From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Last Thursday, the UK Holocaust Centre and the United States Holocaust Museum suspended their regular activities for programs on the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan that called for immediate action.

The [U.S. Holocaust] Museum's Committee on Conscience sponsored the event, "Bearing Witness for Darfur," that included remarks from three members of Congress, a Holocaust survivor, a representative from Darfur, and the Committee on Conscience Staff Director, Jerry Fowler.

The Committee's mandate is "to alert the national conscience, influence policymakers, and stimulate worldwide action to confront and work to halt acts of genocide or related crimes against humanity." In accordance with this, it issued a "Genocide Warning" for Darfur in January of this year.

In May, Fowler visited some Darfurian refugees in Chad. While he described the dismal reality of their situation and the extent of their trauma, he emphasized the need for immediate action. "The obligation to prevent genocide is a legal and a moral one," he said.

Nesse Godin, a Holocaust survivor, explained to the audience that she was all too familiar with such despair. Godin witnessed immense death and destruction by the Nazis before World War II ended in 1945.

"We Holocaust survivors know what it means to be victims of hate," Godin said. "That's why we stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Darfur."

Amal Allagabo, whose family still lives in Darfur, described the current situation, which has driven an estimated one million people from their homes and killed thousands already. The U.S. government estimates that the conditions these refugees now face could kill up to 350,000 people in the coming months.

Yesterday, various activists marched on the Sudanese Embassy in Washington D.C., protesting against state-sponsored genocide and slavery.

Two Sudan Campaign members, former Congressman Rev. Walter Fauntroy and radio talk show host Joe Madison, were arrested by Secret Service agents protesting through non-violent civil disobedience. Wrapping yellow "Crime Scene" police tape around the entrance Madison declared the embassy a crime scene, noting that the racist Government of Sudan is guilty of genocide and slavery against black Sudanese.

The Sudan Campaign demonstration was timed to coincide with Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit to western Sudan where government-sponsored ethnic cleansing raids have resulted within the past twelve months in the displacement of over one million Black Africans, the death of tens of thousands and the enslavement of others. The genocide process in Sudan has progressed in tandem with a U.S. supported peace initiative directed by the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, former Sen. John Danforth. In October 2002, President George W. Bush and both Houses of Congress, including Sen. John Kerry, identified the Government of Sudan as a perpetrator of acts of "genocide". But since then, the U.S. government has taken no further punitive measures against Khartoum. U.S. government officials have warned that hundred of thousands may die in the coming months.

CSI and Sudan Campaign partners urged the United States to work closely with Sudan's oppressed democratic opposition to restore respect for human rights; mobilize international forces to guarantee the safe return of survivors of ethnic cleansing; and to stand in the vanguard of efforts to suspend the Government of Sudan's membership of the United Nations.

Sudan, you’ll recall, sits on the U.N.’s Human Rights Commission. Be that as it may, it certainly says something about the world that media coverage and international outrage regarding Arab militias enslaving, ethnically cleansing, raping, and massacring tens of thousands of people in Sudan pales in comparison to the coverage and outcry against Israel for, say, not massacring—much less enslaving, raping, or ethnically cleansing—anybody in Jenin in April 2002. For all the caterwauling and cacophonous indignation we heard from across the globe and from innumerable parties, including Arab countries and the United Nations, both during and after the non-massacre in Jenin, you’d think that the same parties would be raising the roof—nay, blasting the roof well past the stratosphere—about what’s been happening for years in Sudan. You’d think, but so it goes. Perhaps if we could somehow blame the actions of Arab militias and terrorists in Sudan on, say, Israeli settlers or Ariel Sharon or Zionism this particular issue of genocide might receive almost equal coverage. Because, as it was once explained to me by a charming fellow clad in a “Divest from Israel” t-shirt, everybody got along fine in the Middle East until the Zionists showed up with their flag and fucked everything up.

About 300,000 people have died in the crisis in the Darfur region since February 2003, and an estimated 1.2 million people have been displaced, according to international agencies. The physicians' group said that about 200,000 people are in camps in Chad and have access to international aid, but supplies cannot be guaranteed during the rainy season, which is about to start and lasts until October.

There are an additional 300,000 refugees in what human-rights groups refer to as prison enclaves in Sudan, with no access to international relief. Another 400,000 are in camps inside Sudan and those areas are in better shape and are accessible by international aid organizations, Heffernan said.

He and his colleague saw refugees suffering from hunger, lack of water and sanitation, and attacks by Janjaweed, an Arab Sudanese militia.

Water is scarce in refugee camps, Heffernan said. Crude wells were dug in wadis, or dry river beds, which are shared by people and animals. He said there were thousands of cases of severe diarrhea, probably from water-borne diseases, reported in one camp alone.

Perhaps when the justices of the International Court of Justice have finished racking their brains over Israel’s nefarious Apartheid Wall they’ll address some of the human rights atrocities emanating from Sudan...

In other news, an Iranian woman has supposedly given birth to a frog , and the Ribbity Blog is back in business. Coincidence? Hmm.

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