.

On Wednesday, representatives from both sides met in Al Fasher, North Darfur, and signed an agreement to further their cooperation. U.N. and African Union officials were also involved in the meeting. The signing came after reviewing reports issued by joint committees assessing the situation since the December talks.

"The two sides have agreed to continue the work of the technical committee on the ground so as to help with the return of the refugees and the displaced persons to their home villages and to effect stability in the war affected areas," said the joint statement that was distributed to the media Saturday.
The People's Daily Online of China (for what it's worth--the link is here) reports:
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Friday that the situation in Sudan is still fragile and dangerous, and called on all sides to reach a political settlement in accordance with their commitment.

In a report to the Security Council on Sudan, Annan noted that violence in Darfur has diminished since the period from early 2003to mid-2004 before Security Council decisions and the deployment of AMIS (AU Mission in Sudan).

There can be little doubt that the situation in Darfur is less dangerous for civilians than it was a year ago, he said, adding that attacks on civilians have declined significantly over the past 12 months, and humanitarian relief workers have access to far more people in need than they had at the time the joint communique was signed in July 2004.

"Nevertheless, these developments represent only a modest step forward," the Secretary-General said, urging the government to improve this fragile and dangerous situation by following through on all of the commitments it agreed on in July 2004.
Meanwhile, an American Church wants to raise awareness on the genocide in Dafur. From the Fredricksburg Freelance Star:
A new local church is trying to raise awareness about an international problem.

Members of the Nameless Church in the Fredericksburg area want to bring attention to the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, which has caused at least 180,000 deaths and made 2 million people homeless.

The seven-member Christian congregation, which is not associated with any denomination and meets at a member's home in Spotsylvania County, was formed in April. It plans to host a series of events that focus on the ethnic cleansing in the African country. Information is available on its Web site,

A service titled "Worship in the Spirit of Justice" will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow in Fredericksburg's Market Square. All are welcome.

Member Ian Soper, a 25-year-old Spotsylvania resident, said living out Christ's life includes serving those in need.

"We believe it's more than just saving people's souls but also about meeting their needs here on Earth," he said.

Church members were inspired by vigils in Washington speaking against the inhumane treatment of SuDying in danese Christians, Soper said.
In the Blogosphere, Dying in Darfur has an excellent round-up, including some articles I linked here. Baptized Pagan offers at least one reason he's still Catholic: The Boston Globe covered the experience of a Massuchussets volunteer for Catholic Relief Services in Darfur. Red Carpets, Saw Dust & DC Insiders presents a revolting contrast between the Situation in Darfur and the attention of American MSM and Washington's political mover-shakers:
Maybe America will meet that challenge by stepping in to help the War-torn Genocide-ravaged Darfur region of the Sudan. Cool article fromt he Pentagon website is below. Also, there are a couple of excellent movies about different conflicts in different countries on the African continent. If you haven't seen Black Hawk Down - go get it. Then watch Hotel Rwanda. The 1990s were not a flagship of American leadership. There is plenty of blame to share. All of Western civilization deserves to be shamed. The darkness and hate that still poison Africa goes beyond needing aid, or anti-virals. As Americans, we must stand up for Human Equality, Human Dignity, and some form of honesty, compassion and peace.

The political squabble about Double-Super-Secret-Background is just petty... Visit the Washington Post at for the gazillion stories on SCOTUS nominee Judge John Roberts.

And before the links to America's coolest stories of the week... The Troll came out from underneath the Memorial Bridge. Troll Bob Novak declared that US Senator George Allen blew a fundraising stop in New Hampshire.. Is this a sign he may peak too early to be relevant in 2008? Read more at the Town Hall site:
The Truth Laid Bear, home of the famed TTLB Ecosystem, has a Sudan and Darfur hot topic page. Here's the search results for 'Darfur' on Last, but certainly not least, the Coalition for Darfur has Eric Reeve's last guest-blog over at the New Republic. Mr. Reeves presents Western Civilization with the damning truth:
History must not record this moment as one in which our decision was uninformed by either the scale of the human catastrophe or an understanding of what is required to stop genocidal destruction.

And so, despite the long odds against an intervention actually taking place, it is our obligation to say with conviction and understanding the most urgent truth: In the absence of humanitarian intervention Darfur's civilian population, as well as humanitarian workers, will be consigned to pervasive, deadly insecurity; displaced persons will remain trapped in camps that are hotbeds of disease; agricultural production will remain at a standstill, leaving millions of people dependent on international food assistance for the foreseeable future; aid workers will continue to fall prey to targeted and opportunistic violence.

In other words, the genocide in Darfur will continue. We could stop it. We have simply chosen not to.
There it is. Once again Western civilization has found a way to rationalize away a proactive response to obvious genocide. The West ignored the thousands that died in Stalin's Soviet-occupied Ukraine and Mao's China after the Great Leap Forward. The West looked the other way when Pol Pot and the Khemir Rouge instituded the genocidal Year Zero policy, resulting in the Cambodian Killing Fields that cost over 1 million Cambodians their lives. The West decried the Ethnic Cleasning against Bosnian Muslims by Bosnian Serb nationalists during the horrifying years of the Balkan Wars. Not one nation, however, took military action to stop it. Only the United States and NATO intervened when Milosovich unleashed a new campaigne of Ethnic Cleansing in the Albanian dominated province of Kosovo. The West chose not to intervene militarily during the genocide in Rawanda. Now, the West comforts itself with the ineffective intervention of the Afican Union. Meanwhile, innocents continue to die. Security breaks down further. Nothing improves.

Western Civilization has much to be proud of. It has given birth to Democracy, Republicanism, the Rule of Law, Human rights, Philosophy, science, technology, military preparedness, and a legion of other noble institutions and accomplishments. That is why everyone that belongs to Western Civilization should feel ashamed of our Nations' vapid response to the Darfur genocide. We are all better than this. We have the power to mitigate the continuing loss of life. We can choose to do so. But we have chosen not to.

May God forgive us for once again failing murdering him. For we have allowed the least of his brothers and sisters in Darfur to die because we could not inconvenience ourselves with paying attention to their plight. Therefore, we have let the Janiweed and the NIF murder our Savior.

To paraphrase B.B. King, we have rolled the dice while the agents of evil in Sudan pierced his side. Will we see Love conquer the Great Divide?

Perhaps. But if we do, it will be because we rose up and cried out, "No More!" It will be because we demanded that our leadership take the situation seriously. It will be because we insisted that Mr. Reeves suggestion of NATO intervention take place. It will be because we have chosen, once again, to be Christ's hands in this world. For he has chosen to act in this world through his body, so if his body doesn't act, then he will weep for our inaction even as he respects our choice.

Fortunately, much of his body has acted. Not every member of Western Civilization has surrendered the field to the Evil One. Catholic Relief Services and a host of humanitarian organizations continue to carry out their mission in Darfur. Their volunteers often risk their lives helping refugees as the security continues to deteriorate. They bear Christ to those that they serve.

The rest of his body can also serve. We can support the organizations that support the Darfuris. We can demand that our leadership take appropriate action. We can get on our knees, alone and in our Churchs as an entire community, and offer up prayer for the refugees and their persecutors. We can rally once again to the Captain of our souls, for he summons us once more over the top. Do we dare stay behind in shame? Or will we rise and share in his glory once more?

The lives of Darfur's survivors, and the destiny of our own souls, await our decision.