Thursday, April 19, 2007

Lost in the News


Pick your fight. Take your stand.

What is your priority? Where do you invest time and money? Where is your heart and soul?

The Supreme Court Ruling on Partial Birth Abortion?

The Albert Gonzales/Bush Administration firing of 8 Federal Prosecutors?

The massacre at Virginia Tech and, now the deranged video tape of the killer, reaching out from the grave to exact the ultimate revenge on us all?

The massive suicide murders of 200 in Iraq yesterday? Think of it as Virginia Tech times Six! Twelve more killed today, by the way.

I could easily list twenty more stories. Or thirty. Or more.

They are all important. But please take a few moments of your day and consider the horror in Sudan and Darfur. I've compiled the story below from multiple press reports. All are linked at the end of this story:



Sudan's Youth Endure "Unspeakable Abuse" as the World Stands By

Children in Sudan are press-ganged, coerced to join armed groups, raped and used as forced labor or sex slaves, according to a new report by humanitarian groups.

The report, Sudan's Children at a Crossroads, concentrates mainly on Darfur, where a conflict has been raging for four years, and southern Sudan, emerging from 20 years of war.

"Children in Sudan continue to endure some of the most inhumane treatment found anywhere in the world," said Kathleen Hunt, chair of the Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, on Wednesday.

"Despite the end of the war in the south and recent signs of hope for a strengthened peacekeeping force in Darfur, many Sudanese children are not faring any better than they were four years ago," Hunt told a news conference on the report, compiled by six humanitarian organizations.

While Sudan's military continues to deny the presence of children in its ranks, the report said its representatives have acknowledged that youth from other armed groups have recently been incorporated into the government armed forces.

In Darfur, most rebel and militia groups recruit children, including the pro-government Arab militias known as the Janjaweed, the rebel Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Army.

While reports of rape and maiming are prevalent in Darfur, Sudanese girls from other areas have been forced into prostitution or into domestic service in and out of Sudan.

Boys as young as 4 or 5 years old "have been trafficked to Arab Gulf countries to work as camel jockeys and beggars," Watchlist said.


In the latest violence, a rebel group accused Khartoum's troops and militia on Tuesday of killing scores of people in a cluster of north Darfur villages -- though the army denied the charge and blamed the fighting on "normal" tribal clashes.

Meanwhile western powers pressed Sudan on Tuesday to allow a big U.N. peacekeeping force into violence-torn Darfur, but the United Nations was struggling to put together even a smaller unit that Khartoum has agreed to.

The United States and Britain said that while Sudan's acceptance on Monday of an interim U.N. reinforcement of the African Union force in Darfur was important, many more peacekeepers were needed for a total strength of up to 20,000.

At least 200,000 people have been killed since 2003 in ethnic and political conflict triggered by a rebellion in the western Sudanese region.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said in Chad the African Union commander in Darfur had told him his 5,000 troops were not enough to police an area as big as France where rebels were battling Sudanese government forces and Janjaweed militias.

At the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was encouraged by Sudan's acceptance of a "heavy support package" of 3,000 extra peacekeepers, but "the more important thing is how to implement these agreements into action".

The United Nations and the African Union want to complete the interim package "and move on to the third phase, finally deploying a hybrid operation in Darfur," he told reporters after two days of talks with AU chairman Alpha Oumar Konare.

The proposed 20,000-strong force is known as a "hybrid."

But even the 3,000 peacekeepers Sudan has agreed to accept, who would staff control centers but not join infantry units, may take six months to recruit and deploy, U.N. diplomats say.

"I think there will be a real problem of timing ... It depends on who now comes forward as troop contributing countries," British Ambassador and current Security Council president Emyr Jones Parry told reporters.

"That'll take a while to establish and then how soon can they get there? ... The hope is that the (peacekeepers) there will remain, but that others will come on board."

Also unresolved is the question of funding. Cash will have to come from voluntary donations until the U.N. force arrives, at which time all U.N. members will be assessed for the financing. But first Sudan needs to allot land for camps and provide water needs.

Britain's Blair said if Sudan did not agree to the U.N. package, "a strong resolution with sanctions" would be needed.

The apparent deal on the interim package, however, has temporarily defused talk of sanctions and in New York, both Jones Parry and Wolff dodged questions on the issue.




In my opinion the actions by the world's so-called leaders amounts to nothing more than posturing and preening. China is chafing under the threats, mostly from French Presidential Candidates, to boycott the 2008 Bejing Olympics. But they still prevent any meaningful United Nations sanctions.

And while President Bush yesterday announce the strongest unilateral sanctions against Sudan, and has continued to place diplomatic pressure on Khartoum, economic leaders like Warren Buffett refuse to divest stock in the Chinese oil companies that fuel Sudan's continued genocide.

Is it progress that a few American politicians at least try to make the news with posturing speeches or congressional confrontations.

Perhaps.

Unless you're a six year old sex slave.

Resources:
Reuters Alert Net and Yahoo News (via Reuters)

You can help to stop the Genocide in Darfur: Save Darfur

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1 comment:

John said...

Hey Wiz. All of these problems are important. But right now I am concentrating all of my energies on trying to save Net radio from the RIAA and Sound Exchange.