gen•o•cide, n. the systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group.
The campus has been reminded of this grisly topic through a variety of events during the past few months. I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that Konosioni has recognized the Progressive Student Network’s initiatives this past March in their efforts to promote genocide awareness, specifically regarding Rwanda. And this past week, the Colgate Jewish Union coordinated events in remembrance of the Holocaust, which involved the reading of victims’ names on the Chapel steps.
With all that said and done, genocide has become a thing of the past and the world is now a peace-loving, tree-hugging place. Leaders all across the world have condemned genocide and waved their white flags and everyone has lived happily ever. Sigh of relief.
And then you look at Darfur, Sudan and realize that genocide is not a thing of the past. It started about three years ago, and has claimed more than 400,000 lives, and it continues. While a truce has been signed between the janjaweed militia that administers the slaughter and Darfur’s citizens, 500 civilians continue to die each day due to lack of access to nutrition, medical treatment, and sanitation. Meanwhile, humanitarian organizations can only reach 20% of those affected because of the continued precariousness of the situation and ongoing spurts of violence between the two sides.
The SAVE DARFUR: Rally to Stop Genocide event coming up this Sunday in Washington, D.C., attempts to bring together a number of groups (mostly student-run) and calls for President Bush to push for a multilateral intervention force to intervene in the region. A few of us Colgate kids are driving down to attend the event, which will include speakers such as Eli Weisel (Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner), Paul Rusesabagina (yes, the same one who came to Colgate), Joey Cheek (2006 Olympic gold and silver medalist who donated all his prize money to Darfur) and George Clooney (no introduction needed).
Remember all those postcards to President Bush that were signed all through last month at COOP tables? With your help we now have over 800 of them, and the plan at the rally is to bring these together with those from all the different schools and groups participating and form a huge postcard mountain on the National Mall (that’s one of my main incentives to attend — I mean, at what other point in your life can you witness a giant mountain of postcards?). Ok, so I have yet to understand the logistics of then getting all of them mailed to the White House, but I’d rather leave the Postal Service to figure that one out.
The rally’s target number of postcards is 1 million. According to stopgenocidenow.com, this is the number of more people that will likely die in the upcoming months if we continue to stand by and do nothing. And nothing is a pretty boring, counterproductive thing to be doing, wouldn’t you agree?
The people of Darfur certainly would.