June 18, 2007

Manic Monday: Heat

Morgen established the Manic Monday word as heat. There are many places on the globe the heat of the battle burns bright. For good reason we hear regularly about the civil war taking place in Iraq because so many of our American troops are taking part in it. However, there are major wars going on in other parts of the globe ... including Afghanistan, Darfur, North Korea, West Bank and Darfur. War is nothing to take lightly. The press covers each of these major blights on a daily basis. However, here in the safety of our world it becomes easy to ignore the heat of war. I find that most Americans ... and I imagine many 'villagers' ... are ill-informed about these other conflicts.

In my case, I am sad that so few of us know about the genocide in Darfur. Sudan is the largest country in Africa, located just south of Egypt on the eastern edge of the Sahara desert. The country's major economic resource is oil. But, as in other developing countries with oil, this resource is not being developed for the benefit of the Sudanese people, but instead, for an elite few in the government and society. As much as 70 percent of Sudan's oil export revenues are used to finance the country's military.

Darfur, an area about the size of Texas, lies in western Sudan and borders Libya, Chad and the Central African Republic. It has only the most basic infrastructure or development. The approximately 6 million inhabitants of Darfur are among the poorest in Africa. They exist largely on either subsistence farming or nomadic herding. Even in good times, the Darfuri people face a very harsh and difficult life; these are not good times in Darfur.

The current crisis in Darfur began in 2003. After decades of neglect, drought, oppression and small-scale conflicts in Darfur, two rebel groups - the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) - mounted a challenge to Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir. These groups represent agrarian farmers who are mostly non-Arab African Muslims from a number of different tribes.

President al-Bashir's response was brutal. In seeking to defeat the rebel movements, the Government of Sudan increased arms and support to local tribal and other militias, which have come to be known as the Janjaweed ("devil on horseback"). Their members are composed mostly of Arab African Muslims who herd cattle, camels, and other livestock. They have wiped out entire villages, destroyed food and water supplies, and systematically murdered, tortured, and raped hundreds of thousands of Darfurians. These attacks occur with the direct support of the Government of Sudan's armed forces.

One aspect of the conflict that we need to understand is the impact China has on the situation. I suspect that the issue of China's support of the Sudanese government will become much more visible as we get closer to the 2008 Olympics being hosted by China. The issue was raised at the recent Democratic presidential candidate debates.

'Villagers', there are many aspects of this story for all of us to explore. I encourage you to check out the briefing paper on the genocide in Darfur provided by the SaveDarfur.org folks. Other random thoughts:

Bottomline? Our Manic Monday jaunts around cyberspace are fun, however, we should take a moment to reflect on the heat that others are experiencing. Perhaps this Manic Monday each of us will take a moment to (a) learn more about the genocide in Darfur and (b) take some personal step to help.

Perhaps we can each pledge to donate a dollar for everyone that leaves a comment or signs our Mr. Linky thing-a-majig! Just a thought...


tegdirb92 said...

what an excellent choice for MM. So many of us are unaware of anything that is not in the realm of our daily lives. We go about our own daily grind and sometimes don't stop to think what is going on in the rest of the world. Peace to you today :)

Comedy + said...

This is truly a shame. There shall never be peace in the world I fear. Excellent post on a terrible heat.

Jamie said...

At least now after so many years, the world is becoming aware of Darfur. We can only hope that collective pressure might bring some resolution and end to the suffering.

Paula Neal Mooney said...

God I pray something changes over this.

I'm so comfortable sitting in my air-conditioned and/or heated home living a really good life.

And people are suffering.

I just feel like I could be doing so much more.

Change will come.

Gattina said...

Yes it's a real shame what happens in Dafur and nobody really cares. I am sure if they were white people the whole world would move !

Shaz said...

An excellent use of Manic Monday my friend. This needs to end & soon x x

Amazing Gracie said...

A wonderful exercise in humility today, and humanity as well. (All done in the name of that wonderful religion of "peace".)
And thank you for actually giving us something to do about it!

Rethabile said...

It's a question of Mankind vs the Panda

Villager said...

tegdirb92, comedy+ - Thank you for your kind words. I still hold hope that our world can enjoy peace at some point in time. It occurs when more of us say, "no more".

Jamie - I hope that our country's government can set a better example for the world on how to deal with genocide. Time will tell.

peace, Villager

Villager said...

Paula, Gattina, Shaz and Amazing Gracie - I appreciate your comments. Thank you for taking time to visit the Electronic Village today!

peace, Villager

sasha said...

I feel ashamed that I am not aware of this. But now I do, thanks to you, Villager.

Reba said...

WHOOF!!! This is a long one for a doggy to read. Mom fell asleep so we'll both be back in the morning to read what you wrote.

I’m a puppy dog
With my own blog.
Bring me a treat
And we’ll talk about heat.
Come visit.

mousey said...

i hope the whole world will know about this. thanks for a very informative post!

Villager said...

Sasha - One of the benefits of the Internet is the information and knowledge and opportunity to learn that it provides for each of us. I am glad that MM:Heat was able to open up new information for you this morning.

Reba - This might be of more interest to the humans in your home!

Mousey - I agree!

peace, Villager

Callie Ann said...

Sad to know that we hardly ever get to know what is really going on thru the western media. If it were not for this blog world none of us would know these horrid things to be true. Thanks for sharing your serious heat. Best Heat of the day.

Keith said...


Wonderful post, and very thorough. I've said it before, but it bears repeating that I really appreciate your determined and consistent focus on the tragedy in Darfur.

Also, I got your message about Manic Mondays, and thanks much for the tip. I've decided that I will start participating as of today. Seems liek a cool thing to get involved in, and it definitely helps with the occasional writer's block!


Morgen said...

An excellent post for Heat.
I think it's a shame that the US is so wrapped up in other conflicts that Darfur was mostly ignored until the administration needed a distraction.

Just my opinion.
cheers to you, for participating in Manic Monday, and for sharing your beliefs and this post with us.

Yolanda said...

Very informative and well written post. Darfur is a tragedy that must be resolved and soon. My heart goes out to all families affected by this genocide. Thanks for this Manic Monday.

the teach said...

Electronic Village, I received this in an e-mail today:

Dear Mary,

It's not too late! Help us reach our $400,000 goal by June 20th with a secure, tax-deductible donation.

We're just $83,000 away from reaching our $400,000 goal so we've extended the deadline for this campaign until midnight on Wednesday, June 20th.

Please give today (https://secure.ga6.org/08/supportdivestment/nT7M4dn71_hq9?) to help us cut the supply of money that is fueling the violence before more lives are lost.

The devastation in Darfur continues to worsen.

Want proof? Just compare the before and after satellite images (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/artsandliving/magazine/features/2007/documenting-atrocity-061107/gallery.html) of what was once the Bir Kedouas village but is now just a blackened scar in the sandy terrain. According to the Washington Post, the entire population was either killed or fled.

Unfortunately, Bir Kedouas is just one of hundreds of villages that have been destroyed in the four years since the violence began, erasing the lives of as many as 400,000 people and creating a refugee population of over 2.5 million men, women and children.

That's why we can't afford to wait to ramp up the pressure on companies that are fueling the genocide in Darfur.

Please cut and paste(https://secure.ga6.org/08/supportdivestment/nT7M4dn71_hq9?) to make a secure, tax-deductible gift to help us reach our $400,000 goal to support Divest for Darfur and other crucial projects.

Your gift will help ensure we have the resources to:

* Keep the pressure on Fidelity Investments to fully divest its holdings in PetroChina.
* Target more corporations like Fidelity to urge them to divest.
* Encourage more states to divest their pension funds. Fifteen have already divested -- let's make it all fifty!
* Recruit more activists to help increase the pressure on Fidelity and other corporations, and on Congress and the White House.

Four years of genocide is four years too many. We must do everything in our power to prevent more villages and their inhabitants from suffering the same fate as Bir Kedouas.

Please donate today to help us raise the remaining $83,000 we need to reach our $400,000 goal by June 20th.

Thank you again for your help and your commitment to stopping the violence.

We'll be in touch again soon.


Colleen Connors
Save Darfur Coalition

Villager said...

Morgen - I am grateful to you for being the founder of Manic Monday. It has been rewarding to research different issues to address your weekly meme. I hope that some of the other villagers will join the meme in the coming weeks.

Keith - Dealing with writer's block is a major issue for me as I've gotten to this point in my blogging career. Manic Monday is helpful. I try to use it within the framework of my Afrocentric-focus on this blog. I think that the two weekly memes (MM and Wordless Wednesday) have helped to increase my Technorati rank via the link-love that they bring. Anyhow, I think that all of us should consider 'em!

peace, Villager

Villager said...

Callie Ann - Our blogs are both entertaining and informative. I'm trying to use the MM weekly meme to inform. It isn't always easy ... and it isn't always pretty, however, comments such as yours make it worthwhile!

Yolanda - Asante sana for your comments. I hope you will come back and visit with us again in the future!

peace, Villager

Villager said...

Mary ~The Teach~ - The photos from the satellites are scary when you consider the human impact. Thank you very much for sharing that letter with us. Four years of genocide is much too long.

peace, Villager

Travis said...

There is so much suffering and pain in the world. It can almost be too much for Americans to understand.

But we must try. Thanks for keeping the light shining.

cooper said...

Darfur deserves much publicity. Coaliton for Darfur had the first blog fo rDarfur two years ago when no one as listening. I joined that coalition at the time. It wasn't until " the movie stars" started to get involced that the moajority of Americans even paid attention to it.
The reasons for Darfur are complicate they stem frm poverty, potable water accessibility, ignoring Darfur and the issue of Western Sudan which are separate but often consuming of the governments time.

To keep it in the news, to keep awareness of China's complicity,
the ineptness off the UN, the avoidance of the issue until recently by European Union, and to pay attention to the rhetoric thus far not acted upon by the United States, is important.

Sanni said...

Excellent take on the theme - thanks for reminding us. Jersey and I decided both to donate one euro for each comment and linky-entry we recieved during this MM edition!

Thanks for stopping by our blogs... sorry for catching up so late this week...

Villager said...

Travis, Cooper and Sanni - Thank you very much for visiting MM here on the Electronic Village. Your comments are on point ... and Sanni, the fact that you made a cash donation as a result of Manic Monday is fantastic!

peace, Villager

PurpleZoe said...

Bless what you're doing. There's positive power in it. I'd be glad to participate.

Shine your Lovelight

PurpleZoe said...

Bless what you're doing. There's positive power in it. I'd be glad to participate.

Shine your Lovelight

Villager said...

PurpleZoe - It is a pleasure to welcome a new villager to our discussions! I hope you are able to come back often!

peace, Villager

Martin Lindsey. said...

I'm late to Manic Monday (maybe I'll catch up next week) but not to the Darfur situation. I didn't realize however that China was in on the deal. It's probably why we're not in it directly.

Not only because of the upcoming Olympics and a growing trade relationship over the last 10-20 years but because the possibility of going toe-to-toe with the other superpower on the planet is an unthinkable last resort. I think we and the Chinese know that's more than a notion.

That's why we've been trying to soften them up economically to our way of life (see any number of articles on the booming Chinese middle class) so we don't have to take it to the battle field.

Economic alliances and military alliances always seem to clash with each other and mis-align with the greater good and the right thing to do.

So, Wayne, explain Manic Monday once more to a slow poke like me. Does somebody just throw a word out and everybody takes it where they want it to go? Are you the Monday wordsmith? Is it a word and theme combo? I'm lost. Looking for the bread crumb trail.

Villager said...

Martin - Manic Monday meme explanation

peace, Villager