Time to get the facts correct on Darfur

OK Jamie. I would like to begin by saying that calling people “racist” is seriously bad form. Secondly, if I were a refugee from Sudan, especially living here within our school community, reading your article, I would be nauseated by your tone. Thirdly, the pamphlets we distribute are designed, printed and funded by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, not stoned hippies. And I actually need to correct both Jamie and Magda about economic sanctions; the U.S. already imposed sanctions on Sudan, beginning in 1997, under Clinton. The effect has been mixed because it targets both the government in the North as well as the Southern regions. The South is struggling to rebuild after 23 years of war and government marginalization. (The New Sudan Education Initiative – NESEI – is working on this issue.) The effect of imposing economic sanctions has also been mixed because our State Department doesn’t enforce them very well- if they feel like lifting a finger at all. In addition, their ineffectiveness is compounded by the fact that anyone in the United States can make money by purchasing shares in publicly traded companies in the New York Stock Exchange, like Taftnet or Sudatel (a Sudanese telecommunications monopoly) who actively coordinates this genocide by turning off cell phone towers so people being attacked by government helicopters can’t communicate or send warning to those nearby. This is what targeted divestment is dealing with- shutting down specific companies who are making this genocide possible. Out of the 50 states in our nation, 29 of them have officially initiated political campaigns to divest state portfolios from companies financing genocide in Sudan. Several cities have also adopted divestment legislation. Many colleges and universities have followed suit; UVM is one of them. So, Jamie, you may glance at newspaper articles and feel that Darfur is a lost cause, and given the way the mass media slants this sad story, I don’t blame you. But as the vice president of STAND, I have reason for hope everyday- I see real actions having real impacts right here at UVM. Please get more info on this at http://www.sudandivestment.org. I encourage you, Jamie, to only engage in thoughtful, respectful debate. I invite you to our meetings to speak your mind. Please visit our table in Cook Commons every Monday, or come to Lafayette 207 at 7:30 p.m. on Monday night.