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.
Photos and reporting by Sadie Rittman.
On Friday, armed with cell phones, suggested scripts, and educational handouts, Swarthmore College’s STAND chapter hosted a call-in urging the White House to appoint a presidential envoy to peace negotiations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Despite a 2002 peace deal between the Congo and Rwandan occupying forces, civilians in the eastern part of the country are still terrorized by militias, including the anti-government M23, and the army.
While the U.N. has had a peacekeeping mission in the country since 2001, Sierra Eckert, a student leader of Swarthmore STAND, described their efforts to mediate talks between the government and rebels as “small and ineffective.” STAND, she said, advocates for the United States to send a special envoy to aid peace talks in addition to the U.N. mission.
Swarthmore STAND, a chapter of the national anti-genocide student coalition, organized the call-in to coincide with other call-ins hosted by students nationwide. The scale of such actions, Eckert said, raises awareness and puts real pressure on the White House.
In November 2011, Swarthmore STAND hosted two call-in days in support of the sanctions against Syria then being debated in U.S. Congress.