Thursday, July 24, 2008

accidentally caring (trendiness aside)

On our recent trip to Michigan, I brought two books with me. I burned through them in a couple days, with much of the trip left. So in a panic, we rushed to the store to find a book that would adequately feed me for the remainder of our time in Michigan.

I chose "What is the What", as posted recently.

Throughout the book, it was entertaining, curiously informative, sad, offensive, disturbing and heartwarming. His village was destroyed/dehumanized, and he traveled with the "Lost Boys" until living in refugee camps, and ultimately coming to America through Christian organizations that seemed to have dropped the ball, or bit off more than they could chew in some ways. Or maybe their only concern was "getting him into America", or even "getting him into Heaven". Having just finished the book, it was a somewhat positive ending, and I felt good that things were heading in a better direction for him.

The final pages contained information about the author, and about Valentino Achak Deng, of whom the book is written. There was a link to a site describing the current work he's involved in. I figured I'd check it out, because the story was just that compelling.

Great work IS being done in Southern Sudan, thanks to the awareness these stories have brought to the area. But a LOT is left undone, especially in neighboring areas still affected by the traumatic conditions described in the book. It's far from over. Refugees are still living out similar stories to Achak's on a daily basis. Innocent villages burned to the ground, forcing people to live on the move, and die on the move. Women are raped. Children killed for fun. Men killed out of fear.

Why doesn't the US act on these horrible things being done? The obvious answer, there's a lot of oil in them hills. The not-so-obvious answer - information. The Sudanese Government is giving out small amounts of information here and there, and is thought to have more in the future...on potential terrorists, etc. Bin Laden began a lot of his organizational networking there in Sudan. So out of fear of offending those giving us small pieces of info, the US treads lightly on the genocide happening still today.

It's affected over 2.5 million already displaced refugees, and continues to spread. You can watch a video on it all here...but a warning: offensive words/images, and you will probably be broken.

You'll notice that yes...it does involve the Darfur Region. I was hesitant to post anything, because I know how trendy being an activist for Darfur has become, with rich and famous people wearing shirts, and having concerts, etc. And yet...here I am.

What can we do? The Valentino Achak Deng foundation has a great resource page...a good place for anyone to begin.

We believe in prayer also...cheesy as it sounds......let's do more than just this...but let us also pray.

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