We are not eager to have our country known as one that chooses to ignore the genocide occurring in Darfur, and yet it is happening. But perhaps we should clarify what is meant by the phrase "our country." Clearly, there are many people in the United States who are not ignoring the genocide in Darfur. Thanks to the efforts of Ashlee Hardesty, Bunnie Poullard, Ben Young, and others, in just the last month many more people at Pepperdine have been made aware of what is happening. And yet "our country"--our government--continues to act as if a few pre-election expressions of concern are an adequate response.
Nicholas Kristof, as he has on many occasions in the past, addresses Darfur in his column in the New York Times today. Kristof, noting that President Bush has yet to announce his position on the Darfur Accountability Act, which would seek to pressure Sudan's government into halting its support for the janjaweed militia, asks, "Does Mr. Bush really want to preserve his neutrality on genocide?"
Other countries--or at least other governments--have been equally (if not more) passive about addressing the genocide in Darfur. This, however, does not excuse the United States' failure to act. After all, "with great power comes great responsibility" (as Uncle Ben put it to Peter Parker in Spiderman).
Kristof concludes with a simple appeal to our common humanity:
On each of my three visits to Darfur, the dispossessed victims showed me immense kindness, guiding me to safe places and offering me water when I was hot and exhausted. They had lost their homes and often their children, and they seemed to have nothing--yet in their compassion to me they showed that they had retained their humanity. So it appalls me that we who have everything can't muster the simple humanity to try to save their lives.
Read Kristof's column and ask yourself if there's something else you can do to save 10,000 lives a month in Darfur.