Report from Denver Darfur rally

I went to the Denver’s sparsely attended ‘Save Darfur’ rally today with signs made special for the rally. US OUT OF AFRICA, US/NATO OUT OF SUDAN, and STOP US WAR ON SOMALIA were 3 of them, and we used these to face the listeners that numbered about 150.

Some attending seemed to agree with our message, while others were rather hostile. As I passed out fliers my message was, ‘US OUT- NOT IN’. Many would ally with the Devil himself to try to stop the killing, and the huge number of deaths from this war is certainly horrifying with nobody in the antiwar community wanting the bloodshed to continue. However…

What is the context of this war? We have people calling on their government now committing genocides in Iraq, Palestine, and Afghanistan to come to the assistance of others suffering from fighting occurring in another country. I heard at the rally, many blaming China and Arabs for the mayhem in this one region of Sudan called Darfur. I saw not one sign and heard not one person other than our group mention what the US is doing now in Somalia. Nobody brought up the genocide in the Congo that has killed many more than in Darfur. Nobody but nobody had any sign calling for US OUT of IRAQ!

We had one sign that had the US flag on it and the word GENOCIDE, and then a short, short list of the genocides the US has been involved with. NATIVES, SLAVES, KOREANS, SE ASIANS, IRAQIS. We could not put the many other ones on a poster board sign. They would have included RWANDA, ANGOLA, ANGOLA, MOZAMIQUE, THE HORN OF AFRICA, THE CONGO, and others lesser known ones on the continent of Africa alone. The US has played a major role in all these genocides, yet many in arms about the Darfur massacres insist on trying to turn the US government into a peacekeeper!

The Darfur activists are demanding that US ‘take action’, that the federal legislature put pressure on Bush to be aggressive. One group actually had a score card on this, and listed Congressman Tom Tancredo as having an A+ along with Senator Ken Salazar. No surprise here at all, as Pelosi’s gang actually are trying to outflank Bush to the Right on demanding ‘action’. That’s right. Some Democrats like Democratic Party Congressman Donald Payne are now calling on Bush to start a bombing campaign on Khartoum! So much for the Darfur crowd as being ‘non-violent peacemakers’ we think. How sick is this? A Democratic Party Congressman and a ‘peace organization’ together calling on George W. Bush to initiate yet more military action on yet another country? All in the name of ‘stopping genocide’!

Well that’s enough for now, other than to further mention again that the head of the ‘Save Darfur Coalition’ is straight from the US State Department and the UN Security Council’s US support operations branch for occupying countries invaded by the US. Not satisfied with how few countries the US has invaded, occupied, and/or bombed he wants to try for yet more I guess? See this press puff piece about former US Ambassador Lawrence Rossin. He now heads up the ‘Save Darfur Coalition’! He’s going for another one it seems! Bombs away, Lawrence!

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4 Responses to Report from Denver Darfur rally

  1. Avatar Kirk says:

    Criticism is cheap. What’s your brilliant solution for Darfur?

  2. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    Nothing brilliant to it at all, Kirk. I think that with a little imagination and thought on your own, even you could come up with a solution besides sending in the troops, could you not?

    Why not start out with a ‘Marshall Plan’, not a martial plan to assist Darfur and the rest of Africa, too? After killing tens of millions of Africans over the centuries, why not demand that the European and American governments send in the dollars, not the troops?

    What gets me, is the absolute poverty of imagination of the ‘Save Darfur’ crowd. Kirk, you seem to be a good example of that.

  3. Avatar Mary Lewis says:

    My name is Mary Lewis and I am part of the Denver chapter of We held a rally along with STAND, Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action, and Sudan Divestment Task Force on Sunday April 29 at Cheesman Park in Denver. Between 500 and 700 people attended the rally. I did see you Tony, at the rally, and I wondered why you were there, to be quite honest. We are not calling for troops on the ground as you seem to think. We are calling on states to divest from companies doing business with the government in Khartoum. The speakers for the event were: Andrew Romanoff, Colorado Speaker of the House who was instrumental in the Colorado Divestment bill which our Governor signed 2 weeks ago. Achmed Ali, the Secretary General of the Darfur Association in USA (DAUSA) and Daowd Salih, the Board President of the Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy.
    I was able to host Daowd on Saturday night, as this is truly a grassroots movement and lots of non-profit organizations are involved we have to give as much of ourselves as possible. Daowd is a refugee of the Massaleit tribe from the Darfur Region of Sudan. The Massaleit Community in Exile (RMCE) is a human rights Group that was founded in Egypt by Mohamed Yahya, Daowd Salih, and others in 1995 to alert the world of the abuses unfolding in Western Sudan.
    Damanga is a new organization that works on human rights and advocates for peace and democracy in Darfur and Sudan. Mr. Yahya and Damanga’s other founding members have established Damanga to expand upon the human rights work and support efforts undertaken by RMCE in the past.
    As a student living in Cairo in 1995, Mohamed Yayha started to receive first hand reports of the terrible crimes that were being committed by the Sudanese government and its Janjaweed pro-Arab militias. It quickly became apparent to Mohamed Yahya that Sudan’s National Islamic Front (NIF) Regime was engaged in a policy to rid Western Sudan of its Black African ethnic population. Mohamed Yahya and other Sudanese students living in Cairo sought to alert the international community of the humanitarian crisis that had begun to unfold in Western Sudan so they started an organization called the Representatives of the Massaleit Community in Exile (RMCE). Since that time the RMCE has been dedicated to ending the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Sudanese government against the people of Darfur.
    RMCE’s founding members came form many different ethnic Sudanese backgrounds including the Massaleit, Fur, Dajo, Zagawa, Bargo, Gimir, Tama, Berty, Barno, Meme, people from the Nuba Mountains, South Sudan, and other parts of Sudan. Believing that the pen is mightier than the sword, the members of the RMCE sought to protect the people of Darfur through peaceful means such as advocacy and education. With no financial resources, Mohamed Yayha and other members of the RMCE began this work by writing reports and circulating them, on foot, to all the Embassies in Cairo, Egypt. Their first major open letter to the international community was distributed in this way in 1999 and within weeks of its distribution it was widely referenced by the international community, including the UN General Assembly Publication. Kofi Annan has often quoted this letter in his speeches. In this way the RMCE was the first group to alert the world to the genocide that was unfolding in Darfur. Since this time the RMCE has been working relentlessly, and with no outside funding, to continue distributing the information it receives from those living in Darfur, and the refugee camps in Chad, in order to focus attention on the continuing atrocities unfolding daily in the Sudan.
    Working in Cairo with the office of the United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR), RMCE was also able to sponsor nearly 95% of refugees fleeing Sudan. Mohamed Yahya helped ensure that these refugees received political asylum and resettlement in many countries around the world, including the USA and Canada, Europe and Australia. In 2002, fearing reprisal from the Sudanese government for the humanitarian work that he was doing, Mr. Yahya decided to apply for political asylum to the USA. He has continued to lead the RMCE and advocate for the people of Sudan while in exile in the USA. The Damanga Coalition of Freedom and Democracy was founded to expand on the work of RMCE here in the USA.
    The Meaning of Damanga
    The damanga is the most important part of a family’s home. Sometimes written “Damanka” or “Dabunga,” it is a large storage vessel used by Sudanese farmers to preserve food. It takes women between three days and a week to build a damanga, made from mounds of a mixture of clay, water and dried grass, because each layer needs to dry before the next layer can be piled on. After the damanga is completed, it is left for two weeks to bake in the sun until it is completely dry. When it hardens, the damanga becomes very heavy and cannot be moved or carried. A hut is usually built over the damanga so as to protect it from the torrents of water during the rainy season.
    Damangas are used to store crops (e.g. maize and corn) to keep them from spoiling and these provisions can be lifesaving rations in the event of a famine. Farmers sometimes hide their money or other valuables in the bottom.
    This unique aspect of Sudanese farmers’ daily life gave birth to the Arabic adage “al-donya Damanka derdogo Beshaish” (“the world is like a Damanga, roll it carefully”), which essentially means that life is precious and the world is filled with danger and risk, so be careful and take it easy, or it could be destroyed (like a fragile damanga that will break if rolled hastily).
    I realized after the rally and in speaking with Daowd that we as humans have to do more to get our Governments to do something. France had a rally on Sunday in accordance with the Global Day for Darfur and they had 500,000 people attend the event. No where in the United States did we have numbers even close to those. I am convinced that we need to get people of influence involved so that they can show the world what is happening in Darfur. That is my reason for contacting you. I know that there are many causes that you feel very strongly about and I am hoping to add one more to your list. But we need to take action now.
    This is a genocide that has been given the start date of April 2003, when in fact it started long before that. If you are so inclined to learn the truth about Darfur I urge you to go to there you will find a letter from Darfuri refugees titled: An open letter to the international community: The hidden slaughter and ethnic cleansing in western Sudan. This is a letter that was written by the people of Darfur. This is a genocide that has been occurring for the better part of 15 years, it is only sine 2003 when the rebels said enough is enough and started to fight for their land and their freedom which the government of Khartoum is taking by any means necessary.
    Please try and learn more before spewing your hatred.
    With Peace and Hope the People of Darfur will have their ancestral lands returned to them someday soon.

  4. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    I am not spewing any hatred at all, Mary. My signs were very specific at your rally, and one of them called for the United States getting itself out of Africa, which is what you actually oppose. In reality, you advocate the complete opposite, since you advocate for the US to send troops into Sudan, under some Pentagon controlled command or other.

    These are the three signs we had there.

    US OUT of Africa!
    US/ NATO out of Sudan
    Stop US War against Somalia

    The real question for political minded Americans to ask themselves, is it in anybody’s real interest to further militarize the world by calling for troop interventions by the US government as the ‘Save Darfur’ camp is doing? We think not, and all your sweet talk of ‘damangas’ and et al does nothing to really hide what you are actually working for.

    I, too, just like you seem somewhat to be, am concerned with all the many deaths from military conflicts around the planet. Kirk asked me what my solution would be to help out the people of Darfur? I replied to him, and neither you nor him have addressed what I said yet. I said,

    ‘Send in the dollars, not the troops.’

    What is wrong with that, pray tell? Why don’t you ‘ Save Darfur’ folk call for that instead of demanding legislation that would require troop interventions from Pentagon command control center? I don’t think that you have a good answer to that question and prefer instead to remain silent and talk of ‘danangas’, how evil China’s intentions in Darfur are, and how violent Arabs are towards Blacks instead.

    Tom Tancredo A+ on your legislative report card ? I think that says a lot, too. Madelyn Albright at your rallies with you? I think that says a lot. We could go on, but I will await your reply to what I have just written first.

    One thing I think that many of your activists have in common, is that I do feel that you are sincerely concerned about the bloodshed spilled in Darfur. We are not mutual enemies at all.

    No way was there as many people at the Denver rally as you describe. I was there and counted foll attending. I am interested to learn more about the French rally you mention. 500,000?

    Best wishes, Mary. I do think that we probably have much common ground together and I certainly would like to hear more about your point of view. But calling for European- US controlled troops into the Sudan is just nothing I can support.

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