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Rallies to help Darfur across the United States. And in Germany?

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Save Darfur, an alliance of more than 155 faith-based, humanitarian and human rights organizations, is holding rallies across the United States on April 30, 2006. The demonstrations are part of the Million Voices for Darfur campaign to
generate one million postcards for delivery to President Bush, who recently pledged to push for additional UN and NATO help to protect the people of Darfur. We applaud the President's leadership, but the work is far from done. We are urging President Bush to take steps necessary to end the genocide and build a lasting peace.
Since there are not any rallies concerning Darfur in Germany, we have joined the German Bloggers Liberale Stimme and Extrablog to demonstrate online and call for the German government and the EU to do more to help Darfur. You can demonstrate virtually by commenting at Liberale Stimme or sending a trackback from your blog. WordofBlog provides the HTML-code for the badge.
You could also send an email to the Austrian Foreign Minister, who currently is president of the Council of the European Union via the Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker (Society for Threatened Peoples).

Comparing civil society activism in the United States and Germany: While the U.S. has such vocal NGOs like Save Darfur, Darfur Genocide, and a strong Disvestment Campaign, the only German NGO focusing on Darfur that I know is Darfur-Hilfe e.V. The German media does not seem to have a columnist like the NY Times' Nicholas Kristof, who regularly travels to Darfur and writes widely read columns calling for more action. Crooks and Liars has a CNN video interview with Nicholas D. Kristof, who was awarded this year's Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. The NYT offers some of his many op-eds for free now. Apparently there are not any top celebrities in Germany, who try to use their celebrity status to give this humanitarian disaster a higher profile than it has now. This is what George Clooney and his dad and Cincinnati Post columnist Nick Clooney are doing now after their recent return from Darfur. Nick is writing special reports and George is attending one of the rallies on Sunday.
The rally in Washington D.C. on April 30, 2006 is also the final stop of the "Tour for Darfur: Eyewitness to Genocide," featuring the photos taken by former Marine Captain Brian Steidle. We mentioned his work in our post  Why is Abu Ghraib a cover story again, but not Darfur? Another Atlantic Review post was about German Business with Sudan.

Supporters of this online demonstration include the German bloggers  Fingerzeig, Oliver Luksic, Rückenwind, FPI, Statler & Waldorf, Al Sharq, Libertas Cara, Antibuerokratieteam, NBFSSubspace, Pursuit of Serenity, M.HagenExternspeicher and and the Americans Anovelista, MyNewz'nIdeas, Hardy in Berlin, and Democratic Underground. We also appreciate Tel Chai Nation from Israel, Greg and Freie Gedanken from Switzerland and Wilson from Australia. If you can read German, definitely check out the posts by the supporters Too much cookies and Bissige Liberale.

UPPERDATE:  Emily Wax writes in the Washington Post about A Loss of Hope Inside Darfur Refugee Camps
Currently, Hollywood celebrities, college students, religious leaders and experts champion the plight of the Darfur victims. But despite the attention, the United Nations has been unable to raise enough money to support its operations in Sudan. On Friday, the U.N. World Food Program announced that it had received only 32 percent of its appeal for $746 million for its operations in Sudan, and that food rations to the camps would be cut in half.
The International Crisis Group provides good and trustworthy analysis and advice. The Holocaust Museum covers Darfur extensively.

Five members of Congress (incl. Holocaust survivor Tom Lantos) were arrested in handcuffs on Friday at a demonstration held at the Sudan embassy. More at Reuters.

UPPESTDATE: Live From The FDNF started a series on Darfur. The introduction is online.
Anovelista got some pictures from
yesterday's rally. The Washington Post writes about the rally:
They wore skullcaps, turbans, headscarves, yarmulkes, baseball hats and bandanas. There were pastors, rabbis, imams, youths from churches and youths from synagogues. They cried out phrases in Arabic and held signs in Hebrew. But on this day, they said, they didn't come out as Jews or Muslims, Christians or Sikhs, Republicans or Democrats. They came out as one, they said, to demand that the Bush administration place additional sanctions on Sudan and push harder for a multinational peacekeeping force to be sent to Darfur.
By Washington standards, where protests often draw more than 100,000 people, yesterday's rally -- estimated by organizers at between 10,000 and 15,000 -- was not huge. Yet the Rally to Stop Genocide appeared to be distinctive for being one of the more diverse rallies the capital has seen in years.
The article gives some background on the conflict, refers to divestment campaigns and then describes the current situation and quotes several speakers making historical comparisons:
The rally comes as the humanitarian situation is worsening, the United Nations and human rights groups say. At least 200,000 have died and 2.5 million, most of them non-Arabs, have fled to refugee camps inside Darfur or to neighboring Chad, including 60,000 in the last month, according to the United Nations. U.S. and international diplomatic and political efforts have so far failed to stop the violence.
President Bush, who met with Darfur advocates at the White House on Friday, praised the protesters and said the United States is serious about solving the problem. But protesters said he needs to do more. The urgency, as well as a sense of the past, was not lost on many of the speakers yesterday. The speakers' podium was thick with the sweep of history, as survivors of the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide and the ethnic conflict in Bosnia drew parallels to Darfur. As the rally's first speaker, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel drew a direct comparison to his own suffering in Nazi concentration camps.


Tel-Chai Nation on : Rallies to help Darfur across the US

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The humanitarian and human rights groups Save Darfur and Million Voices for Darfur are launching rallies on April 30 to help support the opressed and persecuted people of Sudan

Causes of Interest on : 'Virtual Rally' for those of us who cannot go to DC

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First let me thank each and everyone of you who has led this fight together with so many others. It does not matter if you wrote once or everyday, you took the time. For this, I am grateful...This 'Virtual Rally' does not have be limited to the United States. For example, Jorg at Atlantic Review has been very helpful, and would love to help.

Atlantic Review on : Sudan Divestment Campaign Against Siemens and Others Gets Stronger

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Nick Timiraos writes in the Wall Street Journal (free access) about the Sudan divestment campaign led by students at several U.S. universities. One of their main targets is Siemens of Germany:The divestment campaigns aim at putting pressure on Sudan's Kha


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joe on :

It would seem efforts to use both “soft power” and diplomacy to this point have failed. Of course, I am sure many will feel these efforts should continue even as thousands more die each day. So without an agreement by the government which is actually carrying out this genocide, what does a concerned world do? I would think there are only two options. They are. Do nothing but rant and rave making lots of speeches, protest and march in the streets, etc. The second option is to deploy a force over the objections of Sudan. This would really be an invasion. It would mean peace making and not peace keeping. It would have to be done by NATO. Probably with European member states providing most of the troops for this and the US providing logistical support. Is this second option realistic? Are the Europeans really up for this? I would say no because Europe does not appear to have either the will or the capability to do so. This means option one will be executed. Of course, there will be lots of UNSC resolutions but if there is no means or will to enforce them they are just an effort to make nations feel as if they have done something when in fact they have not. I guess none of this raises to the level of addressing “obvious evil” as defined by Dr. Dean. Also a bit surprising is the lead nation in pushing to do something has been the US. The resistance has been from Europe. Of I guess it is possible the US could put together another coalition but this action would be condemned by most of the world as nothing more than the US continuing it Empire building. I am equally sure the percentage of Germans who viewed the US as a danger to world peace would increase by at least double. Still it would be interesting if this were to happen just to see which European nations would join and what would they contribute. So much for those phrases Never Again and We will not forget. They are just so many more nice feel good words.

Kelvin Yorke on :

Kia Ora (Hello) from a blogger down under in New Zealand. A question - why is this more important than 4000 of your countrymen "remains" from world war 2 lying in storage in the Czech territory, since thet were exhumed over 3 years ago and are going to remain in storage till 2008, because there is no money to return them home to be buried on Germany soil, which is the reason they were exhumed in the first place. Someone's grandfather/father lying in storage till 2008 ????

Stephan on :

Helping those who are not yet dead is more important than honoring those who are already dead.

Rosemary on :

Absolutely fabulous to have you aboard. I do not care where the help comes from just so long as it comes. We must speak up for those who are silenced by their oppressors and by our silence. Thank you so much.

Rosemary on :

I have been trying to trackback an article to your site but alas, without success. lol. Here they are: 'Virtual Rally' for those of us who cannot go to DC. Thank you, Jorg, for all you've done. You are an angel.

Rosemary on :

Hi Jorg, I must write a little something, because I caught in the spam! OMG! lol. I forgot that it is different here to post an address to a column. Oops! Here it is: [url=]'Virtual Rally' for those of us who cannot go to DC[/url].

Olaf Petersen on :

Darfur is just the block Sudan gets chopped on - into a muslim north ("their Sudan") and a rich, christian south ("our Sudan"). No wonder Sheik Bin Laden calls for Jihad in Sudan.

Darfur Daily News on :

In the world where political leaders value their interests more equally than human lives (UNSC mebmers), only public voice and efforts can do the real difference.

Zyme on :

The only things which could make a difference are not there - No significant raw materials and a low trade volume dont make ideal reasons to deal with that problem. "Das bilaterale Handelsvolumen stieg nach vorläufigen Angaben von Januar – November 2004 auf etwa 145,3 Mio. Euro. Die Exporte stiegen um 12,8% auf 114,3 Mio. Euro" Its a nice increase, but why should our government deal as long as only peanuts are earned? (compared to other conflict regions with more interesting background) Take a look at Kongo for example, european soldiers will be sent there to "secure" the next general elections . Of course its just a coincidence that the worlds greatest cobalt mine is in Kongo ;)

Eddie on :

The idea of a virtual rally is great, I tried to trackback to this post but has not worked after 3 tries.

Hardy on :

I hope that this time the politicians will wake up and do something to help the people of Darfur. Only if we, the people, are standing together and put pressure on our governments they'll do. The virtual rally might help. By the way Jörg, I'm not american( german here in Berlin), but thanks for my new citizenship.

Rosemary on :

Thank you for covering this. Actually, the number of dead is closer to 400,000. That was last summer! I am so outraged. President Bush is waiting on a [url=]Darfur Accountability Act[/url]. To help, call toll free 877-762-8762 to get this out of committee. Thank you.

joe on :

How did this get to be the US's problem? I thought the UN was in charge. DId I miss something?

joe on :

Just a couple background notes for the uninformed. . China has a $4 billion investment in the country widely believed to have the largest untapped oil reserves in Africa. The China National Petroleum Corp. has a 40% stake in Greater Nile Petroleum, which owns oil fields, a pipeline, a large refinery and a port. Last year, China purchased more than half of Sudan's oil exports. Conversely, Sudan accounted for 6% of China's oil imports, about 200,000-plus barrels a day. Additionally, The Chinese and Sudan armed forces have extended an aggreeement to extend cooperation between the two nations. I am sure the Europeans will be able to get China not to veto any serious action by the UNSC.

Rosemary on :

I am well aware of this. Are you aware that al Qaeda is also in the mountains where the Darfurians are being forced to flee? This makes it a USA problem. That alone, however, is not the only reason. When we said, "Never again," did we mean it? If we meant it, we must act. The UN sucks. If we did not mean it, we must never say it again. Are you willing to allow your brothers and sisters to endure torture, rape, and genocide because you don't feel like lifting a finger? BTW, the UN is run mostly by our tax dollars, so what's the difference? Have a nice day.

Jorg on :

"I am sure the Europeans will be able to get China not to veto any serious action by the UNSC." I hope you are right. And I am surprised how little faith you have in the US to prevent China from using the veto. Well, I guess you are disappointed by US dependence on China and therefore don't expect your government to stand up to China. Moreover, for China oil is a matter of national security. For the U.S. the war on terrorism is a matter of national security. China care more about oil than genocide. Reuters wrote: "The United States is opposing the inclusion of any Sudanese official on a potential U.N. Security Council sanctions list of individuals blocking peace in Darfur, two diplomats said on Wednesday. Britain and other nations on a council sanctions committee have recommended a list of eight names of people including some government officials who would be subject to a travel ban and an assets freeze. All 15 council nations have to approve." First reason for the US policy according to the above mentioned Reuters article: “Washington expects to include names of government officials in the future, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. It wants to be able to gradually increase pressure on Sudan and to make sure there is a solid case against any people on the sanctions list, he said.” This “gradually increasing pressures” sounds very much like the European approach on Iran… And I don’t like it. We don’t have no time to fool around in Darfur anymore. Second reason mentioned in the above Reuters article is that the US cares more about Sudan’s contribution in the war on terror than the genocide in Darfur: “The panel returned in December with a list that recommended for sanctions Sudan’s interior minister, defense minister and the chief of Sudan’s Mukhabarat intelligence agency, among others. One of the names on the list is Maj. Gen. Sala Abdallah Gosh, the intelligence chief, who diplomats and news reports have said has been collaborating with U.S. government in its war on terrorism. A senior U.N. diplomat said he doubted the relationship with Gosh accounted for U.S. hesitation on the list.”

joe on :

Rosemary I am not of the school which said "Never Again". That is nothing more than a nice sound bite. To make such a statement means one is willing to back it up with action. I do not see any nation stepping up ready to take action. Do you? And what of those who really made this sound bite part of their national character? Where are they? Or do we even know who they are anymore? It is really easy to make such statements when one believes they will never have to be acted upon or called to account. The US has been talking about this for now years within in NATO and the UN and it has gotten no support. And yes the UN is run by US tax dollars but that really does not mean anything either. Just take a look at how well management reforms are going. A short answer is they are going no where. So a trap has been laid by the Europeans for the US. It has sprung shut. Now there are those who do not like it and are frustrated by it. Sorry. You more or less got what you wanted. I belive the position in Europe is no action without UN authorization. It would appear all that is left is option 1. March in the street, go to a concert, have a virtual protest. Then go home and tell your family and friends you are doing something to help in the Sudan. That's it. The chickens have come home to roost. Then again maybe Dr Dean has some idea of a "grand bargin". There is still time to talk. Besides you forgot this surely would not help America with the 45% of the Germans who view the US as a threat to world peace. The Sudan really does not have much to do with world peace. As Zynne said an no commerical interest for the Germans either. But since there is oil there, maybe we could drag out those old posters - No Blood for Oil.

Shah Alexander on :

Rosemary told me that Daufur was a critical issue of focus. Frankly speaking, people do not pay sufficient attention to Darfur in Japan. As Prime Minister Koizumi visits Africa now, I will take this issue on my blog. To call attentions, I will translate some pieces, and send the message through the blog and e-mail.

Toniyah Tonijah on :

Well done for the concerted efforts to rally support for general public enlightenment on the humanitarian emergency in Darfur, Sudan. I am receiving classified information on the true political realities in Darfur over the power tussle over oil and uranium. But, these facts would be published in a book next year. There is more to the crisis in Darfur than meets the eye. God bless.

Kathy - At the Zoo on :

I remember that when Secretary of State Colin Powell went to Darfur to draw attention to the genocide, his actions had all the earmarks of a run-up to establishing a No-Fly Zone over Darfur to put an immediate stop to the killing -- by grounding the Sudanese air force and making the mujahadeen head for caves in the hills. (In fact, some in Congress are calling for a No-Fly Zone now.) Guess what happened? President Chirac made a speech in which he said that it looked like the United States was thinking of invading the Sudan, and he warned the US not to go off half-cocked and do anything like that. I remember this, because I saw it on C-SPAN and was furious about it. The rest of the media ignored this indefensible speech. You know what happened. Nothing. Indeed, why should the United States get more you-know-what thrown at it just to do a good deed, when there would be nothing but grief in it for us? The blood of all who have died since in Darfur is on Chirac's head. So that game-playing isn't harmless. It kills people. Chirac tried to pull the same stunt when we announced that the UUS Abraham Lincloln Battle Group and the USS Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group was steaming for the Indian Ocean to bring aid to the victims of the tsunami. He expressed suspicion that the United States was thinking of invading Indonesia, a Muslim country. When news reporters jumped on this and tried to get the UN's man to agree, after carefully extracting both feet of his own from his mouth, he silenced this speculation by saying that those ships and helicopters etc were "worth their weight in gold" to the relief effort and scoffed at the idea that US intended anything but to help people in need. That time, the propaganda war Europe is waging against the US didn't stop us from doing something about a terrible problem. But in Darfur it did. One day we're condemned for saying we might "go in," and the next day we're condemned for "not going in" (as in Liberia). And we're supposed to "consult" with nations that play a perverse game like this?

Jay McGinley on :

You know, if one's favorite store were having an unanounced 90% OFF sale, and one learned of it, one probably would not "virtually shop." One would rush out with the greatest of speed and commitment - FOR THE SHEER GREED OF IT. IT IS TIME TO BE GREEDY ABOUT STOPPING THE DARFUR GENOCIDE! The SPECIAL is ON! Cheap, we can save 2,000,000 Dafuries, and our own souls in the process. SUCH A DEAL!

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