Why Canadians should let people die in Darfur

Now I’ve got your attention, here is my version of “5 reasons Canadians want to give for ignoring the genocide in Darfur but were *afraid* to say out loud“,

  1. Darfur is too far away,
  2. Darfur is in Africa,
  3. People in Darfur are poor and don’t have the money to buy our goods,
  4. We have no “strategic interest” in Darfur
  5. We don’t understand why people are being killed over there so we just won’t say anything.

The genocide in Darfur has been covered by documentaries like CBC Doc Zone’s “Darfur, On Our Watch” (with full video), and I am watching this video as I compose this blog entry. If you do nothing else, watch the video, so that we bare witness of what happened in Darfur on our watch.

My blog entry here is about one man’s determination of holding a hunger strike at Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s riding office in hope of bringing awareness to the plight of the people in Darfur.

When I met David Swann, a doctor and an Alberta MLA, he has already been on his hunger strike for 7 days and he plans to be on his hunger strike for another 7 days, if needed, to get the PM’s attention. (pay him a visit in the next few days if you can. he is there, I think, 10am-6pm everyday)

The following is a video of my chat with David. Since David is an MLA, one can reasonably ask if he is doing this for his personal political gains? My gut feeling is not. Because Darfur is an “unsexy” cause that people just, sadly, don’t know enough to care.

David may appear a bit “wooden” in the video chat thanks to my camera pointing right at him, sorry David, but I believe his message is clear and honest. And he should be heard.

Here is a message from David’s leaflet,

***The Goal***

Troops on the Ground By Christmas 2007!

Canada MUST Lead!

***The Plan***

Canada should move immediately to work actively with the international community to provide technical and financial resources to equip troops to enter this combat zone and protect the displaced people.

Looking back, I actually wrote an email to the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Foreign Affairs just before Christmas of 2006. Sadly, we are still dealing with the Darfur Genocide today.

One writer has said this about UN’s inaction in Darfur, “If the United Nations could die of shame, it would have been dead years ago.

It is getting close to Christmas time. And unknown strangers dying in a far away place is the furtherest thing from Canadians’ hearts and minds. But I hope and plead that we loving Canadians, can find in our hearts of hearts to think of ways (either by talking to our MPs or personal support) to help the people of Darfur before it becomes another page of our human failures.

History will not look upon our inactions at Darfur us with kind eyes because our inactions in Darfur have shown that we did not learn a single lesson in the genocides of Rwanda, Yugoslavia, and by the Nazis.

If we don’t act now in the Darfar genocide, may be it is time to light up a fire and simply burn the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Because if we don’t ever plan to use this convention do any good, then it is just a meaningless piece of paper that give us a false sense of misguided comfort. A lie that tells us that we are decent people and are able to learn from our mistakes, when in fact we are, based on the governments we elected, nothing more than a group of people who will only act under self-interest.

*******

Here are some websites and info listed on David’s leaflet,

www.savedarfurcanada.org

www.standcanada.org

www.amnesty.ca

* Contact your MP and the Prime Minister

at 1-800-GENOCID(E) (436-6243)

*******

Dec 17th, 2007 Update: I shot this follow up interview with David Swann days ago (on the 11th day of David’s hunger strike). Click here to view in a larger window.

Dec 31st, 2007 Update: I found this Dec 4th, 2007 Ottawa press conference video footage (with David and my personal hero Sen. Romeo Dallaire) from David’s site and I am including it here for the record.

4 Responses to Why Canadians should let people die in Darfur

  1. Peter Mate says:

    I had seen this video when originally broadcast. I spent 3 years in Darfur from mid 2004-2007 and one thing that is missing from this documentary (aside from being filmed basically in Chad) is that there is virtually no mention of the rebel group activities who have been responsible for much of the mayhem in the past 18 months. In my time in the region I worked as a contractor in support of the African Union peacekeeping effort and had attended all to many repatriation ceremonies at the El Fasher airport for the return of fallen soldiers to their native countries – all at the hands of rebel groups. The line between good and evil is very blurred in Darfur…

    I agree, the GoS is far from innocent (I’ve seen the results first hand) but where is the focus on these bandits?

    Peter Mate

  2. kempton says:

    Thanks Peter for your comment.

    You may have a point with the rebel group activities but I am not conversant enough to say one way or another. But what I do see is a genocide happening in Darfur, and if we don’t do anything now, history will be very harsh on us (each and every single one of us, voting adults in this era) that we let all these atrocities happen on our watch.

    Forget about which sides is right or wrong, the killing has to stop. period.

    Regards,
    Kempton

  3. […] Kempton Lam recently did an interview with me outside of Harper’s office and put it up on Google Video and his blog (https://kempton.wordpress.com/2007/12/11/helping-darfur/) […]

  4. […] Kempton Lam interviewed me at the beginning of my time outside Harper’s office, and did a follow-up interview on Day 11. Watch the video below, or visit Kempton’s blog: https://kempton.wordpress.com/2007/12/11/helping-darfur/ […]

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