Apparently, this is the first time that the American government (as well as several others) has actually called something a genocide while it was happening. Usually that declaration comes after the fact. Wayne and I were both heartbroken about the evil atrocities which are happening right now in Darfur, and convicted that we are not doing anything about it. To be honest, I really didn't even know much about it until last week. I knew bad things were happening, but I didn't know how bad they really were. I am ashamed that I have not paid more attention and have not done anything about it.
Probably the most beneficial thing of the night was when the speaker gave suggestions of how we can do something.
- Let your representatives know you care. You can call 1-800-GENOCIDE and they will tell you if important legislation is upcoming that you can talk to your representatives about. Most representatives also make it real easy to contact them if you just go to their website. If you go to www.darfurscores.org, you can enter your zip code and find who your representatives are and how they've voted on Darfur related legislation.
- Check your investments, 401k's, etc. The genocide in Sudan continues because the Sudanese government gives weapons to the Janjaweed who carry out the violence. The Sudanese government gets weapons in exchange for the oil they sell to China (70% of Sudan's oil exports go to China). Many 401k's are investing in PetroChina and other oil companies that are funding the genocide. Here's a website that can help you investigate and make sure your 401k isn't funding the genocide.
After hearing about the genocide and what we could do (and haven't done up until now), it reminded me of "Hotel Rwanda" (a very difficult movie to watch) in which a genocide was taking place. One man in Rwanda who was trying to save people, found out that a CNN crew was there and said "Now people will do something when they see how bad it really is here!" The reporter replied "No, people will see it on the evening news, say 'How awful', and return to their dinner". How awful that I can sit safe and comfortable in my home and not do anything about the terrible suffering happening in Sudan. Although it hurts to learn about it and see it, I don't ever want to be that ignorant or complacent again.