Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Darfur: An American Embarassment

In my post on 21 October (Where are we going, and why are we in this hand basket?), I brought up that Congress was in the process of passing a bill that would declare the massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire following WWI as a genocide. The larger question that occurred to me after posting that was:

Why is our government willing to officially 'accuse' our biggest ally in the Middle East of committing a genocide nearly a century ago, while there is a rather significant genocide occurring in Darfur?

As I've thought about this, I've actually become quite disturbed by the fact that our government appears to have put the blinders on;

if it doesn't have to do with the War on Terror or Iraq or Iran, then it doesn't exist.

Has our government really come to this? While Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran will be determining U.S. policy for the foreseeable future, have we truly turned the other way on humanitarian issues that far outweigh what are comparatively petty political differences?

No wonder President Bush and the Congress have low approval ratings (both hovering around or below 30% according to recent polls.) Our government seems to be distracted on what has made America what it is in the world today. The dollar is plummeting with countries switching to the Euro as their "official" business currency, our credibility in dealing in global affairs is becoming questionable, and with soaring debt, U.S. will likely become a slave to the credit of booming industrializing countries for some time to come.

Putting this issue in materialistic terms most Americans might understand, Darfur could change America, if nothing else acting as the saving grace to our image abroad. Here are some of the facts about this crisis that is ravaging on in Sub-Saharan Africa while we're sitting here groaning about "high" gas prices.
  • Crisis started in February of 2003
  • The current UN estimates of the death toll is at about 450,000 with an estimated 2.5 million who have been displaced. Imagine the population of the Kansas City metro (and then some) being displaced. The population of Johnson County, Kansas alone is over 500,000.

The Southeast Asia tsunami in 2004 killed over 225,000 people in one fatal swoop. Humans over the past 5 years have killed twice that. Any loss of life at the hands of men is unacceptable; what is happening in Darfur is despicable.

  • Names to know of groups/countries in this conflict - National Redemption Front [(NRF) consists of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the Sudan Liberation Movement, and the Sudan Federal Democratic Alliance], the Janjaweed (which means "man on horse" loosely translated from Arabic), African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), and of course Sudan. The United Nations is so far the most significant international force in the region.

Please, I implore that everyone who's reading this pay more attention to this crisis then the rest of America has so far. Attention to this conflict is growing, and it is my prayer that more attention from our government can be given to this, because in the end, the most profound solutions to this will be from the hands of not just our government, but governments worldwide.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Politics At Its Finest

Here's a good one: What happens when a Democratic presidential candidate proposes a bill in the House of Representatives to impeach the current Republican Vice President of the United States?

The Republicans in the House support the bill, of course. That's what we would all expect, right? Yeah, right...

Who gets the blame for pursuing such a trivial matter, like impeachment? The Democrats who didn't vote for it.

Here's what makes politics interesting: you have one of the most liberal Democrats trying to pass a bill that will impeach, and if the charges are confirmed, will result in the removal of the Vice President. The Republicans support the bill, overwhelimingly I might add, to force the Democrats to debate the issue, effectively making fools out of themselves. Then you have the White House accusing Democrats of wasting time trying to pass such a bill (even though Republicans overwhelmingly support it) and saying that they need to spend more time on important issues, such as children's healthcare, an issue that our valiant Republican President, as of yet, has refused to support, no matter what the Democrats in the House come up with.

Ahh, tis but another sunny autumn day in the Capitol...