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Jan 21, 2011

Hello Everyone.


Champion Darfur started with a dream to change the lives of those suffering Sudan. Little did I know how much of an effect it would have on my own life. Since starting this website and becoming an activist I have met some incredible survivors, activist, and high level political officials. I got to ask then Senator Obama a question about divestment at a town hall meeting in Las Vegas, had a sit down meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and became a Carl Wilken's Fellow through the Genocide Intervention Network. I am now pursuing my degree in Foreign Relations with a concentration on Peacekeeping. Colleagues tell me if I am going to be working in Africa I will have to at least learn French as well. Whatever it takes. I am committed and I hope that Champion Darfur has at least helped educate you if not push you toward becoming committed as well.

Champion Darfur is shutting down but not for the reasons you may think. We are growing up. In the coming weeks we will be shutting down and will planning will begin on the development of a Nevada based coalition against genocide. This process will take some time and will require my full commitment which will leave me little or no time to maintain and update this site.

It has been a pleasure to write for this site and to help educate people about genocide and I look forward to continuing this work through a newly formed coalition.

Thank you all and see you soon.

Corey Dragge
Founder

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Posted: Jan 21, 2011 8:04pm
Dec 21, 2010

It was a constant, a guarantee, you would see them at least once a day during the 1980’s and 90’s. Today, we don’t hear about Africa on our TVs or radio’s much anymore and the truth is that when we do most people turn the channel or stop listening all together. While the problem still exists, and most certainly grows worse, people have grown numb to anything involving Africa; they simply just do not care.

The only thing discussed less than the problems facing Africa today are the true causes of those problems. At first glance it is easy to place the blame on corrupt leadership but the reality is that the issues that face Africa, nearly as a whole, are rooted in past and present exploitation of the country by the more powerful nations. When one truly looks for where the problems in Africa began and how they continue today it does not take long to find the root of these problems in their past European colonization and present dealings with The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

What has been coined “The Scramble for Africa” began in 1880 and only lasted until 1900 but in those 20 years the European kingdoms of Great Britain, France, England, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, and Spain were able to colonize nearly the whole of the African continent, minus Ethiopia and Liberia (Studying Africa through the Social Studies: African Economies, 2010).

It is arguable that this massive colonial movement that divided Africa into a giant jigsaw puzzle was sparked by the growing exploration into Africa by Europeans during the 19th century but it was the work of one man in particular that really set the wheels in motion, Henry Morton Stanley. Stanley, while working for the King Leopold II of Belgium, traversed the River Congo obtaining treaties with local chieftains for a future Belgium colony. When word of this got back to the rest of Europe there began a mad dash of other explorers, sent by other European countries, to do the same (Boddy-Evan, 2010) as no nation wanted to be left behind. Once the rush of exploration began it didn’t take long for them to find the numerous raw materials Africa had to offer. The explorers were quick to plot trading routes, navigate rivers, and find the population centers for them to set up market for their European goods (Boddy-Evan, 2010).

With Europe in the midst of an industrial revolution and being resource poor, Africa’s vastly untouched wealth of resources, coupled with other economic, social and military reasons, presented a powerful draw for the establishment of European colonies in African (Studying Africa through the Social Studies: African Economies, 2010).

Powered by steam engines and iron hulled boats to help them travel up the Zambezi and throughout the Congo, protected from Malaria by the advancement of medicine, driven by the desire to expand their empires and political careers, and favored by their possession of advanced military weaponry, Africa was all but engulfed by European colonization and it is the lasting effects of this rapid, and often cruel, European colonialism that shapes the Africa of today (Boddy-Evan, 2010)

With various nations taking part in what amounted to a giant land grab, it quickly became apparent that the Europeans needed to better define their colonial borders in order to avoid conflict among themselves so they convened the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 (Shah, Conflicts in Africa - Introduction, 2010). Paying little to no attention to the cultural or ethnic boundaries of native tribes the Europeans arbitrarily drew ill conceived international boundaries separating various language groups and sometimes containing enemy groups within the same borders (Nelson, 2010). Some colonial governments even encourage Europeans to come settle in their colonies which resulted in the creation of a dominant minority group (Shah, Conflicts in Africa- Introduction, 2010). This idea of social hierarchy and the poorly established international boundaries has resulted in the ethnic tensions that we see in Africa today. An unfortunate, but perfect, example of the legacy of colonialism affecting Africa today would be the Rwandan Genocide (Nelson, 2010).

Rwanda has two major ethnic groups, the Hutu and the Tutsi, and one smaller group called the Tu. When the Belgians colonized, the quickly took favor to the minority Tutsi people, considering them a smart and more civilized people. By applying status and privilege to the Tutsi people, the Belgians were able to divide a once peaceful coexisting population into two smaller and more controllable groups. When Rwanda finally gained its independence in 1962 (Shah, Conflicts in Africa - Introduction, 2010), only 48 years ago, the Tutsi, who had enjoyed years of better jobs, education, and health care, under the Belgian rule were handed over control of the government. It did not take long for tensions to rise between the two ethnic groups and in 1959 a revolution broke out and by 1961 the Tutsi leader was in exile and the Hutus had gained political control. The ethnic tensions continued over the years and after a series of events and the assignation of their Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana, genocide erupted and roughly 800,000 people were brutally murdered in just 100 days (The Rwandan Genocide, 2010). The unfortunate reality is that we see this type of social hierarchy and ethnic tension, originally introduced by the European colonies as a divide and conquer tactic, still active throughout the African continent and in some places, such as Sudan and the Congo, it has led to further conflicts and genocide.

Africa was seen as a raw resource cow for the European motherland and they fully intended to utilize their colonies to milk it dry. In places such as Zambia and Congo where there are large deposits of minerals to be mined and sold overseas the colonial governments established policies that forced local farmers to leave the fields to work the mines. In the East and Southern areas of Africa, where climates would attract European settlers, large scale European owned farming was established. In Angola they grew coffee, Kenya grew coffee and tea, and Southern Zimbabwe was beef and Tobacco. The fertile land these farms were established on was usually taken from the local population and they were also forced to work on it (Studying Africa through the Social Studies: African Economies, 2010).

In some colonies they “encouraged” local farmers to grow cash crops such as peanuts, coffee, cocoa, and even cotton. These crops were quickly exported and sold overseas (Studying Africa through the Social Studies: African Economies, 2010). Essentially, the natives were forced to stop farming or producing what they needed and instead were forced to farm what they, or the colonial government, could sell. To make matters worse not only were they forced to produce for their colonial masters they were also expected to purchase products imported from those European nations as well.

This economic system made the colonialists very rich but left the native Africans in extreme poverty. Today this cycle of poverty continues because even as the colonial governments were dissolved they left behind “supportive elites” who were merely an extension or continuation of colonial policy and practice. These leaders continued the colonial economic practice of depleting Africa’s natural wealth for their own financial gain (Shah, Conflicts in Africa - Introduction, 2010) and supported the colonial idea of social hierarchy. These leaders have also neglected the opportunity to properly prepare their countries for industrialization and the global market as well as end the inequality of education and opportunity due to colonial racism (Nelson, 2010). Without a prepared economy and educated work force, the vast majority of African countries are assured to remain in vast poverty.

After securing their independence one would assume that colonialism in Africa was over but in fact it continues in a more advanced form. It quickly became clear that the majority of now independent African nations were not financial capable of maintaining their existing infrastructure. This need for financial assistance by the African states has offered the industrialized nation the opportunity to utilize a growing and highly evolved form colonialism called “economic globalization” (Manzo, 1998).

During a panel discussion on Globalization with the United Nations General Assembly the Prime Minister of Uganda, Apolo Nsibambi described globalization as:

“…a process of advancement…in interaction among the world’s countries and peoples facilitated by progressive technological changes….as well interfacing of cultural and value systems and practices. Globalization is not a value-free, innocent, self-determining process. It is an international socio-politico-economic and cultural permeation process facilitated by the policies of governments, private corporations, international agencies and civil society organizations. It essentially seeks to enhance and deploy a country’s…economic, political, technological, ideological, and military power and influence for competitive domination in the world (Nsibambi, 2001)”.

One of the ways that we see the spread of Globalization is through the actions of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to their websites, The World Bank and the IMF are both specialized United Nations agencies tasked to provide low interest loans, interest-free credit, and grants to developing nations while claiming to encourage within developing countries the building of schools, health centers, provide water and electricity, fight disease, and protect the environment. They also monitor the economic systems of UN member countries and offer policy “advice” to developing countries. Though this seems all well and good the reality is that the actions and policies of the World Bank and IMF run opposite of this mission statement and are often the target of international criticism.

As the largest source of funding for the African countries, the World Bank and the IMF enjoy enormous amounts of leverage in prescribing policies and changes in the economies of developing nations. To obtain the financial help they need the African countries are forced to follow the strict guidelines, “advice”, drafted by the World Bank and IMF which requires them to forfeit vast amounts of control over their own government (Africa Action, 2009).

To ensure timely repayment of the loan the IMF and World Bank have instituted what is called Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs). Essentially these policies require the borrowing nation to liberalize their economy and resource extraction, privatization is “encouraged” along with the reduction of protection for domestic industries; there is currency devaluation, increased interest rates, elimination of food subsidies and the reduction of various regulations and standards. The SAPs often require the governments to reduce spending on such essentials as health, education, and development, the very things the World Bank and IMF say they help develop (Shah, Structural Adjustment - A Major Casue of Poverty, 2010). Essentially the borrowing country is subjected to the same economic policies of old European colonization.

Because of the practices and policies used by the World Bank and IMF, Africa has seen the average incomes decline while poverty increased. African debt has risen so high that they have become even more desperate for new loans. By establishing SAPs that require reductions in spending on health care, or the privatization of health care services, African countries are spending 5 times more on dept servicing then on health care. These policies are leaving millions of innocent men, women, and children even more vulnerable to HIV/AID and other diseases (Africa Action, 2009).

Clearly the European colonization of Africa in the 19th century has left a bloody legacy that has corrupted the very core of the African social and economic systems. But what is more shocking is that today we see the continuation of “economic colonialism” through the actions of the World Bank and IMF and under the umbrella of the United Nations. Until African countries can be free from the past lessons of European colonization, free from the backward practices and illegitimate debt imposed by the World Bank and IMF, until they are free to shape their own economies, governments, and futures we will always have a dependant African State.

Bibliography

Action, A. (2009, June). The World Bank and the IMF in Africa. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from Africa Action: http://apic.igc.org/resources/issues/wbimf.php

Boddy-Evan, A. (2010). What Caused the Scramble for Africa. Retrieved December 18, 2010, from About.com African History: http://africanhistory.about.com/od/eracolonialism/a/ScrambleWhy.htm

Ism, A. (2004). Impoverishing a Continent:The World Bank Bank and the IMF in Africa. Halifax Initiative Coalition.

Manzo, A. (1998, November). Rethinking Colonialism. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from Third World Traveler: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/New_World_Order/RethinkingColonialism_TF.html

Nelson, A. (2010, January 5). Effects of European Coloonialism in Africa. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from Associated Content: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2547435/effects_of_european_colonialism_in.html?cat=37

Nsibambi, A. (2001, November 2). The Effects of Gloalization on the State in Africa: Harnessing the Benefits and Minimizing the Costs. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from PDFCast: http://pdfcast.org/pdf/the-effects-of-globalization-on-the-state-in-africa-harnessing-the-benefits-and-minimizing-the-costs

Shah, A. (2010, May 12). Conflicts in Africa - Introduction. Retrieved December 9, 2010, from Global Issues: www.globalissues.org/print/article/84

Shah, A. (2010, November 28). Structural Adjustment - A Major Casue of Poverty. Retrieved December 9, 2010, from Global Issues: www.globalissues.org/print/article/3

Studying Africa through the Social Studies: African Economies. (2010). Retrieved December 18, 2010, from Exploring Africa: http://exploringafrica.matrix.msu.edu/students/curriculum/m9/activity4.php

The Rwandan Genocide. (2010). Retrieved December 18, 2010, from History Channel: http://www.history.com/topics/rwandan-genocide

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Posted: Dec 21, 2010 12:29pm
Nov 2, 2010

When asked what his biggest regret of his two terms as President would be President William Clinton said it was his inaction during the genocide in Rwanda. During that genocide some 800,000 people were merciless killed in less then 100 days while the international community, including the United States, did absolutely nothing. Years later, while reading a report on the inaction of the Untied States during this genocide, President George W. Bush wrote in the margins “Not on my watch! (Nizza, 2007)” But the fact is that for a country that is quick to tout its stand on civil and human rights this nation of immigrants has a weak record of protecting the most basic of rights of people living outside its own border and no matter how inspiring and noble President Bush’s words were, when presented with the Darfur genocide in Sudan, the United States policy on international human rights would remain lacking.

The current United States policy on human rights is littered with flaws and these very flaws not only contribute to the advancement of crimes against humanity but also lead to an international view of the United States as having a hypocritical stance on human rights. In a day and age where we are actively fighting terrorism on multiple fronts, a negative international image of the United States only empowers those that wish to do our nation harm while also providing them with an avenue of justification and recruitment. But the United States has the opportunity to take some simple steps to alter their current stance on human rights and potentially improve their international image and reputation.

Though I mentioned Presidents George W. Bush and William Clinton, I do not wish to portray them as the sole culprits of inaction. President Ford failed to take action as the Vietnam War ended and Dictator Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge Party took control of Cambodia and proceeded to kill 1.5 million people in a three and a half year time frame (Shelton, 2005). President Woodrow Wilson, though widely known for his grandiose dreams of sustainably world peace through the establishment of the League of Nations, failed to take significant action during the Armenian Genocide that killed an estimated one million people. Though U.S. politicians are quick to talk about the importance of human rights they are far less likely to implement meaningful policies to back up their tough talk (Huang, 2001). As a matter of fact it is difficult for the United States to pressure other states to recognize international human rights laws when the United States has failed to sign on to two important international treaties on human rights, the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

China has quickly become a major player in terms of population and economic growth and thus has become a new role model for developing countries (Gat, 2007). This is troublesome, as China’s human rights record has worsened as of late. In response to what they perceive as threats, the Chinese government has targeted democracy activist, religious groups, labor organizers and members of self-determination with arrests, censorship, and in some cases incarceration in prison and mental institutions (Huang, 2001). Though the United States has had multiple discussions with Chinese officials in regards to their human rights record it is difficult for the United States to make headway in this arena when, even with its horrible human rights records, China, have ratified both the CEDAW and CRC while the United States has not (Huang, 2001). One could argue that China’s ratification of both treaties while maintain such a poor international record on human rights only shows that such treaties do not work but the opposite side of that coin is that without the participation on such a major player as the United States these treaties lack the international authority to hold their members accountable. Most importantly, the participation of the United States in these types of multilateral efforts toward human rights is critical to Washington’s future efforts to enforce or influence other states, including China. Another opportunity to change international opinion and increase our ability to influence other states is to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).


The ICC is a permanent international court system established to address the most heinous of crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and aggression (Murphy, 2004) and they stand poised to provide the international community with a previously unseen measure of protection and accountability. But the reality is the ICC is dependant on the political support and goodwill of its member states in order to fulfill its mission and the United States opposition to this Court serves as a major threat to its success (Murphy, 2004).


The main argument of the Untied States, against joining the ICC, is that the establishment of a court with such broad international powers poses a threat to state sovereignty but this is not true as the Court itself is designed to complement and not replace national criminal jurisdictions and poses no threat to national security. The United States is also fearful that U.S. troops serving in a multinational peacekeeping mission might find them selves facing politically motivated prosecution from the court (Murphy, 2004). But by opposing the ICC, the United States joins the very ranks of some of the same states that U.S. politicians are so quick to criticize, such as China and Libya.


It is worth noting that the United States has taken a reactionary stance to these issues and has always been quick to provide aid to states suffering humanitarian disasters. The United States was also a key leader in the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunals in the Yugoslavia and Rwanda. This “reactionary” stance taken by the United States, instead of a one of prevention, can be linked to its previous attempts of intervention being met with international condemnation. The United States maintains this position even when it comes to the International Criminal Court (ICC).


Clearly if the United States refuses to join in various international efforts to protect human right and hinder the establishment of a real enforcement and protection mechanism in the ICC then the U.S. demands of other nations to follow the international law of human rights will continue to fall on deaf ears and they will continue to re enforce the ever growing negative view of the United States as a whole.

Dr. Murphy said “…as law without the power of enforcement is little better than no law at all. In some instances it may be worse than no law, as it may perpetuate the illusion of protection and accountability (Murphy, 2004)”. The unwillingness of the United States to join the CEDAW and CRC, to engage the ICC, try to work out their concern and join their effort is only emboldening rogue leaders and groups that commit crimes such as Genocide. If the United States truly wants to help establish an international worldwide view on human rights then it first must clean out its own closet.

Bibliography
Gat, A. (2007 йил 25-June). The Return of Authoritarian Great Powers. Retrieved 2010 йил 17-Ocotober from Real Clear Politics: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/06/the_return_of_authoritarian_gr.html

Huang, M. (2001). U.S. Human Rights Policy Toward China. Foreign Policy In Focus , 6 (8).

Murphy, D. R. (2004). International Criminal Accountability and the International Criminial Court. Irish Centre for Human Rights, School of Law. Galway: National University of Ireland.

Nizza, M. (2007 йил 4-December). The Lede. Retrieved 2010 йил 19-October from The New York Times: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/04/bushs-refrain-not-on-my-watch/

Shelton, D. L. (Ed.). (2005). Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. Retrieved 2010 йил 19-October from eNotes.com: http://www.enotes.com/genocide-encyclopedia/ united-states-foreign-policies-toward-genocide

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Posted: Nov 2, 2010 3:09pm
Oct 4, 2010
When presented with the topic of Sudan you can almost see the intellectual light dim in your conversation counterparts eyes, most people are simply not interested. But the reality is that what is happening in Sudan right now does affect our lives and it presents our administration with a foreign policy quagmire.

During the course of this paper I will explain the unique challenges that lay ahead for our administration as it tries to deal with all the foreign policy implications Sudan presents and I will also explain my personal recommendations on what direction I believe our foreign policy toward Sudan needs to go.

Since gaining its independence in 1956, Sudan has been fight with itself for the vast majority of its existence. This has led to a revolving door of dictators, various governments, and a stressed political relationship with the United States. Our political relationship with the current regime in Sudan began in 1989 when the United States suspended all development assistance to Sudan after the current regime, led by now President Omar al-Bashir, overthrew the elected government and brought to power the National Islamic Front party (Affairs, 2010).

In the 90’s the United States saw Sudan become a safe haven for various Islamic terrorists including Osama Bin Laden. In 1993, this support of terrorist landed Sudan on the list of states that sponsor terrorism and the implementation of massive financial, trade, and economic sanctions. Then shortly after the 1998 bombing of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania organized by Osama Bin Laden killed 224 people including 12 Americans, President Clinton ordered a strategic missile strike against targets in both Sudan and Afghanistan (Anti-Defamation League , 1999).

After the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, the bilateral dialogue on counterterrorism that started between the United States and the Government of Sudan was strengthened significantly. But there soon grew a conflict of interest for the United States that still resides today. Soon after the United States helped to negotiate the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the second bloody civil war between the North and South of Sudan, a rebel uprising in the Darfur region of Sudan was met with a genocidal response by the Government of Sudan. The United States desire to keep the peace between the North and South, as well as end President Bashir’s genocide in Darfur conflicted with their need for information from Sudan on Osama bin Laden and the al Qaida network (Enough Project, 2010).

The Obama administration’s current strategy in Sudan will look to achieve a definitive end to conflict, gross human rights abuses, and genocide in Darfur, the implementation of the North-South CPA that results in a peaceful referendum vote and either a united post-2011 Sudan or two separate and viable states at peace with each other and lastly the reassurance that Sudan does not provide a safe haven for international terrorists (Affairs, 2010).

In the past the most effective way to influence Bashir and his regimen in Sudan was through direct and severe action like President Clintons missile strike in response to the Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. These direct actions or threats of actions have proven to be useful tools of influence against Sudan where as sanctions and multilateral efforts have yielded surprisingly less effective results.

In my opinion the inability of the UN to take effective action against Sudan stands as a great example of how the current U.N. system is fatally flawed. It is not that the U.N. hasn’t tried to bring action against to secure overall peace in Sudan but these efforts have been halted by the effective leverage of Sudan’s financial relationships.

Having become a major supplier of oil to China as well as a major arms buyer of weapons and aircraft from both Russia and China (Farley, 2007), Sudan has enjoyed the protection from any major multilateral U.N. action. This is because both China and Russia use their permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council to protect Sudan by threatening to veto or actually vetoing any U.N. attempts to change or influence Sudan’s current political course (Leopold, 2004).

The United States has little to no influence over Sudan’s current political actions and with sanctions becoming more and more ineffective without the support of the U.N. and military action highly unlikely it would appear that things won’t change. But I would like to present another more immediate and direct option for consideration.

Right now there is a massive engagement by the Obama administration to prepare Sudan for the upcoming referendum vote that is part of the C.P.A. This vote will decide whether or not the south of Sudan declares independence and breaks away politically from the North thus becoming its own county. Currently this is seen as highly probable.

The Government of South Sudan is considered ill prepared for independence so I suggest that the United States, while continuing to use President Obama’s National Security Strategy of pursuing “… engagement with hostile nations...” (Obama, 2010, p. 3) in regards to Northern Sudan, take a very active role in the establishment of a stable, secure, and democratic government within Southern Sudan. This not only provides the United States with a much needed ally in Africa, helping South Sudan secure the vast oil reserves therein could prove to be the best and most direct method of forcing engagement, outside of military action. This would also be in line with President Obama’s National Security Strategy;

“To advance our common security, we must address the underlying political and economic deficits that foster instability, enable radicalization and extremism, and ultimately undermine the ability of governments to manage threats within their borders and to be our partners in addressing common challenges (Obama, 2010, p. 26).”

As Omar al-Bashir becomes more and more emboldened by the inability of the international community to take action or establish effective sanctions, the United States is left with few options outside the taking of military action. The option of becoming a major financial and political ally to what will likely become the new country of South Sudan provides us with a source of leverage in our continued engagement with Northern Sudan and its allies, China and Russia.


Works Cited
Affairs, B. o. (2010, 6 29). Background Note: Sudan. Retrieved 10 3, 2010, from U.S. Department of State, Diplomacy in Action: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5424.htm

Anti-Defamation League . (1999). Terrorism Update: The U.S. Embassy Bombings in Kenya & Tanzania. Retrieved October 3, 2010, from ADL: Anit-Defamation League: http://www.adl.org/terror/focus/15_focus.asp

Enough Project. (2010). Roots of the Crisis - Sudan. Retrieved October 3, 2010, from Enough Project: http://www.enoughproject.org/conflict_areas/darfur_southern_sudan/roots-crisis

Farley, M. (2007, may 09). China, Russia faulted for Sudan arms sales. Retrieved October 3, 2010, from LA Times: http://articles.latimes.com/2007/may/09/world/fg-sudan9

Leopold, E. (2004, September 15). China threatens to veto UN Darfur draft-diplomats. Retrieved October 3, 2010, from Sudan Tribune: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article5448

Obama, B. (2010). National Security Startegy. Washington D.C. : The White House.

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Posted: Oct 4, 2010 6:20pm
Aug 15, 2010

Over the last week there has been much talk about the Special Envoy to Sudan General Gration and his Sudan policy. Not all of it good.

It is widely known that when it comes to Sudan policy within the White House there is a great rift with Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and Special Envoy to Sudan General Gration on one side and United States Ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Susan Rice on the other. Gration and Clinton have taken a soft approach toward Sudan and its President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for both crimes against humanity and genocide against the people of Darfur, while Dr. Rice is urging a more direct and disciplined approach. Clinton and Gration want to use carrots while Rice wants to use sticks.

Gration's current Sudan policy has been criticized by Rice, various humanitarian agencies, and even those suffering in refugee camps both within Sudan and its neighboring countries. Their criticism seems well placed as since taking the post of Special Envoy to Sudan, General Gration has accomplished virtually nothing to secure peace for the people of Darfur and to ensure the upcoming referendum vote, which could effectively split the country of Sudan into two and possibly back into another bloody North - South Revolution, takes place peacefully.

Last week the Obama Administration held a high-level meeting to discuss Sudan policy recommendations and the meeting outcomes are deeply frustrating and frightening.

Gration presented policy recommendations are all incentive-based and place the on going genocide being conducted by Bashir in Darfur on the sidelined entirely. As previously mentioned, Gration and Rice disagreed significantly over pressures versus incentives but at the end of the day everyone (except Rice) endorsed Gration’s proposal and the plan is now heading to Obama for his sign-off. For the President to sign off on these policy recommendations would be disastrous.

Various humanitarian groups and Sudan related organizations, Champion Darfur included, are urging the President to reconsider before signing these recommendations and we are asking you to help.

We have asked for your help in the past, but it is needed now more then ever. Please take the simply actions listed below and more importantly please encourage your friends to take these actions. It is only through a show of unity that we can hope to reach and influence the President. Please act now.

iAct developed some Facebook and Twitter actions (see below).
On Facebook - Post on the White House Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/WhiteHouse):

Mr. President: Now is the moment for you to implement a Sudan policy which, as you promised in 2008, leads a process for peace, helps prevent another deadly war in Africa, and holds those responsible for crimes against humanity to account. News reports (http://bit.ly/aEkexV) suggest that, after months of delay, a plan for moving the U.S. Policy on Sudan forward has finally landed on your desk. As Sudan prepares for a referendum that is likely to split it in two, and as the humanitarian crisis in Darfur grows increasingly dire by the day, we are closely watching and awaiting your decision. Your legacy is on the line. Millions of lives are at stake. Make peace in Sudan a priority now.

On Twitter - Tweet this:
RT Decision on #Sudan policy is on @BarackObama's desk. What will be the #ObamaLegacy on #genprev?http://bit.ly/aEkexV #SudanNow @presssec



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Posted: Aug 15, 2010 8:33pm
Jul 5, 2010

Today while going through my email I found a shocking article posted to a Darfur related listserv that I am on. The article was titled "U.S. special envoy to skip El-Fasher’s international meeting on Darfur."

General Scott Gration has proven to be a toothless dog and is quickly losing the respect of not just the international community but the Sudanese people as well. The article also notes that China and Russia will be represented at this meeting which in and of itself is not surprising seeing their business arrangements with the genocidal regime in Sudan and its leader, Omar al-Bashir. You see China is buying Sudanese oil, Sudan then turns around and uses that money to buy weapons from Russia so they can continue their campaign in the Darfur region while preparing for the inevitable breakdown of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the return to war with the oil rich South Sudan.


In a recent Newsweek article by Ravi Somaiya (What Happened to Darfur?) it is noted that in the Darfur region 600 people died violently in May and fighting is at a new height. That is 20 people a day for 31 days and yet Darfur isn't a blimp on our radar. Matter of fact it is so much an after thought to us that General Scott Gration, the President's appointed envoy to Sudan, decided to play hooky to an international meeting on the subject. Excuse me but isn't attending these type of meetings fall under his job requirements?


Where is Donald Trump when your need him?

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Posted: Jul 5, 2010 9:38pm
Feb 23, 2010
TAKE ACTION TODAY!

To mark the 50 days until Sudan’s nationwide election, grassroots activists around the United States have kicked off Sudan Sham Elections 2010, a campaign to press U.S. leaders to take a firmer line in Sudan. In particular, activists are expressing their distaste for the U.S. government’s decision to allocate $100 million in taxpayers’ money to an election they believe will be anything but free and fair. The 24th of February is Nevada's day to represent during this campaign.

Take 5 minutes and tell Senators Reid and Ensign as well as Representatives Heller, Titus, and Berkley that our money shouldn't go the rigged re-election campaign of a man wanted for human rights violations. Please....

1) sign our open letter at http://bit.ly/cXvdlR

2) Join our Tweet-Athon and tell @SenatorReid: Sudan's April elections are neither fair nor free. #SudanSham

Please support our efforts, sign our letter and ask your friends to do the same!
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Posted: Feb 23, 2010 9:48pm
Feb 15, 2010
I am happy to announce that Champion Darfur will be participating in the Sudan Sham 2010 Campaign and helping to represent Nevada on February 24th! But to do this effectively we are going to need everyone to help.

Sudan Sham 2010 is a coordinated effort of regular citizens and advocacy groups across all 50 states and DC who stand with the people of Sudan in an effort to bring attention to the unfair Sudanese elections, currently scheduled for April 2010. These will be anything but free and fair. The electoral reforms laid out by Sudan's 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement - necessary for a credible election - have been delayed, obstructed and outright violated by the Sudanese government. With instability continuing in Darfur and violence mounting in the South, fraudulent elections in April could be a dangerous flashpoint for Sudan.

In a climate of violent political intimidation and with millions disenfranchised in camps, there cannot be credible elections in Sudan. US support gives the government of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, indicted on war crimes and crimes against humanity, legitimacy it does not deserve. It is a waste of American taxpayer money, and non-credible elections will fuel violence and divisions in a country that is already on the brink.

I have drafted a open letter to this point to Senator Harry Reid, Senator John Ensign, Rep. Shelley Berkley, Rep. Dean Heller, and Rep. Dina Titus and I am asking you to please read and sign our letter.

We have established a goal of 1000 signatures by the 24th of February so please sign and share with all your friends!
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Posted: Feb 15, 2010 3:55pm
Feb 12, 2010

This is a article posted by Bec Hamilton on February 11,2010 at her blog The Promise of Engagement. She is an amazing activist and hits the nail on the head with this posting. The grassroots activists are mobilizing before Sudan's tainted elections in April ask the Obama administration to not recognize these elections and to not give the Bashir regime any kind of legitimacy. Please join a organizations efforts today. Whether online or off, a rally, a petition, anything. We must act now. Thank you.

The killing of Mohamed Musa Abdella Bahraldien

[Editorial note: There was date error in the email originally pasted into this post. I have since had it confirmed from several sources that Mohamed Musa was abducted on Wednesday Feb. 10 and was found dead yesterday Thursday Feb. 11. I have asked Dr. Gasim to send a corrected notification]

I know you don’t know the name. I’m posting this because it is not the kind of thing that generally makes it into the media. But it matters. And we need to hear about it. So here is the notification I just received about the killing of Mohamed Musa Abdella Bahraldien (A friend just spoke by phone to the someone within Darfuri community at the UoK who says everyone is just very sad.)

When a vocal student can be abducted by Security Services in broad daylight and killed with impunity, why is the language of “free, fair and credible” even entering into the realm of conversation around the upcoming election?

(btw - So much for the “reform” of the National Security Act.)

———————-

Darfurian Student in University of Khartoum killed by NiSS

Name : Mohamed Musa Abdella Bahraldien

Position : Student , University of Khartoum , Faculty of Education , Mathematics section , level 3

Native town : Kabkabia , Northern Darfur State

The victim (deceased) student in University of Khartoum Faculty of Education ,level 3 . He is very active among Darfurian Students , yesterday after he was get from examination NISS Members drive truck kidnapped him from in front of main gate of Faculty of Education in Omdurman they took him to elsewhere . Today he was found in open space in Elneel town in Omdurman dead.

Abdelrahman Gasim, Darfur Bar Association


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Posted: Feb 12, 2010 10:19pm
Feb 8, 2010

I was recently received an amazing opportunity and even more amazing honor, I was accepted into the Carl Wilken's Fellowship by the Genocide Intervention Network. This years new fellows numbers only 18 so I am humbled by this opportunity to learn from some amazing anti genocide activists and to be included in their ranks.

Carl WilkensImage via Wikipedia



If you don't know who Carl Wilkens is then you should look him up. The man is hero and a shinning example of what it means to be selfless. During the Rwanda Genocide Mr. Wilkens opted to stay behind instead of leaving with his family. Mr. Wilkens saved countless lives during those days and I am humbled to be a part of the organization bearing his name. But I must admit I am bit nervous as well.

I have often described the "light turning off in their eyes" when the topic of genocide or Darfur comes up with other people and when I say that I see that light go out I literally mean I see it. This is the most frustrating part of activism for me and from what I can tell its the leading reason why people just give up and throw in the towel. If no one else is going to care then why should I continue to waste my time.

This is something that crosses my mind about as often as eating vegetables with dinner crosses the mind of my 17 year old son, rarely. But I would be lying if I told you that doubt and intimidation don't rear their ugly heads from time to time. But now that I am a member of the this fellowship I am coming to realize that I am not alone in this struggle. That support network is the main reason that I applied for this fellowship and I am so very looking forward to utilizing it.

I have said it more then once before and I will die screaming it from the roof tops, the true cause of crimes like genocide is simple, it's apathy. Apathy not only allows the perpetrators to disassociate themselves from their victims, it allows the international community, the bystanders if you will, to turn their heads and act powerless. The very fact that the vast majority of the international community can look away while millions are killed is the only direct indication that one needs to see that apathy has set its roots deep within our society. And it is this apathy that we activists fight everyday. And believe me when I tell you, its a lonely uphill fight.

I like to think that I help unravel the tangled web of this conflict for the common reader, that help distinguish the x's and the O's. Seeing as the Darfur conflict is filled with so many interlacing components there is much to explain and write about. And now I know that there are a lot of people to write about it. I know that I now more then every I am not alone in my efforts. And that is why I would like to share my venue with them, allow them to tell their their stories and speak their minds.

I am opening the door to my fellow Carl Wilkens Fellows, of 2009 and 2010, and I am hoping to spot light a fellow fellow at least once a month and share with everyone what they have done, are doing, and their personal journey along the way.

It is important that we open the door of dialogue to each other, that we share our stories and experience so we not just better understand the genocide in Darfur or genocide as a whole but to better understand each other and how we can all help one another.

Thank you.


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Posted: Feb 8, 2010 8:42pm

 

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