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Articles and Analysies Last Updated: Oct 27, 2009 - 9:33:43 PM

Blacks missing-in-action at Darfur rally By Robtel Neajai Pailey
Sudaneseonline.com

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Blacks missing-in-action at Darfur rally
By Robtel Neajai Pailey Special to the NNPA from the Washington Informer

WASHINGTON (NNPA)-As momentum increased with a recent rally to end the slaughter of civilians in Darfur, Sudan, blacks were few and far between in a sea of white protesters on the National Mall. "Save Darfur" campaign rhetoric claims that the appeal of the movement is its assorted religious groups, its protesters from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and political affiliations- but did the average black person get the memo?

Black leaders were vocal, yet their followers were hardly visible.

Radio talk show host Joe Madison, who has been arrested with other black activists for protesting the Sudanese government's support of militias in Darfur, served as the rally emcee. Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.), cosponsor of the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act that pushes for sanctions against perpetrators of the genocide, said, "I know that if we care, the world will care."

It appeared, however, that most blacks took a rain check on caring, calling into question whether or not Darfur is a priority for African Americans, West Indians and others in the African Diaspora. In a display of irony, images of black Darfurians on a large projector screen were juxtaposed with mostly white protesters.

One of a few hundred black people in the wave of more than 10,000 bodies, Haitian American Marie Auguste was there. She had taken a train from New York to participate in the rally. Holding a sign with the message "President Bush You Said Not On Your Watch... It Is Happening, Do Something About It," Auguste bumped into Prisca Doh, a native of Ivory Coast in West Africa, who had been using the poster as shade from the smoldering sun. They became engrossed in conversation about the lack of black faces in the lines of protesters.

"There's a very thin line between us here and blacks on the African continent. Katrina taught us that they react to us the same way-with inaction," said Auguste, alluding to the importance of solidarity among Africans on the continent and Africans of the Diaspora. She continued, "If we can't be like the Jewish people and demand things for people that look like us, we're never going to progress."

Auguste was moved to action by the countless images of women and children who suffer most. "Because these are black people, the world has looked the other way," said the New Yorker about the three-year genocide that started when rebels in Darfur sought political independence by challenging the Khartoum government.

The size of Texas, Sudan is a telling example of the 19th century "Scramble for Africa" by European colonialists that meshed together semiautonomous groups-like Darfurians-into arbitrarily formed nation states.

Spilling into neighboring Chad with an influx of refugees, the Darfur genocide has left 200,000 dead and scores of people displaced. The U.N. World Food Program announced recently that it was cutting food rations. Responding to the magnitude of the situation, Auguste encouraged her friends in New York to attend the rally but heard only excuses.

She denounced black church leaders who have been silent on the issue.

"A great deal of black folks go to church... I find it unconscionable that black churches are not talking about what's going on," said Auguste, who believes that blacks in various religious communities would follow suit if the political will existed in their mosques, temples, or churches.

Pat Evans, an African American management consultant based in Fairfax, Va., also wondered why the average black person hasn't joined the movement to push for a robust international intervention in Western Sudan. Jewish groups have compared the crisis in Darfur to the Holocaust, leaving Evans and others questioning what it's going to take to get blacks on board.

"I don't know if it's that we don't feel connected to Africa," she said.

Evans said she became interested in Darfur while on a trip to the U.N. headquarters in New York last February. When Evans returned to D.C., she immediately began sending out missives to black organizations about doing something, but no one responded. Disappointed, she reached out to what appeared to be unlikely allies-mostly Jewish organizations that have since joined the Save Darfur Coalition, a 160-plus member organizational body that sponsored the rally on Sunday.

"I'm really committed to stopping another Rwanda," said Evans about her motivation for attending the rally.

She and her husband pitched lawn chairs in the lush green grass at the Mall and listened to countless speeches calling on the Bush administration to do more than call the Darfur crisis a genocide. "It's going to take commitment from other African states such as Egypt and Algeria," she added. Her advice to blacks who missed the memo about Sunday's rally is "start educating yourselves about what's happening."

Black politicians came out, but their constituents were missing in action. Al Sharpton, who visited Sudan in 2000, said that leaders within the civil rights community were committed to putting the spotlight on genocide in Sudan. He admitted that despite ideological differences, Americans refuse to remain divided on Darfur. "We know that when Americans come together, we can change anything in the world," said Sharpton.

Also present was Rev. Gloria White Hammond, an African American liaison to Sudanese communities in the U.S. and an organizer for the Save Darfur Coalition. She also coordinates the coalition's outreach program for communities of color. White Hammond said more than 760,000 signatures for an online petition to President Bush had been collected for the Million Voices for Darfur Campaign (http://www.millionvoicesfordarfur. org/). Galvanized by this record number of signatures, Hammond encouraged rally-goers to push forward.

"We will not back up George Bush! We're not going to shut up Omar Bashir [president of Sudan] until peace and justice reign in Sudan," she screamed out to deafening applause.

The recent rally in D.C. has been described as the largest mobilization against the genocide in Darfur. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 attended in D.C. and record numbers came out in at least 30 other U.S. and Canadian cities. Participants were demanding that sanctions be placed on Sudan to pressure the government into stopping militias known as Janjaweed from raping women, scorching homes, and pillaging villages in Darfur.

The protesters were also calling for divestment from Sudan. Maryland is now considering request by African American Lt. Governor Michael Steele (R) to remove pension funds from any companies doing business with Sudan. Steele, who has called for the divestment of $25 billion of Maryland assets in Sudan, gave rousing appeal.

He said, "Darfur is more than numbers, it's about human lives...The strength of a nation has been determined by the power of its compassion, let's build the peace, and stop the genocide in Darfur."

Jendayi Frazer, an African American who holds the most powerful position related to Africa in the Bush administration as the assistant secretary for African Affairs, responded to statements about the regime's need to do more in Darfur. As protesters filed out, she said, "This rally and your participation in it represents the very best of our country... The ghost of Rwanda hangs over our heads, but 2006 is not 1994." Frazer, who was challenged few weeks ago at Howard University for touting Bush's track record in Africa, attended the rally as a political gesture of support, she told the crowd, adding that Bush is working to convince other U.N. members to send in troops.

Other black rally speakers included: Congressman Donald M. Payne (D-NJ), Salih Mahmoud Osman, a lawyer and human rights activist from Darfur; Tragi Mustafa, a Darfur refugee and founder of Save Women-Sudan; Simon Deng, former slave in southern Sudan; former NAACP President and ex-U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume; Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Recordings; and Sudanese former NBA star Manute Bol, who has donated millions to relief efforts in Sudan.


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  • Another way to break Abie deadlock by Dr. S.M.Eldebailo
  • The SPLM & Protecting the CPA: Guarding Against the Cynical Obstructionism of NCP Parek Maduot
  • Do Ministers belong to the Party or to the Government? *By James Okuk
  • Habib Bank v Central Bank of Sudan Ismat Abdel Gadir - LL.B
  • DRIVING FAST TO EXPLODE IN THE ABYSS! By Comarde Edward Lino
  • Shilluk Communities vs Shilluk International Congress (SIC) By: Kimo Ajing Aba
  • FASTING RAMADAN IN A MONASTERY: Mohammad Ali Salih
  • It is Darfur Again and the Misery Goes On By E. Ablorh-Odjidja
  • SLM request to delay Libya talks by Tag Elkhazin,
  • THE HONOURABLE WISE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD/Ali Mahmoud Hassanein
  • Will the united Sudan remain attractive for all under the NCP regime?! By Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman
  • The Value of Peace in Sudan: From Ki-Moon to International Wisemen By James Okuk Solomon
  • South Sudan Egyptians relations / John Lawrence Morbe Joseph
  • Will the Failed Abuja Diplomacy Be Repeated in Libya? By Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman
  • Why a reality check is needed on Darfur by Anne Bartlett
  • United, Cairo's poor and poorer get heard
  • A Message from Ajik (Ajang) Union in North American To: Commander and Comrade Daniel Kodi by Fadul H.Haimad
  • What Happened To Gen. Kiir First Vice Presidency Position? / by Isaiah Abraham
  • Eritrea in the Sudan's president's office, By: Mohamed Osman Ibrahim
  • UN Ban Ki-Moon and his Drought Thesis of Darfur Conflict By: Abdullahi Osman El-Tom, Ph.D.
  • UN Secretary General: Mission Impossible By Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman
  • Old Habits Die Hard: The National Congress Party is Back to Its Outmoded TacticsBy: Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman
  • Greatest Marginalization of All Time/Isam Siddig
  • Darfur: A Little Less Talk, A Little More Action by Anne Bartlett
  • Muslims eye America by MOHAMMAD ALI SALIH
  • General Elections in Sudan by the Year 2009: A Fact or a Fiction?/By Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman
  • Alsalkeen Charitable Organization General Secretary. /By Al Sammani Awadallah
  • Cons and Cues About The Sudanese Forthcoming General Election/Isaiah Abraham
  • Animals rights are also rights/Isaiah Abraham
  • SPLM Official Counters the Recent Remarks of the NCP Official over Abyie and Darfour Translated by MAJOK NIKODEMO AROU
  • The Arab Congregation and the Ideology of Genocide in Darfur, Sudan By: Abdullahi Osman El-Tom, Ph.D.
  • Catholics Led to Hell/Written by Daniel Deng Monyde,
  • Keep away from Darfour, Mustafa Osman Ismail, warns the SPLM Translated by Majok Nikodemo Arou
  • Abyei Protocol. by Mayen. D. Ater
  • Darfur Actors and the absence of Road Maps By Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman
  • Judiciary Reshuffle Ineptly Calculated by Daniel Deng Monyde
  • Stop the Genocide and give the security then peace will come/Hamed Mohamedain Omer
  • THE AMERICANS AND ME (2): ISLAM Mohammad Ali Salih, Washington, Asharq Alawsat
  • Unwanted in Israel By Sherine Tadros at the Egyptian-Israeli border
  • ISSUES that Rose From the Sudanese Ambassador Press Conference By Jwothab Amum Ajak
  • Al Bashir Slams on Campaigners against Sudan, Reviews Political Developments By: Al Sammani Awadallah
  • Was Dr. John Garang Assassinated?/Daniel Deng Monyde,
  • What had happened in Darfur?/Mahmoud E. Yousif
  • Abie conflict The Inferno of Nivasha or the Paradise of Peace by Dr. S.M.Eldebailo
  • TEXT- Conclusions of AU-UN, Sudan on the Hybrid Operations
  • Alfashir is nearer than Kampala: JEM/NRF Commends New SPLM Stance on Darfur/By: Abdullahi Osman El-Tom
  • COMSARY by SALMAN OMER MAHMOUD
  • Sudan: The Politics of Naming - Genocide, Civil War, Insurgency/Prof. Mahmood Mamdani
  • US to Sanction Dr. Khalil Ibrahim! A Statement/Gammali Hasan Galal Eldin
  • Can Darfur Survive the CPA?/Abdullahi El-Tom and Mahmoud Abbaker Suleiman
  • GOD OR AMERICA: WHO IS FIRST? 8 DIFFERENT OPINIONS/Mohammad Ali Salih, Washington, Asharq Alawsat
  • It would be Unwise to think that a United Sudan Properly Functions within the Main Frameworks of the Phenomenon of Eastern African Development./Urban T. Kir
  • Darfur Crisis: Mediation Failure (2)/Ahmed M. Mohamedain
  • Government of Sudan and Darfur crisis/Musa Yakub Daoud
  • President Bush "Hurts" for Darfur Darfur Is Safer than US Urban Cities/Ali Baghdadi
  • Our Vision on the prospect of peace to end the Darfur tragedy/By Dr. M.A.Suleiman
  • Lies, Damned Lies and the Darfur Crisis by Anne Bartlett is a Director of the Darfur Centre for Human Rights and Development
  • International Media Ignore Sudanese Voices /AfricaFocus (Washington, DC)
  • Sudanese cyber rally forces website to remove controversial ad by Wasil Ali
  • why war in abyaii by bakhit mohd humaidan
  • Al Salikeen Earmarks 1.2 Billion Pounds for Service Schemes by Al Sammani Awadallah
  • A CALL TO ALL THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH SUDAN/By James Ogilo Agor Agokwech-Rochester, MN USA
  • Will the Quartet Summit Contradict with the UN, AU Role in Darfur By: Al Sammani Awadallah
  • Sudan Vision Carries Out a Survey on Pros and Cons of Humanitarian Aid in Sudan By: Al-Sammani Awadallah
  • Al Khatim Adlans legacy of wisdom and vision/ahmed elzobier
  • WHEN THEY BEG FOR UNITY by Mack Awer Riak
  • The Genocide Glitterati by Anne Bartlett
  • Darfur-Darfur Dialogue Will Not be Held Hostage by Hostile Armed Factions", Says Dr. Omar Adam
  • A brighter future for the Nuba Mountains/by Nuba Mountains Democratic Forum/Nour Tawir
  • A brighter future for the Nuba Mountains by Nuba_Mountains Democratic Forum by Samie A Djudo
  • RIFT KAKUMA HITS BY VALLEY FEVER. By;Mabior Mayom Mayom
  • How Dr. Garang wanted Abyei to be? (1) /By Akol Miyen Kuol
  • A brighter future for the Nuba Mountains by Nuba Mountains Democratic Forum
  • The Doomsday Cult/Ahmed Sam, human rights activist.
  • China must emulate AU wisdom in Sudan by Simon Roughneen for ISN
  • An article introducing our country Sudan by Maha esmeal ahmed esmeal
  • It is a time for all Peace forces to take action By : Matur Aciek
  • Kiir stood to his pledge of no reverse gear/ BY MAJOK NIKODEMO AROU
  • IT IS TIME FOR THE SPLA TO ESTABLISH ITS OWN AIR FORCE/Maker Costa
  • Unwitting Party to Genocide By Stephen Rademaker
  • SPLA, STANDS STRONG AND PROUD!/By Hakim Makuer Gol
  • January 9th- a Day of Peace and Full Independence/By Dr. Mawien Akot
  • Muslim cadet clear on identity/YVETTE CABRERA
  • 2008 General Elections: What Are The Scenarios Awaiting Us?/Maker Costa-Syracuse New York
  • s NCP is planning to rig elections at census level/By Sabrino Majok Majok*
  • Criticism to the Global War Against International Terrorism, (G-WAIT) by Tarig M. M. K. Anter
  • The Swindles of Modern Liberal Democracy by Tarig M. M. K. Anter
  • Peaceful Conflict Resolution & the War on Terror The cases of Sudan and Iraq by Tarig M. M. K. Anter
  • The Jinjaweed Leader By : kuku kadia
  • UA-GSC Sudan Resolution Passes/By Marie Y. Thibault
  • All About Darfur: Is Sudan in a culture of war? By Virginie Wembey
  • AU Recommends Six Month Extension for its Mission By: Al Sammani Awadallah / IOL
  • No South/North border and ABC: CPA is dead.By Sabrino Majok Majok*
  • Darfur destruction is Sudans al-Bashirs Shame/By Sabrino Majok Majok*
  • Relationship Between Economic Mismanagement & Social Instability by Eng. Tarig M.M.K. Anter
  • Fake Modern Religions Are Fighting Faith by Tarig M. M. K. Anter
  • The Ideological Structure of The Conservative Professional Nationalist Party & System by Eng. Tarig M.M.K. Anter,
  • 'Lost Boys of Sudan' By: Kristin Boyd , Staff Writer
  • Sudan's al-Bashir and Palace are imperfect Match By Sabrino Majok Majok
  • Frank Wolf: Divest from Sudan By U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10)
  • Sudanese Native Relates Horrors of His Childhood/By Konstantin Shishkin
  • General Congress of JEM Asserts Creation of a political Party/Professor Mahmoud Abakar Sulaiman
  • Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and the Litany of AU Deceit in Darfur/Dr. Abdullahi Osman El-Tom
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  • Reign of Corruption and political stagnation By Andrew Bak
  • Current American Planning Strategies vs. Planning Strategies of the 50s/By: Adil Bala (PhD)*
  • Free Will, JEM Peace Wing Sign Political and Military Protocol By Al-Sammani Awadallah
  • Only Favourable Humanitarian and Security Conditions are Needed in Darfur By: Al Sammani Awadalla
  • A call to Abolish Sharia Law in South Sudan: GOSS must take a Lead
  • Race and colour consciousness art or is it ... Religions? Hatim Elmadani
  • Who are Landless People in Sudan? Mack Awer -Cairo
  • Darfur: Diplomacy and its Discontents by Anne Bartlett
  • Why Egypt won't press Sudan: the Nile By Dan Murphy | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
  • Pathological Delusions by Ahmed Elzobier
  • NIF is determined to kill CPA By Sabrino Majok Majok
  • Darfur - Solution Must Come From Africans By Mohammed Eisa Ismail
  • The responsibility to protect Darfur By William G. O'Neill
  • Sudanese go tech savvy By Cheryl Lecesse
  • Sorrow in Sudan By Vivian Ho