Wednesday, March 10, 2010

PRESIDENT OBAMA - WHAT DID YOU MEAN WHEN YOU SAID: 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.”?

As a part of the grassroots campaign Sudan Sham 2010, I am writing President Obama daily. Below are two of the emails.


"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.” Presidential candidate Barack Obama

March 4, 2010

Sudan Sham 2010

Dear President Obama,

I write to you about Sudan. I cannot put it firmly enough in printed words how disappointed I am in your lack of interest in this deeply defining issue of humanity and justice. For me, this is proven by allowing US Special Envoy Gration to remain in his position, even while the people who are victims of the genocidal regime and still alive don’t have any confidence in him.

The only way for me to be convinced that you meant what you said about genocide and Darfur prior to becoming President is for you to actively become engaged in the Sudan policy set by your administration.

The State Department has not publicly disclosed the precise benchmarks it is applying to assess progress in Sudan. But clearly, whatever the benchmarks, things have only gotten worse since your administration has been in office. I am not blaming your administration for everything that has gone wrong, however I do hold your administration accountable for being willing to work with Omar al-Bashir, as if he isn’t a central part of the problems in Sudan. For example, the corrupt regime in Khartoum has at every turn blocked political reforms necessary for free and fair elections to take place. The government of Sudan's increased intimidation by kidnapping and killing citizens during the time running up to the election is proof this election is a sham.

The election will only be used to legitimize this genocidal regime led by the man indicted by the ICC for “crimes against humanity” and “war crimes”, President Omar al-Bashir. And yet, our government is showing no signs that it gets what is going to be the outcome of these misnamed “elections”. They won’t be a sign of anything other than the international community turning its head once again, when it should be looking straight into the face of a dictator who is only playing with us. While we are foolish about the truth, the genocide goes on actively and passively, simultaneously. In 2009 and 2010, genocide is tolerated because we don’t have the political will to make ending it a priority.

What will be your legacy regarding Sudan and genocide? I, as many grassroots activists, do not want to continue to be defined by complicity regarding stopping and preventing genocide.

Most sincerely,

Sandra Hammel
Use Your Voice to Stop Genocide RI
Leading Rhode Island in Sudan Sham 2010 campaign

and the message of March 9, 2010

Dear President Obama,

Feb. 2, 2010 during his congressional testimony on the U.S. government's annual threat assessment, Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair stated "Looking ahead over the next five years, a number of countries in Africa and Asia are at significant risk for a new outbreak of mass killing…Among these countries, a new mass killing or NOCIDE, Southern Sudan, Bush DOESN'T CARE ABOUT DARFUR, genocide is most likely to occur in Southern Sudan."

Traditionally, the U.S. government talks tough about genocides and mass atrocities, but does little more than talk.



President Bill Clinton stood by while intervening simply by jamming radio signals in Rwanda could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. George W. Bush's administration said that the violence in Darfur was genocide, but made no real efforts to explain to our citizens how it was a threat to U.S. interests. Now, Blair has stated out loud what human beings with active consciences have known. And that is that mass killings are not only moral issues, but are threats to the national security of the United States. And since our governmental leaders operate as politicians first and human beings second, we could choose to act on behalf of our own interests and still be the caring country we like to believe that we are. And for me, an important part to this story is that, it is common sense and humanity centered decisions that could make a big difference for those suffering under a genocidal regime. We certainly shouldn’t be giving 95 million US tax dollars to assist Omar al-Bashir pretend he is leading a free and fair election this April 11.

In Foreign Policy Magazine in “How Genocide Became a National Security Threat” by Abramowitz and Woocher, it reads “Genocide's negative consequences for the United States are increasingly plain. Mass violence destabilizes countries and entire regions, threatening to spread trafficking in drugs, arms, and persons, as well as infectious disease pandemics and youth radicalization. When prevention fails, the United States invariably foots much of the bill for post-atrocity relief and peacekeeping operations - to the tune of billions of dollars. And even as Washington is paying, America's soft power is depleted when the world's only superpower stands idle while innocents are systematically slaughtered.”

It is in our best interest to stop soft shoeing around the “crimes against humanity and war crimes’ criminally charged President Bashir of Sudan. It is time to stay true to your words: "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.”

Not only are we US citizens, who speak up on this deeply defining issue watching your actions and lack of actions regarding this, but those directly effected by your lack of leadership are well aware of what you have said versus what you have done about Darfur and Sudan. It only leaves me to wonder if you genuinely care. And as one who volunteered for your campaign for weeks, stepping outside of my comfort zone to go door to door for you to become our President, I am truly disappointed.

Mr. Gration is not working out in his role as US Special Envoy to Sudan. The marginalized Sudanese people that most need help have no confidence in him. And the longer you have him in this position, the less confidence they have in you.

And the Sudan Policy Review is a mystery, lacking transparency and accountability. Since, the Sudan Policy’s quarterly review just happened, we should be able to see some actions, as a result. Sudan has clearly violated benchmarks, and your policy promised consequences if and when this happens. The “unstinting resolve” that you, President Obama, promised regarding Darfur is at best, thin resolve.

I would like to see some resolve to show some engagement on this issue. Your leadership is needed and could make a world of difference to the indifference so far the world has shown.

Where there is a will, there is always a way and where there isn’t a will, there is never a way. Let’s have the courage to use political will to make a change. Change we can believe in.

Sincerely yours,

Sandra Hammel
Use Your Voice to Stop Genocide RI
Leading Rhode Island 2010 in Sudan Sham 2010 campaign

GENOCIDE WILL only STOP WITH US - Our leaders have taught us this

Jenn Marlowe, author and director of the film
Darfur Diaries
book signing
just before the screening of the film by the same name.

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