Since our participation in Darfur Action Sunday two weeks ago I have had a few conversations wondering about our interest and suggested involvement. One question revolved around whether or not we are encouraging military action. We are not encouraging military action as a first resort and would only suggest something of a UN Peace Keeping presence in order to put an end to the atrocities being committed at the hands of both the government and the government allied militias. For example in the November 25 edition of The Daily Oklahoman the following was offered under "World Briefs",
Attack in Darfur called ‘deliberate
GENEVA – An assault on the town of Sirba in Sudan’s Darfur region earlier this month apparently was "a deliberate and unprovoked attack" by government forces against innocent civilians, a U.N. human rights official said Friday.
"Hundreds of armed men, many in military uniforms and some in civilian clothes, on horses, camels and in several trucks and Toyota Land Cruisers, attacked the civilian population," said Praveen Randhawa, a spokeswoman for the United Nations’ high commissioner for human rights.
The African Union had said previously that the Nov. 11 attack was a raid on a refugee camp and neighboring villages by government-allied militiamen known as janjaweed.
In another post I noted the "60 Minutes Piece", "Searching for Jacob." The expose helped point out the ways in which our government may already be involved. I could be crass and suggest without the presence of a natural resource on which we are dependent there is little motivation for governmental intervention. Let me just say we need to assemble the right voices to exert the right kind of political pressure to end the violence in Darfur.
Another question came when one wondered what a person does when they do not feel the same about the crisis in Darfur. My response has largely been that what we asked requires about 15 minutes and a computer of phone. I could press harder and say how is it we cannot feel something for innocent who suffer mercilessly. If we can raise enough awareness of the kinds of things that happen when people are reduced to an "enemy of the state" and then systematically or even randomly attacked, raped, murdered and driven from their homes then we may well look around in places much closer to home and discover the initial steps that result in disregard for life occur all around. We have many neighbors suffering such a plight.
Our intent is to raise awareness, pray and urge our leaders to do more. Our hope is something will be done. Our desire is for those who worship with us will be more aware of the insidious ways we ourselves reduce people to throw away objects – by race, habit, lifestyle, economic status – and dishonor the call and illustration of Christ to "love our neighbor."