Saying Never Again, Again
In recent news a Norwegian Aid agency has had to pull out of the region. The Norwegian Refugee Council is currently assisting 300,000 people (of roughly 2 million displaced persons), but is at the mercy of the government which has held up their work 210 days total since they started in 2004. The group feels it can do more good elsewhere.
Another BBC News report says that the Janjaweed militia killed at least 63 people in recent attacks in Darfur, at least 27 of the victims are thought to be children under the age of 12. It was these same fighters who displaced the 2 million refugees from their homes and have led to what is estimated to be 400,000 deaths so far. The Janjaweed are the local militias in Darfur widely reported to be connected to the Sudanese government.
In 2004, Episcopal Priest John Danforth served as an American envoy to the Sudan to broker peace. In a press conference after his visit he was asked if Americans cared and he responded,
Are the American people concerned about the people of Darfur? Yes, they are. Are the American people aware of the disaster of Darfur? Yes, they are. Are the American people aware of the stories of burning and rape and plunder and displaced persons? Yes, they are. And do the American people, to their credit, stand up for people half way around the world who are so different from what they are, but are human beings? Yes, the American people care about them.I want to think my brother priest was right, that we do care about those halfway around the world and yet two years have passed, thousands more have died and I have done nothing, nor have we.
As I have preached before (see Strong Weakness) I usually find power in situations of powerlessness. But in the case of genocide, I see nothing but pathos, loss. Is there any response I am missing other than prayer? We have said "Never again" and now it has been happening again for 3 years and we have done little to stop it.
Two places to find out more are the Wikipedia article on the Dafur Conflict and the "learn" page at SaveDafur.com
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church