Friday, May 04, 2007

Global Days for Darfur (and too much sun!)

Last year while watching George Clooney speaking on the Darfur rally in front of the White House, I promised myself that the next time there's a Darfur rally in Miami, that I would attend. Now, a year later, I was headed with my mom to a demonstration in front of the University of Miami of. This was an obligation for me as an activist, since the genocide that has claimed so many lives has reached it's 4th anniversery. I needed to be there along with others whom share the same common goal in mind. The thing was, my mom insisted that we get an early start so we left at 10:00am, despite that the rally would take place at 2:00pm. So, mom and I had to wait for a couple of hours and this made the waiting longer and it was over 85 degress outside! Finally, two people showed up wearing Save Darfur shirts and it turns out that the girl, Sarah had planned the event and came with her boyfriend. Soon, more people showed up and brough homemade signs. I had great chats with some of them, and by the time I knew it, about 30 people had showed up to join the demonstration. Cars honked at us for support and the energy and optimisum was at a high. All of us cheered as more cars honked, and despite that my feet were burning and my mouth dry as sand, I felt good. As I left, a tidel wave of emotions came at me that moved me to tears. I can't explain why, but maybe it was for the simple fact that across an ocean, at another continent, another time zome, someone whom has lost all their family, is wishing that somebody, anybody would save them. I just hope that more pressure can be applied towards action against this human tragedy.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Where the Darfur are you?

I became a writer for OUTLOUD, a newspaper for teens a couple a months ago and one of my goals was to write an article on Darfur's genocide. I figured it would'nt be so hard. After my first attempt, the editor told me that it was to technical, to which I agree and to try again. After rewriting the article, I was confidant that it would pass the inspection. But once again, it was rejected, due to it not ''concecting'' with the readers. I did feel bummed and disapointed for not being able to write a simple article about a region in Africa and the mass murder of a race. Fortunatly, the staff decided to write an editorial on it and at least I'm given credict and hopefully more people will find out about Darfur.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Jeffrey Sachs - Reith Lecture

Today Jeffrey Sachs (Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University), gave the first Reith Lecture, a series of discussions on BBC Radio, which tackle some of the challenges facing our world today. This first lecture was very relevant and in tune with the work of Never Again, and our methodology of critical thinking and connectivity.

He ended by quoting former US President Kennedy:
"So, let us not be blind to our differences - but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal."

I recommend you to listen to his speach or read the transcript. His next lecture will be delivered from Peking University, Beijing in China [for those of us in London, he will also be delivering one at SOAS; and for us in New York, at Columbia].

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Darfur's demize

It's now almost five in the morning and I'm all awake sitting here on my computer, drinking ice water, while in another time zone, a young girl of boy are either running away from the Jangaweed or starving at a refugee camp. I often find myself wondering two things: what would it be like to suffer what they are going through? And if I was given the chance to go to Darfur, would I go at the risk of me being hurt or killed? No matter how hard I try to make believe, I can never know how much the Darfurians are suffering and although I would jump at the opportunity at going to Darfur, it's easier said than done, I guess. While I'm on the subject, here's an update on Darfur:

*The Intenational Criminal Court has already said it's first war crimes suspects on charges of genocide. This is music to my ears, since this is a very important milestone towards bring those responcible to justice.

*Actress and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Angelina Jolie recently went to Chad's border to visit refugees from Darfur.

*The U.S. State Department reported on human rights abuses happening worldwide, which they mention Darfur being the worst human rights abuse in the world. As for the U.S. own assement on the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuses and Gitmo? Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice notes that the U.S. doesn't "think ourselves perfect.''

As for me? All this week, I've been posting flyer's all around my school and telling my teachers about what's happening. My Algebra teacher told me about how whenever she see's on of the flyer's, she thinks of me and now knows about Darfur. I remember early on last year, before undertaking the intiative that if I can get at least one person to know about Darfur, then I'd have done my job. I know I still have a long way to go, but at least in my heart, I'm doing my part in helping Darfur. I'm just a person among the hundreds of thousands of dedicated activists worldwide who aren't backing down and won't stop anytime soon. If all of us want to honer the memory of victims of genocide in place like Rwanda, Bosnia, and the Holocaust, then instead of feeling sad, we should take action. It the least we can do.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Bamako Review

Socially Conscious NYC, a project of Never Again International organised a group of people to watch the acclaimed new film from Malian director Abderrahmane Sissako. To read the review, please click here.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Creating a Culture of Peace

Florence, Italy

My Grandmother – Joanna Lace – recently read a book by leading Brazilian Liberation theologian Leonardo Boff titled Fundamentalism, Terrorism and the Future of Humanity (SPCK, 2006). Boff seeks to understand and explain the phenomenon of fundamentalism, and to identify its causes and possible solutions. Joanna found the book so inspiring and thought-provoking that she has donated a copy to the Never Again International Peacebuilding Centre Library in Kigali, Rwanda.

For those of us not able to visit the Peacebuilding Library in person to leaf through Boff’s book for ourselves, here is an interesting quote from his conclusion:

"There are many philosophers of some stature, such as Martin Heidegger, whose thought rescues an ancient tradition that goes as far back as the time of Caesar Augustus. These philosophers see ‘caring’ or ‘taking care’ as the very essence of the human being. Without a sense of being caring or without being careful a human being can neither live nor survive. Everything needs to be caring and careful in order to survive. Being caring and careful represents a loving relation towards reality. Wherever we see one caring for others we see that fear disappears; fear that is the secret source of all violence, as Sigmund Freud argued.

The culture of peace begins when we cherish the memory and the examples of figures that represent ‘being caring’ and ‘being careful’. And when we live the generous aspect that inhabits us, such as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and others have done.

It is important for us to undertake small changes…and we must start these changes in us, since we are the cells of our communities. Each one of us must establish as a personal and collective project peace as a method and as a goal, peace that is the result of co-operation, being caring, compassion and love – all these must be lived every day. As we can understand, peace does not develop of its own accord. Peace is always an outcome of values, behaviour and relations that have been lived. The final and joyful result of these values, behaviour and relations is peace; peace which is perhaps the good that is currently most desired and required by humanity."

Monday, January 01, 2007

A Good Year

The raining in of never ending words
Standing up
screaching of pain
The awaking of an Upstander
Nothing's in my way
(but then again, it never has)
Left behind
Leading the way
Going my own path
A plethera of feelings.
This was a good year
Wonder what's in store 2007.