EDITORIAL | Bush administration sits back as students take action

By Elizabeth Brachelli and Kather
March 15, 2007

Everyday Iraq is the dominant news story, from morning to evening. Iraq, may be the focus, but let’s remember that the rest of the world has not stopped. Buried deep into the pages of the newspaper and not even shown on the evening news, is the devastating genocide of Darfur, Sudan, which has taken the lives of over 400,000 innocent people for the last three years.

Although declared a genocide by President Bush in 2004, hundreds of thousands of slaughtered Africans have gone practically unnoticed in the news media. Darfur has become the 21st century’s first genocide. The Darfur genocide has left thousands of villages destroyed, millions starving and battling diseases while facing rape and murder according to the Catholic Relief Services.

It is now two years since President Bush declared this genocide and it is still going on. People are still dying everyday. Women and children are still being raped everyday. Men are still being murdered in front of their families everyday. We can call it whatever we want, but that’s not going to stop it from happening.

The Darfur genocide is a haunting similarity to the Rwanda genocide that took the lives of 800,000 people. The Clinton administration was well-known for its peripheral involvement in intervening and speaking out against the Rwanda genocide. Yet, here we are again. The Bush administration is facing another genocide and failing to intervene.

Declaring Darfur a genocide was the toughest step. The Bush administration also made a financial pledge of $2.7 billion to Darfur. Recently, Bush also sent Andrew Natsios, a special envoy for Africa, to meet with Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in Khartoum.

As the catastrophe continues to brew, it is obvious that a strong United Nations force is needed to stop the genocide in Darfur. However, it is difficult when Bashir refuses the assistance of the UN and insists that the UN would attempt to recolonize his African nation. This type of attitude only indicates further the need for help for the people of Darfur. There own government is part of the problem and they are thinking more with there wallets than with their conscience.

Nonetheless, Bashir can avoid the UN’s help in part because China, a permanent member of the Security Council, wants to protect him with the threat of using its veto, according to the Washington Post. Beijing’s willingness to support Bashir is simple, greed for oil. Believe or not 7 percent of China’s imported oil already comes from Sudan, according to the Washington Post.

Why is the United States not forcing China to pressure Sudan to stop killing its own people? Why aren’t we telling China to stop playing buddy-buddy with Bashir, so that they can gain the necessary support to send in UN forces to end the genocide in Darfur? It’s frightening to see that governments care more about saving their economy than their own people.

STAND, the Student Anti-Genocide Coalition, has over 600 high school and college chapters dedicated to putting an end to the genocide. STAND is the largest student movement in the country and growing with a new chapter joining everyday. STAND has been pushing members of Congress, only to find our Congress on a grade average from “A” to “F” is averaging a mere “C” for its efforts to end the genocide. STAND has over 600 chapters in support of this, yet we’re not seeing the results from our government.

It’s been 2 years, 7 months and 24 days since the U.S. labeled Darfur a genocide and it’s great to see students at other colleges and high schools taking action. Yet, it’s about time we see our government do the same.

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Elizabeth Brachelli and Kather

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