Saturday, July 23, 2005

darfur and the power of one voice

thursday after work, i drove to the embarcadero to catch a few of my favorite bands play for free in justin herman plaza. their goal, other than to share their amazing gift of music was to raise awareness for the situation in darfur, sudan.

you may ask, what situation in darfur?- which is exactly what i asked.

darfur is experiencing genocide. letters were read, some by children on behalf of the sudanese writers, still in the sudan, describing rape and murder, abuse and desperation to seek refugee status elsewhere. kofi annan declared it a genocide situation earlier this year, and yet nothing is happening, set into place to directly address and deal with the atrocities.

NBC ran 352 segmants on tom cruise alone in the month of june. they ran 5 segments on darfur. if steps are not taken to bring about some form of action, an estimated 1 million people will die this year.

and while i think that the genocide is atrocious, i can't really wrap my mind around it. what i think is worse is people's ability to ignore and not care about the suffering of others. true, they are not american, and for us americans (as with most cultures) if we are directly affected by something, THEN we seek, rally and raise support to bring change. the sudan is far enough away that we don't have to smell the rot and decay, see the pestilence and anguish. we can stroll down flower lined sidewalks and enjoy the sunshine beaming down. we can go shopping and add more to what we already possess. what happens in the sudan does not affect us. but it does. for instance, look at how many african-americans there are in the U.S. and clearly, we can see that it does affect us as americans. if we choose to ignore darfur, then we are just like those who chose to ignore the holocaust, rwanda, etc... who's to say that it couldn't involve us one day?

it doesn't surprise me that in a culture, where we would rather not feel any pain and instead petition to anesthetize ourselves so easily, that we would shut out the cries echoing out from the sudan and write it off as "not my problem."

in the end, what will it take to make us care? what will it take for us to recognize the strength and power of our voices and use them on behalf of the greater good of others? what will it take for us to exercise the democracy that has been granted us? because we can exercise power in our government, which is not the case in some countries. what will it take for us to break out of the lethargyof wanting to make some sort of difference, or even being resolute that we can't make a difference, but actually start moving and working in the direction of leaving our imprint on the manuscript of history?

darfur is just one example. and i guess i just think we complain and use our voices to complain and bemoan the wrong things a lot. i mean if words were gold, and you spoke often of the poor choices of britney spears' life, is that really benefiting anyone. may we speak words of conviction and power, funneled through the sieve of wisdom and love.

your thoughts?


Blogger Sandra said...

Annelies, your questions are up!

11:16 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

Hey Annelies -- thanks for the answers -- but you're supposed to post them on your own blog, too!

12:53 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

And about Darfur -- it is utterly sad that so much of our collective societal energy is placed on celebrity (thanks, Tom), when so little of it is placed on the weighty things of this world.

Like genocide or war or child trafficking. Is it a downer? Is it something that we can't bring ourselves to look at? Are we too afraid to lose our collective buzz?

My roommate Michelle mentioned the other day the notion that those who have the heart to do anything about these kinds of atrocities don't have the ego needed to achieve such things. Interesting thought -- but a valid one, I think.

Unless your Bono, that is -- somehow he manages a balance...

7:48 PM  

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