My life and my thoughts - on faith, culture, politics, whatever comes to my mind

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Who remembers Darfur

Catez at allthings2all is one blogger who really keeps Darfur on people's minds and hearts. She had the great idea of having Spotlights on Darfur regularly, so it will not disappear somewhere in the vast array of news, ideas and internet pages. So head over there and check out the spotlight!

When I prepared writing my post on Darfur, one thought struck me suddenly: who remembers Darfur? Who remembers the countless victims to slaughter, abuse, killings, rapes, arson and hunger? After being the newspaper headlines for a few days, maybe some weeks, Darfur has disappeared from the newswriters' maps. There is so much else going on: early elections here in Germany, flooding in Bavaria, "Katrina", bombs in Gaza, bombs in Bagdad, neglected children starving, economies failing, dictators in North Corea, dictators in Zimbabwe, nuclear weapons in Iran, nuclear weapons in Brazil ...
As the newspaper headlines chase from on hot topic to another or to a supposedly-hot topic, the people in Darfur are easily forgotten. And I can include myself in the group of those who shifted focus away. Not on purpose! But it happened. When I wanted to start reseraching for my post, I thought: "Wait a minute - I haven't read about Darfur in ages! I don't really know what's going on!"

It is so easy to get all caught up in daily life and all its joys and cares. And then to forget those who suffer. The people in Darfur are forced from their villages, their homes burnt, their crops destroyed. Men, women and children are murdered. Many women are raped, carried along by the militia as prizes and suffering sexual and other abuse over months. Children loose whole families, traumatized from violence forever. As of June 2005 2,96 million people have been affected by the crises in Darfur (source: Unicef). Almost half of these are children.
In the face of such misery and horror and such an immense need for help, governments and international Organizations try to help - but, I think, do not really know how to help. What to do? Obviously efforts sofar have not been very successful. But as I look at myself - I wonder what to do as well? What can a government do? What can we do? What can I do?

That is the question we all need to ask ourselves. Seriously and honestly. A first step is the decision to not forget the poeple in Darfur. But we cannot stop there. The question is: what next?