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Choices and Words

There was unfortunate news out of Khartoum today: Sudanese president Omar al-Beshir has summarily rejected a multinational UN force from keeping the peace in Darfur. Mr. al-Beshir believes that foreign intervention in his country will not help the people victimized by the genocide in Darfur. Instead, the president believes that the current AU force is enough to keep the peace and preside over the deteriorating security situation.

It doesn't take an expert on Darfur to know that such a suggestion is naive at best and absurd at worst. Perhaps Mr. al-Beshir is afraid to take a good long look at the situation his government is more than partly responsible for. A simple walk through the refugee camps in western Sudan and eastern Chad will show that people are remaining hungry, militias still run rampant and the depleted force of African Union soldiers is much too little to help keep the peace and give the victims a chance at recovery.

Even worse, Mr. al-Beshir claims he is committed to peace in Darfur. He says, "We reiterate our determination and keenness to achieve a lasting and comprehensive peace in Darfur through direct negotiations with the rebels to stop the bloodshed and killing of women, children and elderly people." This is ironic since another man, Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, has been jailed three times in the past year and a half for advocating for a lasting peace in Darfur. While Mr. Adam has his own views regarding the positive impact of security forces, his plight reveals the hypocrisy of the current regime.

As I told a south Florida congregation this weekend, the situation in Africa in general and Darfur in particular is a big mess. Pick a disease and an injustice, and I'm sure you can find it in Africa. This scares lots of people and paralyzes them from action. They look at the continent and think, "Where can I even start? There's so much that needs to be done, surely I can't make a difference. Big things need to happen in order to bring about change, and my small thing won't amount to much."

Obviously, logic like this will prevent anything good at all from happening. Every little act counts, whether it is signing up for the Million Voices campaign, donating money to a worthy organization, or supporting more UN and American involvement. Regardless, something must be done, and Mr. al-Beshir's words do very little to relieve the situation. Remember: inaction is a choice, too.

“Choices and Words”