Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Other Foot

Last night I tossed out for discussion the idea that I might take some of my vacation time to volunteer to go help with disaster relief in the Gulf Coast. TFR quickly disabused me of this idea, since we don't have the money for me to travel and she needs my help with The Lad. I'll have to satisfy myself with giving blood and money.

For the most part I've been heartened by the outpouring of support and compassion shown by so many. My cousin sent me a link to news of her boyfriend's ship being sent as part of the relief efforts. Good friend Vulture Six has a rundown of different government and private relief efforts. There's even a Blogger Relief effort getting under way.

Despite this, I am disturbed to see the looting and a few other incidents of barbarism, and I'm disgusted that some would use this as an opportunity to slam Bush and the United States.

I can't help but wondering. Countries like Germany, whose Green Party leader blames this on Bush, and who was among the countries critical of US relief efforts after the Tsunami, they're already scrambling their navies and air forces to send relief, and their people are holding huge fund-raising drives to help the people of Louisiana, right?


Update (Thanks to reader Filou):

Actually, right.

I stand happily corrected.

Darfur: No More Out of Sight, Out of Mind

I've made my feelings known in the past:

Something needs to be done about the Genocide in Darfur.

This isn't a partisan issue.

The efforts so far are a good start, but need to go further.

The last thing we can afford to do right now is to assume that since the slaughter has abated, everything's just fine. The group agrees, and in an email I received from them today, makes some excellent poits as to why:

The Sudanese government is playing a game, the same one they've played throughout Sudan for 20 years. They claim to want peace, but will try to fix the negotiations to get what they really want - despotic control over the people of Darfur and the power to begin the genocide again anytime the international community looks away.

Only one thing can stop them: a peace agreement that gives real power to the people of Darfur through representation in government and a fair share of Sudan's resources. To get this, the Darfurians need international support - our support.
They then explain that one of their fund-raising efforts is to help raise awareness of the situation and increase the public awarenss, media coverage, and thus negotiating leverage of the people of Darfur.

I think that's an excellent campaign, and I think that we as Bloggers can do more than give them our financial and moral support. I believe we can use our Blogs as a collective Bully Pulpit from which to give Darfur a voice. I have borrowed and modified Pastor Niemoller's quote, but this time the original is more germane. I will not be silent and wait for someone to come for me, I will speak out. Write your congressmen, your local paper, and post to your Blogs. Keep talking about Darfur until even the Sudan listens.