Friday, February 20, 2009


"When the people relegated to doing good 'run' from doing good, the rest of us need to pick up the slack." Sandra Hammel
See below

"The United States has a moral obligation anytime you see humanitarian catastrophes..." Barack Obama

Barack Obama answers the Save Darfur Coalition
about his plan to end the genocide in Darfur
Posted on

"...And when you see a genocide whether it's in Rwanda, or Bosnia or in Darfur - that's a stain on all of us, that's a stain on our souls...

I think the level of commitment and the way that I've spoken out on this issue indicates not only knowledge but also passion in bringing an end to this crisis.

It's very encouraging to see activism based not on self interest but on a moral imperative. And it's especially heartening to see the young people engaged in expressing their idealism through this movement.

We can't say 'never again' and then allow it to happen again. And as President of the United States, I don't intend to abandon people or turn a blind eye to slaughter."

A mother and her child crossing a river. They are among the thousands of displaced people seeking refuge in Dogdoré, Chad. Nicholas D. Kristof/The New York Times

posted by Ann Curry February 18, 2009

Link to video at MSNBC
Clooney, Curry keep hope for Darfur

Look for more of George Clooney's videos this weekend on www.nightly.msnbc.com


Posted: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 1:41 a.m. by Daily Nightly Editor

by Ann Curry, NBC News

SOMEWHERE IN CHAD -- Our NBC News team has landed in Africa and is again heading to the edge of Darfur, gearing up to report a pivotal moment in this tragedy.

Anytime now the International Criminal Court will announce whether to issue an arrest warrant for the President of Sudan for the atrocities in Darfur, a region of Sudan.

About six years after a war between the government of Sudan and a rebel group unleashed systematic rapes, mass killings, and the burning of hundreds of villages, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions are still waiting in camps in Sudan and Chad, waiting for hope and justice.

As our news team moves from planes to vans toward this world of desperation, I think of a woman named Myriam, who survived the burning of her village called Tamajour, just two days before we found her under a tree. Her 5-year-old daughter was traumatized and refusing to eat. When we took her back to her village to salvage what she could, it was still smoldering. The only life she had ever known was in ashes.

I think of Khamis, 13-year-old orphaned when his mother was killed and his father was lost in an attack. When we last saw him, he was a boy alone, surviving on his wits and the kindness of others in a refugee camp. Still he was able to be a good student in the camp's school.

I think of Aziza, raped as a virgin at 17, by an Arab wearing a Sudanese uniform. She said he first wanted to know what tribe she belonged to. He told her, "You are black. You have no place here. We will push you out of here. This land will remain for us." Then he grabbed her tightly and raped her, biting her arm and neck to mark her a victim of rape.

In the hospital, we found elderly Gida Zakaria, severely burned when her thatched roof was set on fire. White gauze was wrapped around her slender body. She told us her husband couldn't move fast enough and was burned to death.

Caption for photo just above: Six-year-old Khalid (left) recovers at a hospital after a Janjaweed attack, flanked by his mother and sister. Click here to see more photography by the NBC News team and Ann Curry during a 2006 trip.

In a nearby room, a young man lay motionless, both his eyes bayoneted. At his side, his wife was weeping and his children sat stunned.

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has argued Sudan's President Omar al Bashir masterminded genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur and should be brought to justice.

What will the court decide? And what do the victims have to say about it?

Who more deserves a voice than the victims of atrocities?

Ann Curry will be filing reports for Nightly News, TODAY, and msnbc.com this week. Click here to read her 2006 blog entries.

Source: nightly.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/02/17

Ann Curry on twitter

Op-Ed Columnist

Trailing George Clooney

Nicholas D. Kristof/The New York Times
Children playing in a lake outside Dogdoré, Chad. This town on the Darfur border has become a refuge for thousands of people fleeing violence in the area.

Published: February 18, 2009

I was going to begin this column with a 13-year-old Chadian boy crippled by a bullet in his left knee, but my hunch is that you might be more interested in hearing about another person on the river bank beside the boy: George Clooney.

Mr. Clooney flew in with me to the little town of Dogdoré, along the border with Darfur, Sudan, to see how the region is faring six years after the Darfur genocide began. Mr. Clooney figured that since cameras follow him everywhere, he might as well redirect some of that spotlight to people who need it more.

It didn’t work perfectly: No paparazzi showed up. But, hey, it has kept you reading at least this far into yet another hand-wringing column about Darfur, hasn’t it?

So I’ll tell you what. You read my columns about Darfur from this trip, and I’ll give you the scoop on every one of Mr. Clooney’s wild romances and motorcycle accidents in this remote nook of Africa. You’ll read it here way before The National Enquirer has it, but only if you wade through paragraphs of genocide.

The Darfur conflict has now lasted longer than World War II, but this year could be a turning point — provided that President Obama shows leadership and that the world backs up the International Criminal Court’s expected arrest warrant for Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

The stakes are evident in this little market town of Dogdoré, whose normal population of just a few thousand has swelled to 28,000 desperate, fearful people driven from smaller villages. They don’t think it’s safe here, but they find some reassurance in numbers — and leaving town isn’t an option, either, because flying out from the dirt airstrip is the only way to avoid rampant banditry on the roads.

Aid workers were pulled from Dogdoré in the fall because of violence in the area, leaving people on their own. Aid workers have just returned, but the entire town remains on edge.

One of the first persons we met was Qatri Ibrahim, a young woman who fled her village when the Sudanese janjaweed militia attacked and shot her 5-year-old and 8-year-old sons. “I’m afraid,” she said grimly. “But there are other people here, so I stay.”

Nicholas D. Kristof/The New York Times

Children at a refugee camp near the town of Goz Beida, Chad

In Darfur and eastern Chad, you can randomly approach any group of people and find heartbreaking stories. Mr. Clooney was clowning around with a group of boys bathing in the river — taking their photo and showing it to them digitally — and that’s when we met the 13-year-old boy with the bullet in his knee.

He’s Suleiman Ahsan, and he was wearing a pair of blue shorts — the only clothes he has. He also has a machete scar on his forehead; both it and the bullet date from a janjaweed attack on his village two years ago that killed his father.

Last year, Suleiman joined a militia and became a child soldier to avenge his father. “Recruiters come to the camps looking for boys like me to fight,” Suleiman told us. “Boys of 10 or 12 are old enough.”

Suleiman said that he learned to shoot but found the soldier’s life too grueling, so he deserted. Now he’s back to struggling to find food.

The International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for President Bashir — widely expected in the coming weeks — has the area particularly on edge, for fear that Mr. Bashir could retaliate by using a proxy force to invade Chad.

The fact that Sudan’s state-sponsored slaughter of civilians goes on, year after year, in and out of Darfur, is a monument to the fecklessness of the international community. A spasm of that same fecklessness intruded on this trip with Mr. Clooney, who is traveling unofficially but is a United Nations goodwill ambassador.

* Apparently concerned that Mr. Clooney might say something strongly critical of Mr. Bashir — perhaps come down hard on genocide? — the United Nations called me on Wednesday to say that effective immediately it was pulling Mr. Clooney’s security escort as he traveled these roads along the border. Now that did seem petty and mean-spirited. A Frenchman working for Save the Children was murdered on such roads last year, and the U.N. requires a military escort for its own vehicles here.

If the U.N. is too craven to protect its own goodwill ambassadors — because they might criticize genocide — it’s not surprising that it and the international community fail to protect hundreds of thousands of voiceless Darfuris.

Oh, and now for the juicy truth about all of Mr. Clooney’s wild romances and motorcycle accidents. Darn — out of space. Wait for my next column from this trip on Sunday ...

I invite you to visit my blog, On the Ground. Please also join me on Facebook, watch my YouTube videos and follow me on Twitter.

A version of this article appeared in print on February 19, 2009, on page A27 of the New York edition.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2009/02/19

End of NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF article

On the Ground

Nicholas Kristof addresses reader feedback and posts short takes from his travels.

Go to Blog » Go to Columnist Page »


Nightly Newscast from February 19, 2009
which includes a report from Ann Curry about Sudan


Genocide Ends

When Enough of Us

Stand Up Against It




Write President Obama

You can also call or write to the President:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Comments to President Obama:




The White House available 9 AM - 5 PM EST weekdays


Call your Senators and Representative Today!

Find your elected politicians contact information at this link:



To call the USA Secretary of State


The USA State Department public comment line

works 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.


Sample of what to say:

* I'm calling to ask President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and Ambassador Rice to protect innocent civilians in Darfur in the wake of Bashir's arrest warrant. Please issue immediate warnings to Bashir and the government of Sudan specifying consequences of attacks on civilians. Please also prepare an emergency response plan to address further violence and appoint a full-time senior level envoy. Lastly, please stand firm in support of the ICC indictment and veto any delay in the prosecution of Bashir.










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