Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Honoring John Paul II

Nicholas Kristof writes today of the lip service being paid to the principles espoused by John Paul II:

President Bush and other world leaders are honoring John Paul II in a way that completely misunderstands his message. We pay him no tribute if we lower our flags to half-staff and send a grand presidential delegation to his funeral, when at the same time we avert our eyes as villagers are slaughtered and mutilated in the genocide unfolding in Darfur.

The column recounts some of the atrocities that are still occurring in Darfur and notes, yet again, the need for a security force and not just humanitarian aid.

Kristof is not one to mince words. He concludes, "If there is a lesson from the papacy of John Paul II, it is the power of moral force. The pope didn't command troops, but he deployed principles. And it's hypocritical of us to pretend to honor him by lowering our flags while simultaneously displaying an amoral indifference to genocide."

If you want to honor the memory of John Paul II this week and you don't have the kind of public relations budget the White House has, do what Kristof recommends: Write or call to urge your representatives in Congress to pass the Darfur Accountability Act, introduced at the beginning of March by Democratic Senator John Corzine and Republican Senator Sam Brownback. Perhaps those men and women who recently met at midnight on a Sunday in an effort to save the life of one woman in Florida could be troubled to spend a few minutes during a regularly scheduled session of Congress to try to save tens of thousands of lives in the Sudan. It's worth asking about.