Wednesday, August 15

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I read Oprah.

...but unfortunately this article from the current (September) issue is not online. The "featured articles" available online are primarily in the "why we shop" motif.

Anyhow this article (page 236 and it's one page so you can just read it at the checkout) points out that with a problem as large as Darfur, there is a psychic mechanism at work that numbs us to a problem this big so that we don't "explode with grief."

I get that. The same is true with Palestine. Some suffering is too big to comprehend and we shut down.

There are some things we can do and I try:

Subscribe to the emails at and when they say write somebody do it.

I wear a "Darfur" shirt in public and when somebody says "like your shirt" I try to engage. Even if it means saying this is a huge problem and our tendency is to shut down, isn't it? That gets the conversation started.

Some of you pray, some of you don't. But this "meditation" or whatever I wrote a while ago and I've found it helpful:

Darfur, while more urgent, can be compared to apartheid in South Africa. We CAN, through divestment, international pressure, and demanding our leaders step up to the issue, vanquish hate and turn things around. I may not feel much control over that part of the world, but I have control over my own thoughts, which will not include hopelessness. I have not, and I will not, give up hope for the human beings of the world.


  1. Very true BG. As a a Jewish American, I often get criticized for questioning Israel on their expansion. What's going on over there is horrible.
    This is a debate in the Jewish community that's really startng to divide us. Its perfectly ok to support Israel, while criticizing their efforts to grow. The older generation will tell you something different.

  2. Having been to Israel twice, having both Jewish(and Zionist) friends and relatives there(note- for the record I am not Jewish), as well as Palestinian friends, I have seen how the ability to see suffering shuts down big time.

    Anyone who can just think that the Palestinians are the only problem had better do some further investigating.

    Darfur is the same. It is a tragedy o a scale we can't comprehend so many just... tune out. And read the shopping articles.

    Many of my friends find me a bit of a ideologue on the topic, but how can we not be?

    For all my Jewish friends/relatives and others who live on the "never forget" mantra... Well we are pretty much remembering it and more in Darfur? Why not pay attention? And then in the wise words of BG... Be the change, baby!

  3. i write and i forward on to my family and friends and try to discuss it with people that really haven't paid much attention to the suffering. i figure better to do what i can, even a little effort is better than just shuting down and turning away.

  4. Thanks for this reminder.

  5. Anonymous11:02 AM

    Darfur, while more urgent, can be compared to apartheid in South Africa.

    No. Sorry. With all due respect to the author of the article you cite:

    "Darfur is very urgent, and should be more accurately compared to Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, East Timor, the Nazi Holocaust, and the extermination of Native Americans and Australian aboriginal peoples."

    That's a more accurate statement.

  6. That's actually me I'm citing there, Anon, but it's in terms of what activism will be effective against the genocide. I wasn't speaking historically or in terms of ranking human exterminations, which would be pointless anyway.

    Money talks, and divestment, particularly in regards to China, is key to effecting change on this issue, at least if you believe the save Darfur folks.

  7. Anonymous12:33 PM

    China will never fully divest from Darfur, for two reasons:

    1) Its leading trading partners (ie, US) can't even get them to go along with basic health and safety standards for imports (can you say "Mattel"?), so what makes anyone think our government, or any other, will be able to get them to divest. We're still sending our athletes to the Olympics, our networks are still covering it, the advertisers are still in place to line the Chinese government's pockets.

    We need to send in troops, now.

    2) The divestment from South Africa was a huge campaign over several years which got international attention and support. Heck, I marched for that.

    Anyone here marched for Darfur? Seen a march for Darfur? HEARD of one?

    There WILL BE a series of marches across the country this fall. You can find out where the colsest one will be to where you live, and sign up, at I did.

  8. Anonymous9:28 AM

    Or we could just all wear our Panties for Peace ...and nothing else....

    Maybe that would get the attention of those that choose to remain unengaged... yes, even when psychologically motivated, I believe non- action is a choice!


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