John Fitzgerald reports on candlelight vigil in NYC for Darfur, Sudan
John made a super effort to take photos of the vigil but sadly a technical hitch made it not possible to publish them here. Thanks for trying John, and for the following report:
Vigil for Sudan
One of the speakers at a candlelight vigil for Sudan last night in Washington Square was Simon Day, a former slave. That in the twenty-first century a man could be introduced as a “former slave” is a sad commentary on humanity in general, and a particular indictment of certain African regimes, principally in Sudan. A hundred or so mostly young people showed up in the bitter cold to convey their solidarity with those suffering the consequences of genocide at the hand of the radical Islamic government in Darfur.
In a dramatic plea, Mr. Day, now living in New York, noted the respect and concern Westerners have for their pets, and begged Western nations to show at least as much humanity toward the people suffering now in Sudan as they show their own dogs. Day seemed to have given up on assistance from the United Nations, and remarking its continued indifference to ongoing African genocide, said that the body would more appropriately be called the “United Racists.”
Other speakers included an individual from Mauritania who, noting that he was not a politician, could therefore “say things as they are,” a refrain he repeated several times. He accused the Sudanese government of trying to Islamic-ize sub-Saharan Africa, and said the attack on black Africans was an “Arab conspiracy to take our African land.” A Jewish rabbi also spoke, invoking the memory of the Holocaust, and saying that Jews in particular could sympathize and understand the current plight of the Sudanese. (I was surprised to see no one in the crowd shout out something about the plight of Palestinians at that comment.)
At the conclusion of the vigil, those in attendance were asked to sign letters to U.S. government officials calling for action against Sudan immediately. Whether that ever comes to pass remains to be seen. “In July and September,” The Economist recently reported, “the UN Security Council threatened unspecified sanctions on the Sudanese government if it failed to disarm its genocidal militias in Darfur. The government did nothing of the sort, but no sanctions followed. Last week, the Security Council issued a new, milder threat, to 'take appropriate action against any party failing to fulfil its commitments.' Carlos Veloso of the WFP, asked if the forecast of 2.8m starving Darfuris next year was a worst-case scenario, said: 'No, that is the medium-case scenario.'”
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PROTEST RALLY FOR SUDAN IN NYC JANUARY 17, 2005
Note, iabolish.com says thank you to everyone who made the candlelight vigil to protest the ongoing genocide in Darfur a success! Save the date: Monday, January 17th, 2005 Protest Rally. Register for the rally at iabolish.com.