On Sept 3 we decided that we would risk going to St Paul to take part in a peaceful rally to raise awareness about the ongoing Genocide in Darfur. The event combined the national organization Camp Darfur with several local groups. The host organization, Minnesota Interfaith Darfur Coalition (MIDC) estimated around 200 people attended.Camp Darfur is:
An interactive awareness and education event that brings attention to the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan, and gives individuals the opportunity to discover their own power to make a difference. This traveling refugee camp raises awareness and examines Sudan’s Darfur region and its humanitarian crisis – genocide – by placing it in historical context with Armenia, Holocaust, Cambodia, and Rwanda. Camp Darfur empowers communities to raise their voice and take action for the individuals of Darfur.
According to St Paul's Pioneer Press Coverage:
"People have Darfur fatigue, for one," said Rabbi Sim Glaser, who co-founded the MIDC and helped organized the day's events. He said that three times as many people showed up to a rally — in the rain, no less — three years ago. "People can't deal with the enormity of the problem."
I might agree with that statement, but I think that the anarchists and police levels in St Paul, may have had a significant effect on turnout as well.
This was one of the major lines from a professor at the U of Minnesota's Human Rights Center:
The event, which featured musicians, experts on the violence in Darfur, and religious leaders in the Twin Cities, urged people to pressure representatives in Congress to do more to end a conflict that has resulted in the deaths of at least 300,000 people.
A similar number to the entire population of St. Paul.
Again from the Pioneer Press, one of the more powerful speakers:
Alice Musabende [pictured at right], who was orphaned after her family was killed in the Rwandan genocide, didn't mince any works, and her frustration about inaction boiled to the surface during her speech
"People were watching O.J. Simpson" during the 97 days of killing in Rwanda, she [Alice]said. "I have a question 'What on earth does it take for you to act?'"
As a survivor, she can be a little more forceful. It made me wonder what I did - nothing. I knew nothing about it in my little southern Ohio bubble.
The main action point was to call 1-800-Genocide. It will walk you through the rest of the action. We also spotted some people wearing Team Darfur garb.
Darfur RNC08 Camp Darfur St Paul