After the Holocaust, the world vowed it wouldn't stand back and allow genocide to happen again. Bosnia, Cambodia and Rwanda showed how empty that promise was. Darfur was yet another reminder that when it comes to standing up to stop the slaughter of entire peoples, the nations of the world remain pitifully inadequate.The editorial moves immediately to the spread of violence in Darfur to Chad, a country to Sudan’s west, and a report from a NY Times journalist, Nicholas Kristof, who has visited regions in Chad where the janjaweed (Arab militias reportedly sponsored by the Sudan government) “have unleashed their fury on villages in Chad, riding in and killing and raping:”
Mr. Kristof is one of the few journalists willing to venture into the lawless region. He took along NBC's Ann Curry of the Today show on his trip this month, and wrote about a market town in Chad near the Sudan border called Koloy, where villagers were actually waiting to be massacred. There was no one to help them. Chad's government sent a handful of troops, but when the soldiers realized that they would be facing more than 500 janjaweed armed with heavy machine guns, they fled. Diplomats don't dare visit because it's not safe. Ditto for United Nations aid groups. Only one organization, Doctors Without Borders, goes to Koloy, Mr. Kristof reported, "sending in a convoy of intrepid doctors three days a week to pull bullets out of victims."I paused when I reached this point and reflected, Editorials like this are such a gift. They present in a few words the horror, the un-right-ness of what is occurring in Darfur and now spreading, like a growing pool of blood, to Chad. Editorials like this put us there, standing beside men, women and children waiting to die. They make us responsible. They flame our passion, our need for justice and right-ness.
Is this really what we have come to?
And I rejoiced, because I knew what was coming next. Editorials like this call for action. This one goes on to call for action on the part of the U.S. government and the U.N. I don't know if this editorial's solutions will work - if the calls to action presented here are the right way to go. But I do know that its basic call is right: We cannot stand by and let this happen.
What can we do? As this blog has said numerous times, God hates injustice and calls us to do something about it - we must act. As followers of Jesus, this means we first must pray fervently for God to intercede. We must pray for men and women to be raised up with the power to end this horror.
But as we pray, we must act ourselves. How? Raise your own and others' awareness. Spread the word. And support organizations who are helping the over two million people displaced by the violence in Sudan and neighboring Uganda (where additional millions have been driven from their homes by the Lord's Resistance Army, a militia reportedly supported by the Sudan government). Check out Coalition for Darfur or Invisible Children or any of the following organizations: Doctors Without Borders, World Vision, Far Reaching Ministries, or Mennonite Central Committee. Also, you can locate your congressman here, and write a letter urging your representative to call for action.
God will use our actions, no matter how small. He will use each and every one. He will work good out of evil, life out of death. That is who he is. So give him something to work with. Now.