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Friday, June 19, 2009

THE BEAUTIFUL DARFURI PEOPLE SPEAK ON LIVE FEED JUNE 20, 2009 - AND SOUNDS LIKE SCOTT GRATION IS WORKING FOR KHARTOUM ADMINISTRATION?


Action: World Refugee Day - Saturday June 20, 2009
Posted by Katie-Jay on June 14th, 2009

World Refugee Day (WRD) is a time of celebration. To honor the survivors who were forced fled their homes and sought refuge and safety from violence. To recognize them as part of us. WRD is also a time to reflect on the root causes of mass atrocities and solutions to bring those who were forced to run back home. It should be a day of action, as action is the very best way to honor and celebrate the sorrows and triumphs of humanity by connecting with humanity in the toughest of times.

On Saturday June 20, 2009, World Refugee Day will be celebrated around the world in internally displaced person’s camps and refugee camps throughout the world. This year’s theme is Real People, Real Needs. We ask you can be part of this day and to bring celebration and action into you life.

ACTIONS:

1. Participate in a live web streaming from Chad refugee camps. Follow our team as they capture the daily life and special WRD events. Ask questions via the live chat, and spread the word via your online social networks.

2. In solidarity with and in honor of the theme, Real People, Real Needs, fast from midnight to midnight for WRD - join here.

3. During the World Refugee Day web streaming, invite a few friends and family to your home to share in the experience. The live streaming and chat offer the opportunity for you to actively deepen the relationship between your community and refugees. Making our very large world personal is part of the long term solution that can create peace, justice and equality.

Pictures taken June 18, and 19, 2009 in Darfuri refugee camp
Camp Djabal
All photo credits: http://www.stopgenocidenow.org/iact/iact8/day5
Enlarge photos by clicking on them.


More information about the live feed June 20, 2009 in text of this email received:

Hello Family and Friends,

Watching today's video of the i-ACT field team connecting the people in Refugee Camp Djabal with Washington D.C I was ...well, I was going to use the word "inspired" but that word can't quite sum up the overwhelming emotions and renewed sense of commitment I felt while watching the video. These are everyday people who saw what was happening in Darfur and decided they needed to do something, even if it was something seemingly small, like signing a petition or posting a flier. The i-ACT field team has since been to eastern Chad eight times and on this particular trip used satellite technology to provide a two-way video conversation between our Darfuri friends in camp Djabal and an audience in DC with Angelina Jolie, Ann Curry, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, and hundreds of others. Pretty impressive for a group of "everyday" people like you and I.

Tomorrow (June 20, 2009) our i-ACT field team will be providing yet another real time satellite feed from Camp Djabal and this time YOU get to be the live audience.

DAY 5 ACTION:

Tomorrow is World Refugee Day 2009: Real People, Real Needs.

Tune in to the live feed from Camp Djabal. It's over several hours so please make time to join us. There will be an interactive, live chat and twitter feed through the website. Invite your friends.

"Don't tune out. Tune In."

Thank you for all you do,
Cory for the i-ACT Team

i-ACT 8: June 15 - 24, 2009

i-ACT Team is back in Darfuri refugee camps in Chad for 10 consecutive days of video webcasts.
Watch the latest video here »

iACT Stop Genocide Now team on twitter:

http://twitter.com/iact/statuses/2234256155




Set up for live feed from Camp Djabal to Washington, D.C.



Gabriel Stauring and friends at Camp Djabal



Above photos from Day 5 of iACT8
Credit: Stop Genocide Now
Gabriel Stauring






Above photos from Day 4 of iACT8
Credit: Stop Genocide Now
Gabriel Stauring

Day 5 Action: Tune In
Posted by Katie-Jay on June 19th, 2009

IMG_1706.JPGI have had many discussions in the past few years about why people choose to look the other way about Darfur. Or about most part a majority of the human rights violations and mass atrocities around the world. I think many times it’s because if we know, we bear the moral responsibility to act. But it is not just that. Once we know what is going on, we look at our own lives differently, we change, we grow, we hurt more, and we love more.

Tomorrow - June 20 ~ is World Refugee Day 2009: Real People, Real Needs.

Tune in to the live feed from Camp Djabal. It’s over several hours so please make time to join us. There will be an interactive, live chat and twitter feed through the website. Invite your friends with this flyer or leave them at a neighborhood coffee house.

Don’t tune out. Tune In.

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i-ACT8 Stop Genocide Stop Day 5
Preparation for Live Feed from Darfuri refugee camp - Camp Djabal to Washington, D.C.
Refugee friend, Rahma, and Annette Rehl from UNHCR are ready to go.
Uploaded by stopgenocidenow

Email received today:

Dear Friends and Family,

Walking the camps can be truly inspiring at times. The children laughing and smiling. Racing next to them or playing futbol or simply chasing them. Women balancing water or wood stop for a photo, then giggle when you show them.

Watch the video of children as they phone our president and laugh.

Camp Djabal is part of our community. Their smiles are shared with us, and also their hardships. I cannot know how they feel, but I know my heart aches when theirs does.

Watch the video of an old friend working through hard times. And take today's action to support him and every Darfurian.

ACTION:

Today, Thursday June 18, 2009, Secretary of State Clinton was scheduled for a special event in honor of World Refugee Day in Washington DC with Angelina Jolie, Ann Curry, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Anontio Guterres. i-ACT brought our friend Rahma and many of his friends from Chad, through video, to meet Secretary of State Clinton and the other VIPs. You too can be part of i-ACT by TEXTing Cinton at 90822. Send her this message:

Today, Rahma from Refugee Camp Djabal spoke to your Washington DC event. What are you doing to help him and his family return home to Darfur?

Much Peace,
KTJ

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Uncomfortable
Posted by Gabriel on June 19th, 2009

Abdulaziz had a small plate with cookies at the end of our live event with DC. UNHCR brought some for the refugees, and our teacher friends wanted to include us in the snacking. Everyone from i-ACT, in chorus, said no thank you and please give to the children that were still crowding around our makeshift movie theater.

In a matter of seconds, the moment Abdulaziz turned around, a cloud of sand kicked up from all the children rushing the plate with a few cookies, the cookies flying in all directions, and the children diving on the ground, pulling and pushing to get one little morsel. They had a serious, intense look in their eyes. There was no laughing.

It felt very uncomfortable to see that. Abdulaziz immediately asked the children to move back and put the plate up high, where they could not reach. The little boys and girls stepped back. As soon as Abdulaziz turned around, children crawled on the ground and started to dig through the sand to grab any crumbs that were left behind.

It makes me uncomfortable to even write this and have the images, so very clear, jump in and out of my mind.

Words people don’t like to hear vs. a comforting word.
Posted by Eric on June 19th, 2009

Genocide, murder, rape. These are all powerful words that are almost always used in an explanation of Darfur. These aren’t nice words that people like to hear. Many will do all that they can to avoid them, look away, turn and walk the other direction, change the channel on the TV.

“Home”

Did that scare you? Did you turn the channel?

“I want to go home”

IMG_5889.JPG That is one of the first phrases children learn in life. Except for wanting to be with one’s Mom, wanting to go home is probably the most universal human desire. “I want to go home to Darfur” is what we continue to hear from so many people in Camp Djabal. I don’t think that a lot of people really understand this desire to go home, and the paramount importance of it. I recently read a comment to a Darfur blog where the person suggested that maybe the refugee camps could be setup as new sovereign states with their own governments. The person was trying to be helpful, but in my opinion, that suggestion gets it all wrong. The people of Darfur have been expelled from their home, and they want to return. A whole population of people being driven from their homes by their own government and not allowed to return in safety and peace, is a violation of basic human rights.

Day to day protection and shelter are basic needs that everyone understands, but the long term goal of returning home in safety and peace is something that people also need to understand and remember.


At the Same Point in Time
Posted by Katie-Jay on June 19th, 2009

IMG_1660.JPG I didn’t feel like writing a journal today. I am tired, short on sleep, and could use a good meal. When I saw the video from today, I cried. Not because we were challenged by an obstacle totally out of our control 10 minutes before we were supposed to be live and pulled it off. But because I am so proud that we were able to virtually connect advocates and survivors across oceans to build one community, actually looking at one another, listening and feeling at the same point in time. This is i-ACT: Interactive-Activism.

In Rahma’s message to Washington DC he wished for three things:

  1. “al-Bashir needs to go”;
  2. Secondary schools and English teachers;
  3. For Darfurians to go home.

IMG_5888.JPG I know they were listening. I know you’re listening. Seeing again the images in today’s video that Washington DC saw, I could not hold back the emotion. How powerful the possibilities are now to connect the world and its advocates to the most vulnerable populations. We are almost limitless in our ability to make an impact.

ktj


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Below, from iACT Day 4~ the parts that weren't posted yet when I uploaded my last blog post

Refugee Cool
Posted by Ian on June 18th, 2009

IMG_1448.JPG There’s a new kind of cool to me. It’s refugee cool. It’s not the type of cool you see in New York or LA night clubs, it’s not the attitude or the clothes or the accessories…it’s not having the new Wii game…it’s not the overly dressed yet laid back hipsters…it’s not even Wyclef or Lauryn Hill…it’s a moving target of X-factor’s.

In this case, it’s a teenager name Rahma whose mother is laying on a slab of concrete outside an old stone building, which serves as the hospital, sick from malaria; keeps on smiling and showing up for an on camera rehearsal for a live satellite feed to Washington DC. Rahma’s favorite thing in his world is school. That’s refugee cool.

Abdullaziz, rides a motorcycle, wears an Obama-USA belt, knows almost everyone in the camp, serves as a translator and good will ambassador to the i-ACT team, is the manager for the newly renamed Obama School Co-Education for Basic, and somehow knows how to control a crowd of over enthusiastic kids with a very subtle gesture or word, when no one else has the ability to do so. I call him the “Kid Whisperer.” What’s more, Abdullaziz will go on camera, anytime, anywhere, and call out Obama on his campaign promise to help the refugees of Darfur. His single largest trait is respect for his fellow citizens of Camp Djabal. That’s refugee cool.

The women that carry a heavy bucket of water on their head, and sometimes a sleeping baby on their back, two or three times a day, for their whole family…including the animals. Then a few kick in to shovel clay cement for the new shelter project for brick housing. That’s refugee cool.

IMG_1548.JPGA group of kids, that have probably never seen an iPhone, are game for a video gag to call President Obama, and pull if off as if they’ve all had iPhones. They’re ability to mimic the words and intention are unmatched, and their enthusiasm for trying something new is beyond belief. After the first few tries, I was no longer directing, the kids were directing each other. They knew what I was doing, and they were all pitching in their opinion on how to get the shot right. That’s refugee cool.

Nobody is complaining or saying they’re having a bad day, or getting depressed. They are producing and proactive about making their camp a better place to live.

So in the future, if you’re ever hanging out with me, and I say to you something is “Refugee cool,” I am paying someone or something the highest compliment possible.

Posted by Gabriel on June 18th, 2009

Rahma!

Rahma is one special boy. If you meet him once, you will remember him. “He is clever,” the teachers tell us. Rahma’s smile is what gets you first, but there is so much beyond that positive exterior. He is very thoughtful. He thinks about the outside world and wonders about his future in this big sphere he is so interested in knowing.

“I want to learn,” Rahma tells us.

Today, the Rahma smile was not always there. After visiting his mother at the camp hospital where she has been for three days, sick with Malaria, he turned to me with a pained look in his face, one I had not seen before, and said, “I am angry today.” I believe he meant sad, but angry is also very appropriate.

I just asked my teammates, “Who will be mentioning Rahma in your blog today?” Everyone raised their hand.

Peace, G (that's G for Gabriel)

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Day 5 iACT Stop Genocide Now photos
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stopgenocidenow/3638920377/

Day 4 iACT Stop Genocide Now photos
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stopgenocidenow/3636461503/

Day 4 Tech iACT Stop Genocide Now photos
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stopgenocidenow/3633543292/
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Don’t forget to plan on checking in with our live video feed for Saturday June 20th, World Refugee Day, from Camp Djabal.

Help spread the word. Put a button on your blog. Go to this link to get the code for the button
http://www.stopgenocidenow.org/iact


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To enlarge click it.

Scott Gration, President Obama's Special Envoy to Sudan is a disaster. He needs to step down and President Obama needs to prove he was not just campaigning when he said

"The United States has a moral obligation anytime you see humanitarian catastrophes…we have the most stake in creating an order in the world that is stable...in which people have hope and opportunity 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 was the first along with Senator Brownback to focus on ratcheting up sanctions and getting an envoy in there who was serious. We worked diligently to get the Darfur Peace and Accountability act passed…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 moral imperative …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.”
See it here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEd583-fA8M
November 2007



“It is not acceptable to put that many people’s lives at risk,” Obama said about the Darfuris and the expelled humanitarian agencies for the Internally Displaced People of Darfur. “We need to be able to get those humanitarian organizations back on the ground.” President Obama


If you want to help

Call the White House 202-456-1111 with this message:

I am extremely disappointed at the slow and weak response of the Obama administration to the crisis in Sudan and Darfur .

Please replace Special Envoy Gration with someone ready to take immediate action to pressure Sudan , as President Obama promised during the campaign.

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Below is from
http://paxcommunications.org/news/2009/06/19/gration-must-go-say-darfur-activists-from-coast-to-coast/

“Gration must go,” say Darfur activists from coast to coast

gration2 Darfur activists across the country are asking concerned citizens to join with them in calling upon the President to 1) replace General Scott Gration as Special Envoy to Sudan and 2) to follow through on his campaign promise to take IMMEDIATE action to PRESSURE Sudan to end the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. (Please take the suggested actions at the bottom of this post.)

According to leading Darfur activists, yesterday’s press conference with General Scott Gration confirmed their worst fears that he is the wrong person for the job. “I fear we are going from bad to worse with Envoy Gration,” said Eric Cohen, Chairperson of the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur.

Cohen was responding to the very concerning article in the Washington Post which reports that Gration has advocated easing some American sanctions and upgrading U.S. diplomatic relations with Sudan’s government to induce cooperation. According to the Post, Gration’s conciliatory approach has stalled high-level talks within the Obama administration to finalize a comprehensive policy plan to be presented to Cabinet members and later to the president.

In Gration’s first press conference, he contradicted US policy by downplaying the genocide (referring to “remnants of genocide” only) and declaring over the humanitarian crisis that was brought on by GoS expelling 16 NGO (”we’ve closed the gap.”)

Having come to the Special Envoy role with no experience with Sudan nor diplomacy, one has to wonder what lessons Gration has learned from President Omer al-Bashir’s catastrophic 20-year reign of terror in Sudan.

Activists understandably feel betrayed by the Administration. Tough talk regarding Darfur helped get Obama elected. Then after a long delay, Obama finally selected Special Envoy Gration. Gration then travels to Sudan with “no preconceptions” and visits model IDP camps under the supervision of the GoS and proclaims, in essence, “it’s not so bad.” Gration has had no tough reactions nor suggested any consequences for the expulsion of 16 NGOs, the ongoing bombings, the executions of Darfuris without due process and other ongoing atrocities comitted by the Government of Sudan.

According to Darfuri sources here in the United States, the NCP leadership is doing cartwheels of delight following this press conference. Khartoum seems to have the man they want in Washington — Scott Gration.

Please contact the White House in any of the following ways immediately and call for the replacement of Envoy Gration with someone ready to take IMMEDIATE action to PRESSURE Sudan, as Obama promised during the campaign:

1) Call the White House at 202-456-1111. Lines are often busy. Keep trying.
2) Fax the White House at 202-456-2461
3) Email the White House at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
4) Become a fan of the WH Facebook page and post a comment at http://www.facebook.com/WhiteHouse
5) Send a message via Twitter to @whitehouse. Follow at http://twitter.com/whitehouse

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Write to President Obama
http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

You can also write to the President at:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

President Obama can be called:

202-456-1111
or
1-800-GENOCIDE

The White House comment line is available
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. weekdays

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

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