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Sunday, February 18, 2007

IS GENOCIDE OK? WELL, NO. NOT EVER.



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This is about my speaking engagement about the Darfur genocide at “Temple ShalomFebruary 16, 2007, for which I am a human rights activist. It includes What You Can Do to help Stop The Madness, The Genocide in Darfur and, now, Chad, too. The Targeted Divestment from Sudan section (IX. C) is critical, as our elected politicians have let us down as leaders on this moral issue. Yet, we have the power to step around their complicity and DO SOMETHING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE with or without them.

When I arrived at the Temple, it was locked. So, by the time I got inside to set-up in the social room (that’s my term, I don’t know what it is really called – I spoke in this room last year too for the Newport County Clergy Association). The Rabbi was pushing the television from his study to the social room for my presentation while I unloaded my things from the car. All of sudden I thought I was talking to the Rabbi and I looked up and it was someone else that the Rabbi apparently sent in to help set up the DVD and video player for my presentation. And I heard the Rabbi singing in the service on the other side of the wall. Unfortunately, by the time Jerry and I had everything squared away, the service was at least halfway through. I slid in the side door and sat down in the back. The Rabbi spotted me – hard not to - and I noticed his whole body lifted up by his raising up on the balls of his feet. His facial expression appeared visibly pleased that I had decided to join them. I’m not Jewish. But I am always interested in other religions and beliefs. (One of my three long term relationships was with a Japanese American and I insisted when we went to visit his family in Brooklyn, New York, that we go to the Buddhist service where his family went.) Soon after I sat down Jerry (my helper setting up) came over and asked if I wanted to sit with him and his wife, Mikki. I said sure. The whole service was in Hebrew except for announcements (including about me and

my upcoming presentation) and the prayer requests, which was some long list. I didn’t count them but I have never heard such a long list in all of my life, then Rabbi Jagalinzer asked if there were any others to pray for. And there were. My son’s friend had his bar mitzvah at this synagogue. And I knew many of the families, because I had had their children as students when I taught in the public schools – music. That night only about 20 people were in the service. Jerry guided me through the book – which opens the complete opposite of what I am accustomed to. And you read the Hebrew, right to left. Well, I didn’t – but they do. I read along in the phonetically printed rendition of the Hebrew, of which I recognized some of the pronunciations. In college we sang in many languages in choir and Hebrew of course was one of those languages. I always taught my students to sing in many languages too. Up behind the Rabbi in the left corner was a plaque, that read “Remember – to not forget”. How appropriate.

Rabbi Jagalinzer said that picture-taking wasn’t allowed anywhere inside the Temple or even adjacent rooms (he said we could “stage a picture at another time”), so the pictures included here are of me as soon as I returned home. The suit that I am wearing was custom made by what is now a dear friend, who lives in Bristol, Rhode Island, but grew up in Lisbon, Portugal. Once I had a business of

fashions and Maria was hired from answering a classified I ran in the newspaper for a seamstress. That business is a long story, but I have since become friends with Maria DeAlmeida. She now sews in a room in her home dedicated to sewing for businesses. Some you would recognize the names of and some you wouldn’t. A couple of months ago I learned something about Maria that is unrelated to Darfur, but here it is anyway. We were walking down Touro Street in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, past Washington Square to eat at Brick Alley Pub on Thames Street. I brought up in conversation that Washington Square was where much of the movie “Amistad” was shot. . . Then Maria, quietly said, “I made everything in the President’s (John Quincy Adams played by Anthony Hopkins) bedroom (in “Amistad”) – the bedspread, pillow covering, the canopy, the curtains…” I responded with awe, “Maria! And you never told me that!? . . . I would have been telling everybody!” Anyway, Maria made the suit in the picture. She sews for me in between all of her other jobs. I sew too, but, not like I used to. I made the very same suit jacket (it is a Vogue pattern) in this picture years ago in a different color. The beautiful wool in this suit is from one of the only fabric stores remaining in our area. They all closed up – no one much sews anymore. My camera doesn’t due the color justice – it seems I am due for a new camera. Maria and I are fabric lovers and appreciate the same high quality. We get so excited with beautiful fabrics.

“ ‘Amistad’ is based on a true story, the movie chronicles the incredible journey of a group of enclaved Africans who overtake their captors’ ship and attempt to return to their homeland. When the ship, La Amistad is seized, these captives are brought

to the United States where they are charged with murder and await their fate in prison. An enthralling battle ensues that captures the attention of the entire nation, confronting the very foundation of the American justice system. But for the men and women on trial, it is simply a fight for the basic right of all mankind . . . freedom.” ( taken from the back of the DVD jacket). It all happens before the Civil War. I bought the “Amistad” DVD – I love the court room scenes . . . Djimon Hounsou intensifies his plea to a demand in his “Give us our free . . . give us our free . . . give us our free!” played with such dignity his part of Cinque. Anthony Hopkins was simply a gift in his role as the (previous) President, John Quincy Adams.

I found the bedroom scene – it is 2 hours and 19 minutes into the movie and it is just before the Supreme Court renders its verdict for the Africans. Maria’s work which took many hours to make was 8 seconds long in the movie. Anthony Hopkins is sitting asleep in a chair off to the left of the bed in the dark room. Maria is fantastic. I tell her what she does is a lost art and that about the only clothes that I have in my closet made in America are the ones that she has sewn for me.

In addition, recently I met a craftsman, Gary Adriance, in our area who builds the MOST beautiful furniture by hand. http://www.adriance.com

It is truly an art. I spent three hours in his store at 206 Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island, talking to him about his work and ooing and awing over it. Gary shared that his brother had helped build the ship in Steven Spielberg’s movie “Amistad”. I told him about Maria and he wants to hire her to upholster his custom made chairs and sewing table fabric pockets. Maybe, not exciting to you, but you haven’t seen the quality of these two’s work. It is simply breathtaking.

Anyway, when I was leaving the Temple, I reminded the Rabbi that he had said he would have me back to show the entire film “Darfur Diaries”. Then he said “Yes, and have you back to speak of your experience at Dachau. I very much would like to do that.

You may not find the outline of my Darfur presentation found below interesting, but I include it anyway. I just didn’t feel like writing it up in another format. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to get proactive about this very critical issue of man’s inhumanity to man. Genocide is the worst of man’s behaviors. What are we thinking to allow it to happen again and again and again and. . . . . . ?!!

But first I make the announcement about the HUMAN CHAIN in New York City.

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Genocide Intervention Network's Human Chain protest in New York City


On Saturday, March 10th, 2007, STAND NOW http://www.standnow.org

the National and the Genocide Intervention Network will be sponsoring a large protest in New York City centered on the ongoing genocide in Darfur. It will focus on highlighting the link between the Chinese government and the Sudanese government's genocidal regime.

In order to expose this link in the most visual and direct way possible, the organizers plan to create a human chain between the Sudanese and Chinese Missions in New York City, which are approximately .9 miles apart. It would begin with a standard protest in front of the Sudanese Mission to the United Nations, and then the protesters will link arms and walk as a human chain to the Chinese Mission, and will end with another protest at this site; thus linking the two in our condemnation of the genocide.

We will have the support of former Sudanese slave Simon Deng as well as other celebrity activists who will be announced shortly. We also have the support of New York City councilman Eric Goia as he is behind the event and is working with us on obtaining the permit. However we need your support to strengthen both our chain and our message.

In order to make this work, we need the unified voice of the Darfur movement behind us. If your organization would be willing to sponsor or support this effort in any way, it would help to build a protest so loud that it can no longer be ignored. Please get back to us as soon as you can with your thoughts on your co-sponsorship.

Cost:

Free

Where:

Walking from the Sudanese Mission to the Chinese Mission in New York City

When:

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Contact:

For more information, please contact Sabina Carlson at sabina.carlson@gmail.com

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Presentation

Genocide Thrives Where There Is No Accountability

Presented by Sandra Hammel of

Use Your Voice to Save Darfur RI

16:47 minutes without Videos and DVD

Temple Shalom,

Valley Road,

Middletown, RI 02842

Rabbi Jagalinzer

February 16, 2007, Friday

7:30 p.m. Service

PREAMBLE:

IS GENOCIDE OK? WELL, NO. NOT EVER.

Genocide is more than a CIVIL WAR.

Anna Nicole Smith – We would think this was the real news.

In 1994 – we were fed the O.J. Simpson trial, Monica Lewinsky & President Clinton fodder-news stories while Rwandans were being hacked to death by neighbors and turned in by their priests to be murdered - all based on ethnicity.

Genocide is news, but is it in our faces every day as news?

BEAWITNESS.ORG

Video #1. Time 3:37: Last Night, Feb 15, 2007, I was watching my nightly routine of catching the BBC World News – I have a portion to share with you tonight as it is what is news happening RIGHT NOW in CHAD.

“ ‘Never again’ are words that were institutionalized after the holocaust. And yet they are meaningless without quick, decisive and unquestionable acts to prevent or stop genocide.”

Excerpt from my Letter to Editor in “The Newport (Rhode Island) Daily News”

I. Grateful for the opportunity to speak about the moral issue of stopping genocide

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II. Personal – Skipped the “personal”section due to time

  • Rwanda 10 years too late, Ghosts of Rwanda, WfW, Rwanda Partners
  • Day at Dachau, Nov 22, 2005

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Four Years = Genocide

The Sudanese Government Omar al-Beshir, self-appointed President, with China as his ally:

Systematically burning villages, killing the men, raping the women, stealing the

animals that are the families’ livelihood

while working slyly in tandem with the Arab militia called the Janjaweed

The USA (Colin Powell, Secretary of State, at the time) called it Genocide in 2003

And yet what moral actions has our moral nation taken regarding the Darfur and Chad genocide?

One poster in the crowd at the Washington, D.C., April 2006 Rally read:

President Bush’s words from his 2005 Inaugural Speech

“All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know the United States will not ignore your oppressions or excuse your oppressor”.

When Bush read a report on the Rwandan genocide, he wrote in the margins

“Not on my watch”

Has it been stopped?

No, and it progressively has gotten worse as predicted by * those activists around the world that Omar al-Beshir says exaggerate the conditions and are Zionists. *

III. The African Union:

The African Union has been the only force in Darfur to “PROTECT” the victims of the genocide and all the related crimes. With no mandate to do more than record their stories.

The African Union announced that Ghanaian President John Kufour be the new AU leader. 1/29/07.

Outrage over the ongoing genocide in Darfur prevented for a second consecutive year the selection of Sudanese President Omar al-beshir as the AU leader, who had been due to inherit the post.

Ambassador (ret.) Lawrence Rossin, Senior International Coordinator at the Save Darfur Coalition, said:

“This is excellent news for the people of Darfur and for the AU itself,” Rossin said. “Not only did African leaders reject an inappropriate candidacy that would have destroyed the AU’s image and its ability to play a constructive role in Darfur,

but they also selected a new president who has been notably outspoken on the need to end the violence that has gone on for too long in Darfur.”

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Excerpt from my Letter to Editor in “The Newport (Rhode Island) Daily News”: “When genocide is left unattended it is a breeding ground for the next one. Genocide has happened over and over and yet the response of our proud government is intolerable.

Aid agencies have had to pull out because of lack of protection. They are being attacked, their vehicles are being stolen and they aren’t allowed to travel and get supplies to the refugee camps.

IV. The history of Genocide is not only a fact

because of perpetrators’ supremely monstrous acts

o but because of complicity of people who believe they are good people

o that, in turn, embolden the perpetrators.

V. 5 Minutes 3 Seconds May 25, 2006: Video of Oprah & Elie Wiesel RWANDANS MURDURED 1,071,000

STOP CUE President Bush, Oprah “As the killing continues”

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VI. Location IT IS African Continent

Darfur = northern region

Borders, counter-clockwise starting in the north:

1 Egypt

2 Libya

3 Chad

4 Democratic Republic of Congo

5 Uganda (The movie which chronicles,Ugandan, Idi Amin, is “The Last King of Scotland”)

6 Kenya

7 Ethiopia

8 Eritrea,

9 Red Sea

VII. DVD Film: Darfur Diaries” 5:05

Stop cue: at the end of the wedding

VIII. President Bush has spoken out after the two rallies – We need more than that

  • Rally D.C. Save Darfur April 30, 2006
  • Rally Global Day for Darfur September 17, 2006 = 50 global locations

The September 17, 2006, Rally referred to in this You Tube clip is, of course, over – I volunteered at both of the rallies, the one in Washington, D.C. (April 30, 2006) and the one in New York City (September 17, 2006)

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IX. WHAT TO DO - LOBBY

We Can Make a Difference - by using our voices

v Contact LEGISLATORS, PRESIDENT, UN Sec Gen Ban Ki-moon

v Phone calls

v Letters

v Emails

v Lobby appointments

THE MOST IMPORTANT OFFICE IS THAT OF CITIZEN – WE ARE THE ONLY CONSTANT regardless of ELECTIONS

IX A. My Lobbying Day, only one from RI

May 1, 2006

  • Senator Reed’s legislative assistant, Darfur Action: Grade C
  • Senator Chafee’s legislative assistants, Darfur Action: Grade A+

Foreign Relations Committee

· Rep. Patrick Kennedy in Pawtucket Office, Darfur Action: Grade A

September 11, 2006, Lobbied

v Constituents’ views make a difference, give confidence

v Squeaky wheel gets the grease

Analogy - Chess game – politics – moral issues’ actions not based on morals

· Senator Jack Reed October 10, 2007, Darfur Action: Grade C

· Senator Sheldon Whitehouse PROBLEM – nonresponsive to repeated contacting and …

Lobby Exit Question: “What do we have to do to get you to do something?”

Answer: Letters, calls, emails.

Hold elected officials accountable

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We must not stop until the genocide has stopped

Genocide Thrives When There Is No Accountability

The World’s Nations Turn Away - Because Enough of Us Don’t Stand Up, Make Enough Noise & Say We Will Not Allow It Any More

IX B. WHAT To DO Part 2

President Bush (tell him to) (taken from Plan B of Save Darfur. Org):

  • Enact and enforce stronger sanctions
  • Prepare and oversee the deployment of international peacekeeping forces
  • Implement the U.N. authorized no-fly zone
  • Fully fund the United States' share of peacekeeping and humanitarian aid

  • Develop a military contingency plan to respond to the potential collapse of security and humanitarian aid networks in Darfur.

AND (my additions) . . .

v Story must be reported - Beawitness.org

v President al-Beshir must be held accountable

v The people must be able to live safely

v Protection must be provided for aid and relief workers

v The Janjaweed must be held accountable

v Children should have school

This You Tube video was created by a citizen in Rwanda.

IX C. WHAT To DO Part 3 Divestment

Course 101 in Targeted Divestment from Sudan

From American Jewish World Service:

“Targeted Divestment from Sudan is

. . . an additional tactic to put real and concerted pressure on the Sudanese

government. While many of our elected officials have spoken out in support of

actions to stop the violence, diplomatic efforts have fallen far short of what is

necessary.

Targeted divestment:

· Offers an opportunity for citizens to increase economic pressure on Sudan stop the flow of money that funds the genocide;

· Tells our elected officials that we are concerned about the genocide

and expect them to act; and

· Keeps Darfur on the political agenda and in the media.

What is targeted divestment?

Targeted divestment focuses on companies that directly finance the Sudanese government’s military campaign against the people of Darfur. Of the 400+ international companies operating in Sudan, about two dozen are currently considered the “worst offending” and are targeted for engagement to change their corporate behavior. (“Fidelity” is one of the worst offending companies.)

While the United States sanctions prevent domestically-owned companies from doing business in Sudan, many U.S. corporations, mutual funds and individuals are invested in foreign companies that operate there. Mainly in the oil, energy, telecommunications or weapons industries, these offending companies provide little to no benefit to Sudanese civilians and have failed to address the genocide in Darfur through corporate action. If such companies prove unresponsive to shareholders’ efforts to address their complicity and refuse to change their behavior, shareholders then remove their funds. . .

…70% OF THE (Sudanese) GOVERNMENT’S OIL REVENUES are spent on defense. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report that these funds have been used to purchase expensive military equipment like the bombers and helicopters used against civilians in Darfur.”

Rhode Island House bill 5142 – Divestment of State Pension Funds from Sudan

Contact information on one side of hand-out of State legislators

Contact information on other side of hand-out of Federal legislators, President, Secretary of State and United Nations Secretary General

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How we deal with this issue says - who we are.

IX D. WHAT To DO Part 4 Inform yourself:

IX E. Tell others what you have learned

HAND-OUTS:

Contact information of President: 202-456-1111 and email: president@whitehouse.gov

US RI Senators & Representatives,

and the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon

Rm 3800, NY, NY 10017, USA

My card

Save Darfur information cards and information flyer

Green Wrist Bands: NOT ON MY WATCH

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Stopping genocide is a matter of

moral principle worth standing up and standing out.

One voice won’t stop genocide, but that doesn’t mean it should be a reason to be silent.

I am only one. But I AM one. You are one.

And Together We CAN Make a Difference on Stopping Genocide,

The Human to Human Disaster

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Special Envoy to Darfur Andrew Natsios (named September 19, 2006)

Recently Said There Is No Longer a GENOCIDE in DARFUR!

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By arguing on the ‘force of circumstances,’ we have argued away all force from ourselves; and stand lashed together, uniform in dress and movement, like rowers of some boundless galley. Practically considered, our creed is Fatalism. And free in hand and foot, we are shackled in heart and soul with far straighter than feudal chains. Thomas Carlyle

Thank you for your conscience and your action.

Now be sure and Divest (separate) from Sudanese Mutual Funds







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3 Comments:

At February 18, 2007 at 4:47:00 AM EST , Blogger ilovemylife said...

The "Georgetown Voice" made this correction about Andrew Natsios calling Darfur’s situation no longer a genocide. http://www.georgetownvoice.com/2007-02-15/news/correction-natsios-speech-article

“……both the headline and lead sentence of the article stressed that Natsios declined to call the current conflict a ‘genocide.’ While we stand by our account that Natsios is opposed to using the word ‘genocide’ to continue to describe the current situation in Darfur, the article should have included a sentence stressing that Natsios still believes that, at its height, the crisis constituted a ‘genocide.’”

In my opinion, Andrew Natsios is wrong. Darfur is still a genocide happening. But what do I know, I don’t work for President George Bush.

 
At February 19, 2007 at 4:28:00 AM EST , Blogger ilovemylife said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At February 19, 2007 at 5:29:00 AM EST , Blogger ilovemylife said...

Our Senator Jack Reed lobbying appointment was October 10, 2006, not 2007, as stated above. And it was on the day after he returned from his trip to Iraq. He is on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He really showed no true interest in Darfur at the lobbying appointment. All of his answers about Darfur referred to Iraq primarily and North Korea, secondarily.

Anyone can contact a senator, no matter what state, when it is in relation to a committee that they are on.

 

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