A guest post by TikunOlam
Just over a month ago I attended a conference at Kean University in Union, NJ. The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies hosted the International Conference on Human Rights entitled: Darfur: The First Genocide of the Twenty First Century. I was so proud to see that the Master of Ceremonies was Professor Harry Reicher, a man with a velvet kippa and a long beard. And it was no surprise that amongst the many diverse attendees, there were many kippot and women with sheitels in attendance. And those were just the Jews with the obvious garb.
In my opinion, the most powerful speaker of the day was another gentleman with a very Jewish sounding name, Dr. Jerry Ehrlich, a New Jersey based pediatrician and former volunteer with Doctors without Borders. He spoke about the horrible atrocities he witnessed while working in Darfur and shared a Powerpoint presentation of children’s drawings which he smuggled out of the country. If there was ever any doubt in anyone’s mind about what is really going on over there, the children’s pictures assuaged those doubts. While I couldn’t find Dr. Ehrlich’s collection of drawings online, I was able to find a link to drawings which portray similar images.
I was touched when Dr. Ehrlich told us that when people ask him if he believes that he accomplished anything in Darfur, that he responds by explaining that in his religious tradition, "Saving a life is the equivalent of saving the world." I believe that was quoted to me when I was in my rut and posted "My Hurricane."
As a Jew, I am proud of my people for being at the forefront of the movement to help the people of Darfur.
So what can we do?
According to the speakers, when there is a lot of noise being made criticizing the Sudanese government, the killings decrease. Multiple speakers said that those green wristbands, the tee-shirts, the lawn signs, and letters to local politicians actually help. They credited President Bush and his administration for the good work they are doing in Africa though all believed that he is not doing enough. They said that Bush cares about his legacy with regards to Africa because it is a place where he has been portrayed as a hero and not burned in effigy. In fact, some refugees in Darfur have named their children after him. So the more noise that is made, the more Bush feels he must respond.
I won’t go into a whole long discussion of China’s role in all of this as this post is long already, but if you’d like to learn more about what can be done, check out the information regarding the importance of China’s role as well as general information on the crisis in Darfur at the websites listed below.
And for a recent article see: