The Common Good

Three Priorities for Darfur

I have a confession to make. In the ninth year of the 21st century, and on my own 46th birthday, I may be the last activist left in America that has never penned a blog. So here it is, my maiden voyage. And I am only writing this because Jim Wallis asked me to, after we did a press conference together in the Capitol Building this past week. Ever since I met Jim 20 years ago in a northeast D.C. gym, I would follow him anywhere, even into the world of blogging.

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Today I'm writing to implore you to stand up in support of the people of Darfur. Now, more than ever, with the expulsion of 13 aid agencies, they need our voices. President Obama is overwhelmed by a multitude of crises, so he and the new Congress need to hear from us that Sudan is a priority too. President Obama appointed a Special Envoy this past week, which is a great first step. Now his administration needs to turn its attention to three policy priorities: feeding the hungry, demanding justice, and supporting peace.

Ultimately, America can play a huge role in ending the violence in Sudan by quarterbacking a peace deal for Darfur and ensuring the implementation of an existing peace agreement for Southern Sudan. At the same time, we must work with other nations to ensure that all Darfuri citizens have unfettered access to aid. Quietly, the U.S. should work in support of the end of the bloody 20-year-reign of President Omer al-Bashir, who is now the subject of an arrest warrant for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.

These objectives can be reached if Christians all over this country assume our responsibility of being our brothers' and sisters' keepers and raise our voices for our brothers and sisters in Sudan. We need to let President Obama and the new Congress know that as voters, this issue matters to us, and we don't want to see more words without real action. Genocide is a unique crime against humanity. It demands our urgent attention and action. Write to President Obama and your senators and tell them to do all they can to end the genocide in Sudan now. Be the upstander that our faith urges us to be.

John Prendergast is co-founder of the Enough Project and co-author with Don Cheadle of the book Not on Our Watch. See the Christian Companion to Not on Our Watch at www.enoughproject.org.

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