Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Friday, a group of experts will speak and answer questions about the genocide in Darfur, Sudan and the global responsibility to end it. This panel, titled “A Responsibility to Stop Genocide,” is sponsored by Swarthmore Sudan, the Genocide Intervention Fund (GIF), the Cooper Foundation, and the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, and will be held in LPAC at 5:30.
On the panel will be Dr. Zac Nsenga, the current Rwandan Ambassador to Washington; Eric Reeves, Professor of English at Smith College and one of the most prominent figures in current research on Sudan; Gayle Smith, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and the former Senior Director of African Affairs at the National Security Council (1998-2001); and Gregory H. Stanton, the current president of Genocide Watch. After the panelists speak, there will be time allotted for the audience to ask questions.
Senior Cara Angelotta, media director for GIF, emphasized that the panel will be more than an opportunity to learn about the genocide in Darfur; attendees will also have the opportunity to learn about effective ways to end it. After the panel, resources will be available for direct action, through letter writing campaigns and with action kits.
The panel is a prelude to Genocide Awareness Month in April and GIF’s ‘100 Days of Action Campaign’ to raise $1,000,000 in support of the African Union’s (AU) peacekeeping force in Darfur and to facilitate the writing of 100,000 letters urging government officials to take action to end the genocide. The campaign will begin with the public launch of the Genocide Intervention Fund on this year’s April 6th anniversary of the beginning of the 100-day Rwandan genocide in 1994. In Darfur today, after two years of genocide, 400,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced, but the AU’s troops are kept from their full potential by financial, equipment, and logistical shortages that GIF hopes to alleviate. GIF strongly encourages Swarthmore Students to support its campaign with action, by traveling to DC on the 6th to make noise at the press conference, and hopes Friday’s panel will inspire such action.
Reemphasizing the critical need for this kind of action, Susannah Gund, a freshman and management director of GIF, said that the most important thing about the panel was not to learn about the “facts of genocide” in Sudan but to recognize them and then take up our responsibility to act to change them. More information can be found at http://www.genocideinterventionfund.org.