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On April 27th I will begin a fast of water only in solidarity with the people of Darfur and as a personal expression of outrage at a world that is somehow able to stand by ... I undertake this fast in the heartfelt hope that world leaders who know what is just and right will call upon the Government of Sudan to urgently readmit all of the expelled agencies or otherwise insure that the gap is filled ...
April 15, 2009
Darfur Crisis Update: Mia Farrow is Going on a Hunger Strike. When is the Change Coming to US Policy on Darfur?
By Richard Power
Will the Obama-Biden administration do whatever it must to ensure accountability for those who so contemptuously violated the Bill of Rights and the Geneva Accords (among many other wrongs) during their time in power? Will the White House or the DoJ or the Congress heed the demands of conscience as well as the oath of their office, and hound the leaders of that cabal into the reckoning that history and honor demand? I do not care what route we take to get there, just as long as we get there, and they have to answer to the rule of law.
Will an abrupt turn of events or a sudden shift in the political winds open up the opportunity for a more progressive response to the global economic and financial crisis than what is being proffered by men such as Summers and Geithner? (Read Naomi Klein's marvelous Why We Should Banish Larry Summers from Public Life)
Whatever happens in regard to both of these vital issues, the Obama-Biden administration has done a tremendous job of turning this nation around already -- restoring sanity, undoing wrongs and establishing a healthier tone -- in so many ways.
We are no longer on the fast track to Hell.
However, we are ignoring the plight of those who preceded us down that fast track.
The people of Darfur are still in Hell.
We are still waiting on meaningful change in US policy on Darfur.
Not that a meaningful change in US policy will result in an immediate alleviation of their suffering.
But at least we could feel as if our government was aggressively engaged toward that end.
Meanwhile, Mia Farrow is going to go on a hunger strike on 4/27.
And I confess to you that if the circumstances of my life were such that I could undertake such an act and still meet my personal obligations, I would.
There is nothing more maddening than being reminded day after night and night after day just how hollow the great nations' lofty rhetoric on genocide has proven to be.
Here is Mia's statement, followed by a link to her site:
On April 27th I will begin a fast of water only in solidarity with the people of Darfur and as a personal expression of outrage at a world that is somehow able to stand by and watch innocent men, women and children needlessly die of starvation, thirst and disease.
The Darfur crisis deepened on March 4th when the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese president President Omer al-Bashir for his essential role in the murder, rape, torture and displacement of millions. Al Bashir retaliated immediately by expelling thirteen key international aid agencies from Sudan, including Save the Children, Doctors Without Borders, CARE, Oxfam and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) along with three highly respected Sudanese agencies.
Sudanese U.N. Ambassador Abdalhaleem claimed his government would have no problem filling in any gaps created by the expulsions. But U.N. humanitarian affairs chief John Holmes spoke honestly about the desperate realities: "We do not, as the U.N. system, the NGOs do not, and the Sudanese government does not have the capacity to replace all the activities that have been going on. This is a decision which is likely to have a major impact on millions of people in Darfur who are in need on a daily basis, of life-saving humanitarian assistance." According to the UN, as of this May more than a million people will be without food aid, medical assistance, and drinkable water.
The United Nations humanitarian agencies issued their joint plea; "The suspended NGOs account for more than half of the capacity for the aid operation in Darfur. If the life-saving assistance these agencies were providing is not restored shortly, it will have immediate, lasting and profound impacts on the well being of millions of Sudanese citizens. These organizations provide a lifeline to 4.7 million people."
I undertake this fast in the heartfelt hope that world leaders who know what is just and right will call upon the Government of Sudan to urgently readmit all of the expelled agencies or otherwise insure that the gap is filled, giving aid workers unimpeded access to the populations before they begin to die in numbers that could dwarf the Rwandan genocide. I also call upon President Obama and other leaders with influence to help build a credible peace process that can end the suffering in Darfur.
I hope human rights advocates and citizens of conscience around the world will join me in some form of fasting, even if for one day. And when I can no longer continue, I pray another will take my place, and another-- until finally there is justice and peace for Darfur's people.
April 15, 2009
As always, I encourage you to follow events in Darfur on Mia Farrow's site, it is the real-time journal of a humanitarian at work; the content is compelling, insightful and fiercely independent.
For a Words of Power Archive of posts on the Crisis in Darfur, click here.
Here are other sites of importance:
Dream for Darfur
Enough: The Project to End Genocide and Mass Atrocities
Genocide Intervention Network
Divest for Darfur.
Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.
Darfur, Divestment, Enough, UN, Genocide, Mia Farrow, Dream for Darfur, Sudan, Investors Against Genocide, Richard Power, Words of Power