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Thursday, April 30, 2009

DEAR PRESIDENT OBAMA - HERE IS MY DISSENTING VOICE

A drawing by a Darfuri refugee child

Here is my latest (fourth) letter to our President about Darfur. Yes, it gets personal. But, I really don't know if it matters. He doesn't read these letters, but someone hopefully does. And I just wrote in my stream style of writing. I'm sending it the old-fashioned way - with a stamp.

April 30, 2009

GENOCIDE FLOURISHES WITHOUT ACCOUNTABILITY
Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction
of an ethnic, religious or national group.






The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

In Darfuri refugee camps, that are fortunate to be in Chad since March 4, 2009,
the following rations are for one month
for a family of five:
2.5 ounces of salt
6 cups of sugar
11 lbs of cereal
8 cups of oil
25 cups of yellow split peas
70 lbs of sorghum grain

I fasted today along with hundreds of others for the Darfuri people. I noticed I had no energy and I was tired. I couldn’t go about my yard work as was on my list of things to do. And this was only for a single day. The Darfuri children and adults do this every day for years now. And those are the fortunate ones who aren’t inside the Sudanese borders where no food, no water and no medical attention is getting to one million of our brothers and sisters. As I am sure you know, since March 4, 2009, the humanitarian agencies’ aid workers have been forced out by the very President who made it necessary for them to come to Sudan in the first place.

On this day of chosen fasting, on rations that I would have as a Darfuri refugee in camp Djabal, the irony for me was that, I was in my local grocery store shopping for food to take home and put in my refrigerator and cupboards. The rations that I was to live on today are the following:
Cracked Wheat - Daily, 7 oz. (weight not volume) (686 Calories)
Farina Wheat Cereal - Daily - 1.17 oz (weight not volume) (123 Calories)
Yellow Split Peas - Daily 1/6 Cup (82 Calories)
Oil - Daily 2.4 TSPNs (96 Calories)
Sugar - Daily 2 TSPNs (30 Calories)
Salt - Daily 1/10 Teaspoon per day.
Total of 1,017 Calories

President Obama, I am shocked over your administration’s lack of leadership regarding Darfuri families. Extermination by dehydration, starvation and diseases of cholera, meningitis and diarrhea are already happening increasingly since March 4, 2009.

Hearing what our Special Envoy Gration said on his trip to Khartoum recently, I find myself in disbelief. Gration used the word “friendship” when referring to a man you said was behind the genocide on his own people. Is diplomacy with the perpetrators of the genocide really going to be your policy for ending a genocide? You are a smart man and I am sure you know the history of Bashir saying one thing and doing another. Why are you disregarding the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant out for President Bashir and his genocide associated crimes?

How can you believe that we can affectively use diplomacy with a génocidaire? When you ran for President, you said you wanted, we the people, to let you know when you are wrong. You are wrong. You are wrong because you are not taking the lead on handling the Darfuris situation. You are wrong because your administration is talking as if Bashir is a rational human being who can have a shred of trustworthiness. We need your leadership regarding Sudan and the Darfuri families. We need your leadership for the short term. We need it for the long term. We need you to be the man you claim to be on this defining issue. It defines us because of what you choose to do and what you choose not to do. I don’t want to be defined by another administration who says “never again” and means it only in the terms of what sounds good in the immediate moment.

"The United States has a moral obligation anytime you see humanitarian catastrophes...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.” Barack Obama http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEd583-fA8M Where is this man? I would stand with him in any kind of storm.

Darfur and genocide are deeply important issues to me. For the first time in my life, I volunteered for a candidate this past election. And it was for you. I remember being so disappointed January 8, 2008, when we all expected to be at the Primary Night Party in Nashua South High School celebrating a victory. As a volunteer I was in a special section, and was standing where you and Michelle entered and exited that night. It was the “Yes We Can” night. I remember the rhythm of the first and second “Yes We Cans” and knew you were going to keep up the rhythm for a rousing acceleration. I remember calling out to you as you exited, “Good-bye, President Obama!” Irish TV requested to interview me on camera that night and their reporter asked me why I was for you and not the other candidates. My answer was that you weren’t promising to solve our problems for us, but calling us to get involved and solve the problems along side you. My picture was taken by AP and shown in many newspapers across the country, as well as on many websites – a picture of my response to watching CNN on the big screen when you edged closer to Hillary Clinton. When the photographer section ask for my name, I handed them my Save Darfur card.

I believed what you said in your interview with the Save Darfur Coalition (which by the way isn’t solely made up of high school and college age students), and is still on Youtube. We need you to be engaged as you led us to believe you would be.

Following Gration to Khartoum and representing you, was Senator John Kerry, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. When I volunteered for the “Obama for America” campaign, I was asked to introduce Senator John Kerry to the Obama volunteers in the Newport, Rhode Island Obama campaign office at the corner of Thames and Memorial. One thing I noticed as I volunteered for you and spoke of that day was the impression the young people have made on me. Made while volunteering along side them for your candidacy and also for the work that http://www.StandNow.org does for Darfuri families to survive a genocidal government. The young people are standing up and being counted for what is important. And Darfur is important. And the story defines us as a nation and a human race. It is a more defining issue than our economy crisis.

Senator Kerry signaled on his recent April Sudan trip, that the USA is prepared to grant Khartoum what it has wanted for years – the removal from the USA list of state sponsors of terrorism. “Kerry, who says a new dialogue has been brought about by Obama's special Sudan envoy Scott Gration, suggested diplomacy could eventually result in a lifting of sanctions against Sudan and its removal from a US list of state sponsors of terrorism. ‘Absolutely. That is entirely on the table. I can't tell you when, that's a decision President Obama makes,’ said Kerry.” (Reuters [dateline: el-Fasher], April 17, 2009)

President Obama, it frightens me that this talk may be true. If you are serious, then I want my dissenting voice to be clear. I believe you are wrong to shake hands with a génocidaire and to try to be “friends” with him. And I believe you are wrong to think you can trust Omar al-Bashir. He has never shown he is trustworthy. I don’t believe he is going to change because you have the gift of bringing people together. I feel like the man I thought you were has deserted me. When I first signed on to your “Obama for America” website, my page stated one thing: I am for Barack Obama for President because I believe he will make a difference and end the genocide on the unarmed Darfuri families.

Please remember Martin Luther King’s words: “In the end, we remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” And Elie Wiesel’s words "...to remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all..." The collective indifference to this human disaster is numbing and stunning. Words mean something. But so do our inactions.

Please go out on a limb and do what is right regarding our humanity. We who believe in our goodness as a human race will be right there with you.

Sincerely,

In the month of April – Genocide Prevention Month there were 450 ACT NOW FOR DARFUR events across the USA – Youtube link of our Rhode Island event:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQH-BIS4taE

Included in the text with our Youtube video:

MALNUTRITION
When food is not readily available, the body is thrown off balance, which results in weight loss from the digestion of body fat first, then muscle, then vital organs to keep the body alive.

With extreme malnutrition comes starvation. The skin hangs on the body, the facial contours change with temple wasting as a giveaway sign. Hair begins to lose pigment, thin, and then fall out. The person becomes so weak that appetite is radically diminished: the effort to eat and the energy needed to digest exceed bodily strength. Lethargy, apathy and onset of opportunistic diseases (bacterial, parasitic) besiege the helpless system.

In open circumstances, such as starving populations, disease usually kills first.

Kwashiorkor is a disease of children caused by protein deficiency in malnutrition. Signs of this are orange hair, swollen bellies from liver disease, vomiting, diarrhea (which contains undigested food), ulcerated peeling skin and sloughing of tissue/development of ulcers throughout the digestive tract. Extreme pain is present. The ulcers are entry points for bacteria and death usually occurs from overwhelming infection.

THIRST AND DEHYDRATION
Thirst drives a person to consume fluids of all types and juicy foods to make up the deficit.Unless fluid intake is successful, signs of dehydration occur, the most obvious of which is tenting. Gently pinching up a bit of flesh on the back of the hand creates a small tent which should fill and sink back if all is well. If there is dehydration, the tent stays up.

Sudden life-threatening dehydration brings on cholera. A healthy adult can die from cholera in 2-6 hours because of the acute and massive diarrhea it causes. There is no effective vaccine and antibiotics do not act quickly enough.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Is President Obama’s Sudan Policy Becoming One of Capitulation?”
www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article31042

The Sudan Tribune
By Eric Reeves
April 28, 2009

Activisit Brief on Obama and Sudan www.enoughproject.org/publications/president-obama-and-sudan-blueprint-peace-0

President Obama and Sudan Blueprint for Peace

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Write to President Obama
http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
Tell him we need his leadership for the short and long run
on the issue of genocide and the
6 year old genocide on the unarmed Darfuri civilians, families.

President Obama can be called:
202-456-1111
or
1-800-GENOCIDE

Find USA elected politicians contact information at this link:
www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

Check this out
www.darfurscores.org
Your elected officials get graded on Darfur

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JOIN OTHERS TO PUT AN END TO GENOCIDE
www.enoughproject.org
www.savedarfur.org
www.standnow.org

Urge UN and Sudanese Ambassadors to use their influence to press the government of Sudan to fully restore humanitarian aid in and around Darfur.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JOIN IN THE FAST FOR DARFURIS FREEDOM TO LIVE

There will be 2 fasting options: water only, and refugee rations that mirrors the rations people get in the refugee camps that we have observed.

To join Darfur Fast for Life for one day or more, send an e-mail to join@fastdarfur.org with your name, date(s) fasting, hometown, and form of fasting you will participate in (water only or refugee rations). Please be sure to check with your doctor, if you intend on doing any extended form of fasting.

Water only fast

In this fast only water is consumed.

Refugee rations fast

Cracked Wheat - Daily, 7 oz. (weight not volume) (686 Calories)
Farina Wheat Cereal - Daily - 1.17 oz (weight not volume) (123 Calories)
Yellow Split Peas - Daily 1/6 Cup (82 Calories)
Oil - Daily 2.4 TSPNs (96 Calories)
Sugar - Daily 2 TSPNs (30 Calories)
Salt - Daily 1/10 Teaspoon per day.

Total of 1,017 Calories

People Fasting in Solidarity are listed at
fastdarfur.org

Darfur Fast for Life was created so that you and many more around the world can participate in saying no to the status quo on Darfur. Mia will be blogging here and at MiaFarrow.org. Others will join by participating in water-only and/or “refugee rations” fasts to bring attention to the immediate humanitarian crisis in Darfur created by the expulsion of aid organizations by the government of Sudan. Darfur Fast for Life demands from our leaders around the world to be ambitious and work on creating lasting peace in Sudan and guaranteeing the respect for the human rights of all.Darfur Fast for Life

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rome Tennis Update

Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Rome


Photo credit: Daylife

Rafael Nadal defeated Robin Soderling 6-1, 6-0
April 30, 2009
Soderling won the first game, then Rafa went on to win the next 12 games.

Friday, May 1, 2009
Quarter Final: Rafa Nadal vs. Fernando Verdasco

The match is scheduled as the third day match on Stadio Pietrangeli.

Play starts at 1:00 PM local time (Rome)
and 7:00 AM USA, EDT

To enlarge click the Order of Play above.



Round 2 match with Soderling
Photo credits: Daylife

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