Generous Orthodoxy  




Wednesday, April 06, 2005

How to honor the memory of John Paul II with ten minutes of your time

Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist, has been doing more than any other secular reporter to publicize the genocide in Darfur (Sudan). He has identified the most important measures that need to happen in order to stop the ongoing rape and killing of innocent African villagers (about 300,00 dead so far, according to the British government). Doctors Without Borders say that at present, all they are able to do is administer first aid to people who are going to be killed later. Humanitarian aid is not what's needed, but a security force—-precisely the action that would have made the difference in Rwanda in 1994.

Mr. Kristof forthrightly declares that the most significant tribute to John Paul II would be, not flying to Rome for his grand funeral, but mounting an expanded UN and African force with logistical support from the US. He also calls for Condoleezza Rice to visit Darfur immediately. Third, the Congress should pass the Darfur Accountability Act in Congress (the White House has not even taken a position on it).

It is so easy, with email, to send a message to Congress or to the Secretary of State. I went to the local Roman Catholic Church yesterday to light a candle to the Holy Father, but in the same amount of time I could have sent several emails and letters asking for:

1. An expanded security force from the UN with US support. (This is what President Clinton failed to do when 800,000 Rwandans were being killed.)
2. A visit to Darfur from the Secretary of State.
3. A vote in Congress for the bipartisan bill called the Darfur Accountability Act.

I am going to do that right now. Maybe readers can help mobilize congregations that have been praying for Darfur to take these actions.