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Wise Words

Monday, May 21, 2007 by Sam Davidson

As part of the conference I attended last week, I was able to hear John Prendergast deliver the luncheon keynote. John is a Senior Advisor to the International Crisis Group and has been to the heart of war zones and atrocities all around the world to tell the stories that need telling.

John was informative and inspiring. Like Robert Egger, he believes that nonprofits need to be on the forefront of organizing efforts if they are truly to make a dent in the world's problems. John highlighted the easy things everyone can to do help end the genocide in Darfur.

John has a new book coming out with Don Cheadle, which also highlights these actions and why they are badly needed immediately. John comes across as informed and passionate about this cause and you get he feeling that he'd go out of his way to get the chance to tell anyone at all about the horrors happening in Sudan and why they must end. That's what I call inspiration.

One of his best quotes was this, when talking about why ordinary individuals have to pressure their elected leaders to do something about the genocide:
Unless there is a consequence for inaction, there will be no action.
While I could wax philosophically about how this quote details the unfortunate landscape of American politics, the truth it conveys is much more important.

For a politician to do anything, there must be grave repercussions for staying the current course. Inertia is biggest to overcome in Washington, and it takes a great force to get the ball rolling and motivate a leader to author legislation, appoint a committee, or convene a meeting.

But the silver lining is that these folks do listen to the people. A flood of letters, a stream of phone calls, and barrage of emails will wake someone up. Jerry Falwell knew this and it forever changed the makeup of American political-religious activity. The NRA knew this and were in Senate offices minutes after the Virginia Tech tragedy.

So now it's our turn to know it as well. I'll leave you with John’s suggestions on what any and all of us can and must do. Act now:
  • Write a letter to your representative or Senators.
  • Schedule a meeting with them when they’re in town.
  • Call the White House.
  • Send an email to any of these elected officials.
  • Get others to do the same.


Monday, May 07, 2007 by Sam Davidson

The first step is stopping a genocide is to find the truth. Then, you tell that truth to as many people as possible.

It was reported today that Amnesty International has uncovered a terrible violation of the arms embargo imposed on Sudan. Russia and China are accused of supplying the government in Khartoum with weapons. These arms are then being taken to Darfur, where one can only assume they will soon be used to kill innocent people.

I still hold out hope that a lot of diplomacy and negotiations can be used to end this conflict. But, when the Sudanese government, aided by other nations, deliberately violates sanctions, there needs to be a louder and stronger voice.

Of course then it gets complicated as to what this 'voice' is and who is speaking. But, it just might be time - no, it's way past time - to clearly outline what is expected from Khartoum and what will happen if these expectations are not met.

China's Big Move

Monday, April 09, 2007 by Sam Davidson

Could today's news about China be the major step forward that a lot of us have been waiting for? China told Sudan's President, Omar al-Bashir that his country needs to improve its security.

While this is hardly the muscle that strong China really needs to flex, it's a start. China, which will be hosting the Olympics in about a year, is one of the biggest trading partners with Sudan. Many have thought that China is the key piece in the puzzle that needs to be in place to stop this genocide.

This is a big step for China, which normally likes to remain silent on a lot of things. As they amass more and more capital, they can afford to do so.

Hopefully, China will continue to apply pressure enough for everyone to go back to the negotiating table and figure this thing out. Unfortunately, it won't happen without China's influence.

Tomorrow Night

Monday, March 26, 2007 by Sam Davidson

If you're in Nashville, make plans to com hear Dr. Gloria White-Hammond speak about the latest happenings in Darfur.

No matter your level on interest in or knowledge about the conflict, the lecture is sure to be a valuable experience.

Get the details here.

I Watched a Movie: Lost Boys of Sudan

Monday, March 05, 2007 by Sam Davidson

Lynnette and I watched Lost Boys of Sudan this past weekend. Just like God Grew Tired of Us, this film follows the fascinating journey of Sudan's Lost Boys as they are plucked from their refugee camp life and transported to the US. While Lost Boys are not native of Darfur necessarily, their story is important and can give insight into the horrendous downward spiral that is modern day Sudan.

As one might imagine, going from eating meager rations one day to having more food that you know what to do with the next can be quite a transforming experience. As can seeing your landscape littered with tall buildings whereas you previously only saw huts barely taller than you.

Each film chronicles a set of boys who tell of their fight for the lives when their homelands in Southern Sudan were raided by government militias. These young men are called the Lost Boys because many do not know where their parents are. If they are lucky, they might be part of the rare few who reconnect somehow with their mother, who was taken to another African country.

The Lost Boys who survived the thousand mile trek for survival were resettled eventually in refugees camps in Kenya. Then, little by little, some are given asylum in America through groups like Catholic Charities and the YMCA.

But adjusting to life here is not easy. Many rely heavily on aid from churches and other groups while the improve their English, get a job, and try to finish their education. Some Lost Boys become isolated, having been separated from the close ties they developed in the refugee camp. Others can't quite grasp the language enough to get driver's licenses or decent-paying jobs or begin a higher education.

But some do pave a way here, and after graduating or saving enough money, want to return to Sudan to help better the lives of many who are still there.

The story of any Lost Boy is fascinating and worthy of listening to. Chances are, some Lost Boys may have been resettled near you. For more information, check out the Lost Boys Foundation.


In hopes of raising awareness about the reality of genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, Sam Davidson writes every Monday about a key issue in an attempt to stop the atrocity. Doing so may not bring about a wave of change, but it is a small ripple that represents the tide that needs turning. He is the co-founder and President of CoolPeopleCare.

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