The following piece by Nicholas D. Kristof was featured in The New York Times:Has Obama Forgotten Darfur? "Darfur seems to have been forgotten, but the killings continue. After a lull, the pace of killings has increased lately, with some 600 people killed violently last month alone.
But the Security Council seems mum, frozen, passive, paralyzed. Instead of insisting that Sudan take further action, it shrugs and looks the other way. It used to be that the problem countries on the U.N. Security Council, in terms of getting action on the slaughter in Darfur, were China and Russia. But now the U.S. and Britain seem equally complicit.
In fact, I think the U.S. and Britain and other countries have bought into the argument that they need to focus on avoiding war in southern Sudan, and that means putting Darfur aside. I agree on the focus on the south, and I've been saying for years now that we need to move from trying to "Save Darfur" to "Save Sudan." There is a huge risk of a new civil war in the south that would cost many hundreds of thousands of lives, and the administration is right to try to prevent it. But the problem is that Darfur and southern Sudan are related problems, and ignoring Darfur doesn't diminish the risks in southern Sudan. On the contrary, it increases them."
Sudan Tribune:U.S. special envoy holds talks on Sudan with Egyptian officials. The presidential U.S. special envoy to Sudan Scott Gration today held talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo regarding the crisis in Darfur and the upcoming self-determination referendum in Southern Sudan. The Egyptian state media said that Gration discussed with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit the joint efforts to maintain peace and stability in Sudan.
VOA:ICC Prosecutor: Crimes Continue Against Civilians in Darfur. The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court says crimes are continuing against civilians in Darfur refugee camps despite efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice. Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the U.N. Security Council Friday that rape and other such gender crimes remain unabated in the Darfur region of Sudan. Moreno-Ocampo said there is a need for an updated and comprehensive report from the United Nations on the current situation in the camps and villages in order to know the true extent of the sexual violence.
Reuters: Sudan must ease Darfur travel ban -EU aid chief. Sudan must relax a near blanket ban on travel to remote parts of South Darfur to let aid groups reach areas hit by a resurgence of violence, the EU's commissioner for humanitarian aid said on Saturday. Aid groups said this week Sudanese security forces blocked flights and road trips in Darfur, stranding staff and stopping food deliveries.
Reuters: Sudan nomads attack flashpoint village-administrator. Arab tribesmen attacked a village in Sudan's highly charged Abyei border region, killing one civilian and injuring another, the territory's chief administrator said on Sunday. Tensions are mounting in Abyei ahead of a referendum due in January 2011 on whether the territory should join south Sudan.
Sudan Tribune: Darfur IDPs will not participate in peace talks before security improvement. Darfur Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) body said they would not take part in peace negotiations with the Sudanese government before the implementation of a number of measures aiming to improve security situation there.The Association of IDPs and Refugees of Darfur, a pro-rebel Sudan Liberation Movement of Abdel Wahid Al-Nur (SLM-AW) led by the influential Sheikh Abdallah Tahir, Saturday said in a statement to Sudan Tribune that they would not take part in the Doha peace talks before the disarmament of the pro-government militias.
The following is my Letter to the Editor printed in my local newspaper, The Newport (R.I.) Daily News for the December 23-24, 2006 edition on page A-10.
Native Americans again betrayed by government
It is time for admitting the injustices that we as a nation and a state have done and still do to the Americans who were here first.
The U.S. Supreme Court turned down the request of the Narragansett Indian Tribe to consider overturning the lower court ruling against them with the state of Rhode Island. Apparently according to a treaty the Indian Tribe signed – their land legally is not sovereign land, as other Indians’ lands are. The history of broken treaties with the Indians and the United States government, from the beginning to this day is appalling. When the treaties were broken – it ALWAYS fell in the favor of the government and never the Indians.
The Indians have been betrayed repeatedly by a government built on land stolen from them. The Declaration of Independence states “the inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an indistinguished Destruction of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions” imposes an unjustifiable description of the natives who were forced to fight to protect their established ways of life AND their land. Genocide of the Indians was authorized by those that came to this land as immigrants. Do you suppose the Indians wished they had united and built a fence to keep out immigrants? Injustice is a one-word sum total of the treatment of the Indians by the government.
A class-action lawsuit, Cobell v. Norton was filed on June 10, 1996, in U.S. District Court to force the federal government to account for billions of dollars belonging to approximately 500,000 American Indians and their heirs, and held in trust since the late 19th century. This money is missing. The money has been lost by the very federal agencies that were responsible to care for the funds belonging to Indians. Through document discovery and courtroom testimony, the case has revealed mismanagement, ineptness, dishonesty and delay by federal officials. Leading U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth declared their conduct "fiscal and governmental irresponsibility in its purest form”. This case has not been resolved to this day.
Putting myself in the shoes of the Indians, I would feel betrayed by a government that stands on the values expressed in the Declaration: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal …with certain unalienable Rights . . .” History would indicate that the reason the treaty between the State of Rhode Island and the Tribe, in regard to Narragansett Indians’ Smoke Shop, was upheld in court and NOT broken - is because to do so, favored the government and NOT the Indians.
I propose that the strength of a country is evidenced by the willingness to face and acknowledge the errors of its ways. It is time for admitting the injustices that we as a nation and a state have done and still do to the Americans who were here first. It would provide a turning point where the healing could begin. The Indians should not continue to be held hostage by racism institutionalized by law.
I love my life. I love where I live. And I am passionate about my passions. I love to dance. Necessary to live: music, piano, singing, writing, acting, painting.
I have been fighting for and supporting the arts all my adult life. Since 2004, I have been working with other activists to end the Darfur genocide.
I have traveled to Europe many times since my early twenties. Places I have been: many USA states including Hawaii, Montreal, Canada, Barbados, France, Spain, Luxembourg, England, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Greece and Germany - and have wonderful memories.
My last trip was in May - June 2013 to Spain.
I would like to travel to Europe and Kyoto, Japan.
I love the southwest where I have visited Hopi, Navajo, Zia and San Idlefonso potters.
Life is exciting and I intend to live it full-out to the end.
B.S. and M.M., both in music
Genocide is not only a word,
it is crying of the whole human race.
There is nothing redeeming about being silent
when speaking up is the humane thing to do.
The honor and integrity of the human race is at stake.
"...And these for whom life has no repose, live at times in their rare moments of happiness with such strength and indescribable beauty, the spray of their moment's happiness is flung so high and dazzingly over the wide sea of suffering, that the light of it, spreading its radiance, touches others too with its enchantment..." Hemann Hesse STEPPENWOLF