Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Courage and Honor: President Jimmy Carter

This should have been the lead story on the news this evening, but I don't think it got any coverage on most network or cable news networks. The world may be watching, but America seems to have A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder).

While Harry Reid and 41 Democrat Representatives felt the most important issue on earth was condemning Rush Limbaugh for things he never said, the rest of the world was riveted by the unfolding events in Darfur. President Jimmy Carter led a delegation of the world's most respected human rights leaders in an attempt to bring aid and comfort to the refugees of the on-going genocide.

At 83 years old, President Carter has the strength and the courage and the honor to take on Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and the very military who continue the unabated violence.

As Carter attempted to visit refugees he went head to head with the chief of the feared Sudanese secret police. And Carter refused to back down.

Naturally, all U.S. News broadcasts covered the Rush Limbaugh non-event continuously, darting mindlessly from Representative to pundit to Iraqi veteran to television commentator. If you watched the U.S. television programs you would never know that President Carter was still alive, let alone that he led a delegation to Darfur.

Thank God former President Jimmy Carter can stay on task and knows the real priorities and the real issues facing the world today. And thank God President Carter has real courage and real honor. Every American should be proud.

ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU, writing for The Associated Press, tells the story.

    KABKABIYA, Sudan - Former President Jimmy Carter confronted Sudanese security services on a visit to Darfur Wednesday, shouting "You don't have the power to stop me!" at some who blocked him from meeting refugees of the conflict.

    The 83-year-old Carter, in Darfur as part of a delegation of respected international figures known as "The Elders," wanted to visit a refugee camp.
    But the U.N. mission in Sudan deemed that too dangerous.Instead, Carter agreed to fly to the World Food Program compound in the North Darfur town of Kabkabiya, where he was supposed to meet with ethnic African refugees, many of whom were chased from their homes by militias and the Arab-dominated government's forces.
    But none of the refugees showed up and Carter decided to walk into the town — a volatile stronghold of the pro-government janjaweed militia — to meet refugees too frightened to attend the meeting at the compound.
    He was able to make it to a school where he met with one tribal representative and was preparing to go further into town when Sudanese security officers stopped him.
    "You can't go," the local chief of the feared Sudanese secret police, who only gave his first name as Omar, ordered Carter. "It's not on the program!"
    "We're going to anyway!" an angry Carter retorted as a small crowd began to gather around. "You don't have the power to stop me."
    "We've got to move, or someone is going to get shot," warned one of the U.N. staff accompanying the delegation.
    Carter's traveling companions, billionaire businessman Richard Branson and Graca Machel, the wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, tried to ease his frustration and his Secret Service detail urged him to get into a car and leave.

    "I'll tell President Bashir about this," Carter said, referring to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
    Branson said some refugees had slipped notes in his pockets.
    "We (are) still suffering from the war as our girls are being raped on a daily basis," read one of the notes, translated from Arabic, that Branson handed to the AP.
    The note said that on Sept. 26, a group of girls had been raped, one of them a 10-year-old, and that a refugee had been shot two days ago. Branson said it had been handed over by an ethnic African man.
    "All (refugees) living in the town of Kabkabiya are vulnerable prisoners who live under injustice and intimidation," the note also said.
    For the most part, the refugees here appeared too frightened to speak to the visiting delegation. The single refugee representative Carter managed to meet at the school pleaded with an AP reporter out of earshot of Sudanese security for Carter to ensure he would not face government retaliation. Carter then went back to the man and wrote down his name, assuring him he would look out for his safety.
    Most of the community leaders the mission met during its two-day visit to Darfur appeared to be government-vetted, and several ethnic African delegates told AP they had been intimidated by authorities into turning down invitations from "the Elders."
    "This illustrates the challenges that communities and humanitarian workers face in Darfur," said Orla Clinton, spokeswoman for the U.N. Mission in Sudan, who witnessed the incident.
    More than 200,000 people have been killed since the conflict in the western Sudanese region of Darfur began in 2003 when ethnic African rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government, accusing it of decades of discrimination. Sudan's government is accused of retaliating by unleashing a militia of Arab nomads known as the janjaweed — a charge it denies.
    The visit by "The Elders," which is headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureates Carter and Desmond Tutu, is largely a symbolic move by a host of respected figures to push all sides to make peace.
    Tutu led a separate group to a refugee camp in South Darfur, where he told British Broadcasting Corp. radio the joint African Union-U.N. force was needed immediately.
    "It's awful that AMIS (African Mission in Sudan) should be allowed to be here when it is so inadequately equipped — I mean they couldn't evacuate their injured from the camp after the attack because they don't have military helicopters," he said, referring to the weekend attack on the African Union base.
    Carter accused the international community of neglect for taking too long to mobilize over Darfur.

The problem is that we Americans can't be bothered with little matters like Darfur. Not when there is this critical matter of Rush Limbaugh's mid-day blathering.

And the American television news can't break-away from the made up Limbaugh non-story long enough to even mention President Carter's very heroic efforts to end the real violence, real deaths, real rapes and real starvation in Darfur.


Vigilante said...

Bravo Carter. Boo Limbaugh!

Bob Keller said...

Bravo Carter, Boo Harry Reid, Boo the USA's so-called "News" organizations.

It's misguided people like Harry Reid and the bloggers over at The Huffington Post that give the likes of Limbaugh and Ann Coulter their notarity.

The tragedy is that there isn't a real leader in the Senate who wants to stand at the podium and give Carter his due and save the comdemnations for al-Bashir.