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Thursday, November 29, 2007

THE UNITED STATES TAKES A STAND TO NOT BE AGAINST THE DARFUR GENOCIDE

In the tiny medical facility in Goz Beide, three men lay side by side, their eyes gouged out by Janjaweed knives.
Picture from http://www.miafarrow.org/photo_01.html


Darfur Legislation Blocked in the Senate

The post below is taken directly from an email I received from www.genocideintervention.net

This is a busy time of the year for Darfur activists, with the campaign season heating up and anti-genocide legislation moving in Congress. GI-Net has called on our members several times recently to take action by attending events and film screenings and contacting legislators about passing the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act (SADA). Your hard work and commitment has paid off -- read on for an update on this important legislation.

But there's still a lot of work to be done. As the primaries grow nearer, activists around the country are organizing to make an impact on the campaigns. One major resource at their disposal is the number of hard-hitting documentaries about Darfur that have been released in 2007. Contents below:

Legislative Update

Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act

Recently, GI-Net sent an Action Alert to all our members, encouraging you to call your Senators and ask them to support the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act (PDF). The Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act (SADA) will protect state and local divestment and prohibit federal contracts with foreign companies helping to fuel the genocide. Senators from both parties tried to pass SADA on November 15th. Unfortunately, Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) prevented consideration of the bill before the Thanksgiving holiday. The Senator's action comes despite having voted in favor of the bill in the Senate Banking Committee. Now, the bill cannot move forward unless Senator Hagel removes his hold.

Appropriations

American leadership was critical in authorizing the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur. To ensure the success of the UNAMID force, it is imperative that the United States pay its share of the mission's costs (PDF). In the near future, Congress and the President will be finalizing the 2008 Budget. Funding for Darfur peacekeeping could be cut in this process. Any efforts to reduce funding pose a serious threat to the swift and effective deployment of the UNAMID mission. Urge the President and Congress to fully fund the Darfur peacekeeping mission. Call 1-800-GENOCIDE to be connected with your elected officials today.

What About the White House?

Passing our Darfur legislation does not solely rely on Congressional votes -- the President also plays a key role in the legislative agenda of our country. In order to make real progress for Darfur, the White House needs to be committed to ending the genocide as well as Congress. As American citizens, we have the opportunity through the 2008 Primaries, to ensure that our presidential candidates will make Darfur a priority for their White House.

The Value of a Film

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the numerous well-done documentaries this year about the genocide in Darfur are invaluable to activists. Whether it's spotlighting Darfur activists from around the globe, including GI-Net's own Adam Sterling in "Darfur Now," or turning the camera on the horrible atrocities being committed in Darfur as Brian Steidle does in "The Devil Came on Horseback," these films have the power to inspire ordinary citizens to take up the fight against genocide. Around the country, activists are realizing that these quality movies provide another tool in the fight to raise awareness about Darfur and effect lasting change.

One great example of this comes from Evan Korn, an 8th-grader in California. Evan developed an interest in Africa through school, but it was not until after his mom took him to see "The Devil Came on Horseback," that he really felt the need to act. Knowing how strongly the film had moved him to action, Evan organized a community screening of "The Devil Came on Horseback" that drew a large crowd. Now that he's inspired others to want act for Darfur, the only question is, what's next for this enterprising 13-year old?

On the other side of the country, students at the University of New Hampshire are using the same documentary to put pressure on presidential primary candidates. "The Devil Came on Horseback" played to a sold-out crowd, followed by a panel discussion with GI-Net representatives, in which numerous individuals expressed their wish that candidates would speak more concretely and more often about Darfur. Representatives from the five presidential campaigns were also on hand to answer questions and take comments. During a campaign season in which the dialogue can often seem vague and petty, films such as this one serve to remind voters and politicians alike that the genocide in Darfur deserves their serious time and attention.

Go to the link
http://www.genocideintervention.net/node/1312
Host a house party for the upcoming HBO premiere of "Sand and Sorrow". You can use films to inspire your own family or community to take action.

"Sand and Sorrow" website: http://www.sandandsorrow.org/

Thanks for all you do to help end genocide!

~ The GI-Net team

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WON'T YOU DO SOMETHING?

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