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.
Formerly known as the Genocide Intervention Fund, the Genocide Intervention Network (GI-Net) has been working to increase more awareness and to incite change into the devastating situation in Africa. The Genocide Intervention Network was founded in October 2004 “in order to give citizens a more direct way of doing something about genocide and mass atrocities,” says Rita Kamani ’08.
After atrocities such as the Holocaust, vows were made that such horrible incidents would never occur again yet atrocities in countries such as Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and recently Darfur have again followed trends of genocide. “GI-Net not only aims to educate and raise awareness about genocide, it also empowers individuals and communities to hold governments to their broken promise of “never again” and to contribute directly to protecting civilians from genocidal violence,” adds Kamani. Swat’s chapter of the GI-Net (Swat Sudan) has aided this widespread campaign and has brought awareness not only on campus but in the community as well, including schools, religious institutions, and other groups in the community.
Since the advent of the organization, GI-net has raised $250,000 to provide protection to the residents of Darfur. In addition, the GI-Net is working towards increasing awareness in Darfur with a female-sensitive perspective. This branch of the GI-Net “will work to alleviate the widespread and under-reported scourge of the Darfur genocideÃ¢â‚¬“ rape,” comments Kamani.
Back on campus, the Swarthmore chapter of the GI-Net is planning many events for this semester in addition to its current Power to Protect campaign. Events include “a concert, fundraiser, a speaker, a media-targeting campaign and a disinvestment campaign,” according to Kamani. Past campaigns include the 100 Days of Action Campaign, the Be A Witness Campaign, and the Genocide Hits Home Campaign.
On April 28th, the Swat GI-Net chapter is helping to organize a lobbying event that will congregate many concerned activists all over the nation. Swat Sudan has also aided in the creation of the Raphael Lemkin scholarship which is “the first such scholarship specifically designated for anti-genocide work,” adds Kamani.
Due to greater coverage and concern of the issue, various pieces of legislation have been introduced in Congress. In November 2005, the Senate passed the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act. Another bill is still sitting in the House of Representatives. Yet to help such a critical issue more aid from the government is needed, say members of the GI-Net, who are “also pushing for an Emergency Supplemental to the Fiscal Year 2006 budget allocating at least $50 million to assist the African Union Mission in Sudan,” adds Kamani. An effort to allocate resources to assist the African Union Mission did not go through in last year’s budget.
The GI-Net is a recognized non-profit organization functioning out of D.C. Various strides are being taken to reduce the atrocities and fight for human rights in genocide stricken areas. Students looking to join the effort can attend the Sudan Saturdays meetings at 2 p.m. in Trotter 2nd.