What's going on here?

I've made a commitment: to do one good deed per day. Large or small, it doesn't matter. Self-sacrificing or not, extraordinary or mundane, it doesn't matter. Just one thing every day, that's all.

The more I do good, the better I feel about myself. Truly, to benefit others is to benefit yourself. I hope this journal may inspire others who also yearn to do good. So join me on this journey, if you will, and think about the difference you can make in your own life.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Essay: Sudan president to be arrested - please urge Obama to send an envoy

Here is a link to send a message urging Obama to send an official envoy to Darfur. Details follow.

Yesterday was momentous in the struggle for justice in Darfur. The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for the arrest of Sudan's President Bashir. This follows on Bashir's 2008 indictment by the ICC on multiple counts of genocide and atrocities. While the warrant for arrest may be a ray of hope, it could also precipitate escalation of violence. The African Union requested a 12-month postponement of arrest efforts over fears of violence between Bashir supporters and opponents.

In the wake of this situation, the Save Darfur Coalition is calling for Americans to urge President Obama to send an official envoy to Sudan. The fears of increased violence require firm action to show that pro-Bashir violence will not be tolerated.

It took me less than one minute to complete and send the email to Obama's office. Please considering doing the same. A hand-written letter may be even better, although in this case time is of the essence.

What we're seeing today is the result of years of careful effort by the ICC and many other dedicated voices, a struggle depicted in the movies Darfur Now and The Devil Came on Horseback. Yet despite these efforts, there has been very little effect on the ground in Darfur. The Janjaweed militia have been burning villages, killing men, and raping women on a systematic basis since 2003. For six years Darfur's people have lived in under these conditions. The daily need to go out and collect firewood, as mentioned in The Devil Came on Horseback, illustrates the situation: if men do it, they face castration or death; if women, rape. So most have made the communal decision that women, who at least may live through it, should collect the firewood. No one should have to make this kind of decision.

Please consider doing all you can to end this situation. Although there is the potential that any action could lead to more violence, we have effectively been doing nothing for six years, and the situation shows no sign of resolving itself.

Sending a letter to President Obama is one small step that takes less than a minute to complete. The goal is that the president "should immediately appoint a high-level official with the stature, mandate and authority to be the U.S. point person on Sudan—and bring an end to the genocide." Please weigh the potential outcomes and act according to your conscience.

Here is the link:

After sending the email, please urge your friends to do the same. Feel free to pass on the current email from me if that should strike your fancy.
images: above - burning villages in Darfur, photo by Brian Steidle; left - map of Sudan showing Darfur in the west


  1. Though there is no doubt in my mind that Bashir is guilty of war crimes and should cooperate fully with the ICC if it indeed does issue a warant, I am loath to be as free with the word “genocide.”

    In a book i am reading, it quotes the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, established by the UN Security Council, on the issue of using the term “genocide” as follows:

    “The comission concluded that Khartourum had committed crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur, but that the crimes did not amount to genocide, though they may be no less serious and heinous than genocide.” The Commission used the legal requirements for identifying genocide as they are found in the 1948 Genocide Convention.

    ***If you are interrested in Darfur, please read the book(that i referenced above) “Scramble For Africa: Darfur-Intervention and the USA” It is a honest, well researched, though equally scathing and shocking look at the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. The authors, Kevin Funk and Steven Fake provide a crititcal analysis of the history of US foreign policy with regards to not only Sudan, but the continent of Africa as a whole!!!


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  3. Hmm, you're right about the vaguaries of the "genocide" label. The ICC avoided it, and considering the complexities of the situation, it is a judgment call. Duely noted. Thank you. ;-)

  4. Ashlee, prosecutor Ocampo did use the term though, didn't he? So it was the rest of the ICC that avoided it?

    Reuters article: "Last year, chief ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo asked the court's judges to indict Bashir for orchestrating what he described as a campaign of genocide"