Thursday, January 15, 2009


Responsible Citizens Need Responsible Journalism

I don't know how the majority of USA citizens feel about the news coverage for our consumption and knowledge. I know how I feel. I think we are fed pabulum. Stories that we are provided with on television often fall on a scale of importance of 1 to 10 near the 1 mark. Time that could be spent on real stories is given to entertainment ticklings, irrelevant stories instead of what is important and the mind-numbing repetition of the same sentence - sometimes just after it has been said the second before. Example? The plane in the Hudson River today. And the news stories from outside our borders are slim to none. That seems wrong. In this age of the internet, it would be relatively easy to find stories from around the world and put them on our TV screens.

An example of lack of substance and continual loop reporting is the dog choice for Malia and Sasha. It gets way too much air time. Malia and Sasha are adorable and I hope they are safe, healthy and happy, but priorities of the stories that we are fed are needed. The dumbing down of the USA citizens is not a good thing. Not good for our emotional health, our economy or our cultural possibilities. And our journalism, print and televised, plays a huge part in dumbing us down.

Personally, I have been an activist for the cause of ending genocide since 2004. I know that may not sound like a long time to some (except to those directly affected), but during this time, I have watched our government do very little toward ending genocide in Darfur. And I have not seen the news coverage give the weight to this story that it so warrants.

I wrote a letter to the editor of my local newspaper last July about this point. To enlarge it, click on it
Images of Darfuris

Mia Farrow's Darfuri photo ~ Abu Shouk camp

News from a Sudanese expatriate

Dear All,

- Yesterday (Wednesday 1/14) there were
demonstrations in the camp of Abu Nbag,
refuge for over 2000,protesting lack of
food and medical supplies. A convoy
of food from WFP is moving from Libya
boarders across the desert. The convoy
is not expected to reach the
camps in Eastern Chad before the end
of the month (unpaved roads through
the Desert).

- Yesterday (Wednesday 1/14)GoS airplanes
bombed the village of Hashabah in North
Darfur. No reports yet of casualties.


A relative in Elfasher lives near the
Airport says the GoS Military planes
are busy taking off and landing
for weeks. He says 2 large airplanes
(I guess Antonoves) take off in the
wee hours of the day and land back by
night. 3 small jets ( I guess Migs 29 )
continously take off and land during
the day, for many
many days.

Mohamed Suleiman

This email came today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: press@savedarfur.org

January 15, 2009

Allyn Brooks-LaSure

Ashley Roberts


WASHINGTONThe Save Darfur Coalition today applauded U.N. Ambassador-designate Dr. Susan Rice’s continued commitment to end the Darfur genocide, following her testimony today before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Coalition president Jerry Fowler, in a statement, urged the Obama administration to swiftly begin acting on this commitment, particularly by identifying the high-level official who will have day-to-day ownership of Sudan policy and responsibility for actions to end this genocide.

“The Save Darfur Coalition was heartened by Dr. Rice’s continued commitment to end the Darfur genocide. It is imperative that the U.S. Mission to the United Nations lead efforts to expand protection of Darfuri civilians and establish a viable peace process for Sudan. We recognize that the UNAMID civilian protection force is a critical component to providing on-the-ground security for the millions of internally-displaced persons in Darfur. UNAMID alone, however, will not deliver a just and lasting peace for the people of Sudan. The United States should pursue other options to bring peace to the region, including a sustained diplomatic initiative.

“The coalition urges President-elect Obama to identify the high-level official who will have day-to-day ownership of Sudan policy and responsibility for actions to end this genocide – on or before Inauguration Day. At the same time, Dr. Rice and her team in New York must maintain American support for UNAMID, the International Criminal Court’s war crimes investigation, and full implementation of all U.N. resolutions pertaining to Sudan. Also, the United States must be prepared to lead a strong international response when the ICC judges issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Bashir, which will likely come in the first weeks of the Obama administration.”


About the coalition – The Save Darfur Coalition – an alliance of 180 faith-based, advocacy and human rights organizations - raises public awareness about the ongoing genocide in Darfur and mobilizes a unified response to the atrocities that threaten the lives of people throughout the Darfur region. The coalition’s member organizations represent 130 million people of all ages, races, religions and political affiliations united together to help the people of Darfur. For more information on the coalition, please visit www.SaveDarfur.org. To obtain footage from the Darfur border region, coalition events, various interviews, and more, please visit the Save Darfur Coalition media gallery at http://media.savedarfur.org. All footage may be previewed in non-broadcast quality and may be purchased in broadcast quality by filling out the purchase request form provided on the site.

This email was sent to 96 members of Darfur Activist Leaders

This also came today:

Dear Sandra,

The ICC is expected to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir in the coming weeks—creating a chance for either great progress or great peril for the Darfuri people.

We must ensure that President Obama and his team hit the ground running to capitalize on this unique opportunity for peace, or we could see a dramatic resurgence in violence against civilians.

It's up to us to build public support for Day One action. That's why we're introducing the 10 in 10 for Darfur Challenge, asking our strongest supporters to get ten friends to sign a postcard to President-elect Obama.

Inauguration Day is less than a week away, so click here to get started now. Get ten friends to sign our postcard to President Obama within the first ten days of his administration, and you'll be entered to win a Save Darfur Inauguration Apparel collection, including our limited-edition Inauguration Day t-shirt.

You've already sent a postcard yourself—thank you. But ending the genocide will require a nationwide grassroots movement demanding leadership on Darfur, so we need your help again. It couldn't be easier to recruit your friends:

  1. Click here to join the 10 in 10 for Darfur challenge
  2. Enter the email addresses of friends and family members, asking them to join you in signing the postcard.
  3. Use our tool see who's responded to your invitation and track how close you are to your goal.
  4. When you reach ten, you'll automatically be entered in our contest to win Save Darfur Inauguration gear, including a limited-edition t-shirt (otherwise available only to Inauguration Day volunteers!), Save Darfur hat, and set of "Be A Voice for Darfur" stickers.

And there's no reason to stop at ten! Recruit even more people and increase your chances of winning. You get one contest entry for every ten people you bring on board. But the deadline is January 30, ten days into the Obama presidency.

Last month, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo bluntly told the United Nations that nearly six years after the violence first erupted, "the genocide continues." At her confirmation hearing Tuesday, Hillary Clinton promised to "sound the alarm" on Darfur. And today Susan Rice, a strong voice for Darfur and nominee to be the next ambassador to the United Nations, decried the "deficit of determination" to resolving crises like Darfur during her confirmation hearings.

This is a potential moment of promise or peril—so we need your help. Get 10 friends to ask President-elect Obama to show leadership on Darfur. You could win limited-edition inauguration apparel.

We could never have gotten this close to a major breakthrough without committed supporters like you. We can't afford to let up now. Thank you for all you've done.

In solidarity,

Allyn Brooks-LaSure
Save Darfur Coalition

Donate to Help Save Darfur
Help build the political pressure needed to end the crisis in Darfur by supporting the Save Darfur Coalition's crucial awareness and advocacy programs. Click here now to make a secure, tax-deductible online donation.


I don't need another Darfur t-shirt. I have something around 50 Darfur t-shirts now. And I don't like to wear t-shirts, though I will wear one of my many Darfur t-shirts just because of the reason. Won't you use your sense of justice, your freedom and your voice and sign the post card? add your voice


Daily News: Thursday, January 15, 2009

Reuters: Darfur rebels say clash with militias near key town. Rebels and government-backed militias clashed close to a strategic town in Sudan's South Darfur state on Thursday, insurgents and peacekeepers said, leaving an unknown number dead. The latest outbreak of fighting stoked tensions in the region ahead of a decision by the International Criminal Court on whether to issue an arrest warrant against Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for alleged war crimes in Darfur. The rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) told Reuters militia fighters loyal to a former insurgent leader attacked its forces close to the south Darfur town of Muhajiriya, a town 80 km (50 miles) from south Darfur's capital, Nyala.

Reuters: Sudan Army Bombs Darfur Rebels. Sudan's army said on Wednesday it had bombed rebel positions in Darfur, a rare admission of air attacks in the western region. A statement said planes bombed near Muhajiriya in south Darfur, targeting rebels who had rejected a 2006 peace agreement and the unconditional ceasefire declared by Bashir last year. No one was immediately available from Sudan's government to comment on whether the attacks broke the ceasefire or other agreements. Bombing is forbidden under terms of the 2006 deal and U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Reuters: UN council authorizes force to replace EU in Chad. The Security Council authorized on Wednesday a 5,000-strong U.N. military force to take over peacekeeping duties in turbulent eastern Chad from European Union troops who have been there for the past year. A Security Council resolution said the new force, whose mandate will initially run for a year, would contain a maximum of 5,200 military personnel and 300 police. It will take over from the 3,300-strong EUFOR on March 15 and, like the EU force, operate in part of the neighboring Central African Republic, which has also been affected by spillover from the Darfur conflict.

Reuters: Sudan detains opposition leader after Bashir remarks. Sudanese security agents arrested an influential opposition leader late on Wednesday, his family said, two days after he called on Sudan's president to hand himself into the International Criminal Court. Hassan al-Turabi, the first significant political figure to urge Bashir to surrender, was taken from his Khartoum home just after 11 p.m. (2000 GMT) his son Siddig al-Turabi told Reuters. "He is being arrested now. It may be for interrogation. It might be for long term internment," he said, adding the security officials had not explained the reason for the arrest.

Gurnee Review: Darfur Hero. Ethan Barhydt was honored recently by The Save Darfur Coalition as a "Darfur Hero" for his efforts organizing youth to raise awareness about the ongoing genocide. Barhydt's recent endeavor helped organize a benefit concert for a Sudanese Community Center in Chicago that featured the nationally acclaimed band State Radio. The event raised more than $3,000 for the community center and collected hundreds of pounds of school supplies for local Sudanese refugee children.


Daily Press Briefing: Wednesday, January 14, 2009


The press briefing by Press Secretary Dana Perino did not mention Darfur.


The January 14, 2009 daily press briefing did not mention Darfur.


The United Nations noon briefing contained the following announcement about Darfur:


Daily Media Monitoring Report can be found at http://www.unmis.org/english/2009Docs/mmr-jan14.pdf.


The morning press briefing from the Prime Minister’s Spokesman did not mention Darfur.

Richard M. Stazinski

National Outreach Coordinator

Save Darfur Coalition


Dear Sandra,

A new feature on Change.gov lets you bring your ideas directly to President Obama.

It's called the Citizen's Briefing Book, and it's an online forum where you can share your ideas, and rate or offer comments on the ideas of others.

The best-rated ones will rise to the top, and after the Inauguration, we'll print them out and gather them into a binder like the ones the President receives every day from experts and advisors. If you participate, your idea could be included in the Citizen's Briefing Book to be delivered to President Obama.

Visit the Citizen's Briefing Book now and share your ideas:


Citizen's Briefing Book


Genocide Ends

When Enough of Us

Stand Up Against It



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