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    Young girl with infant child at refugee camp in Darfur. Photo by Dan Scandling, Office of U.S. Representative Frank Wolf

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The Passion of the Present (the essay)

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    In Darfur, a region in western Sudan approximately the size of Texas, over a million people are threatened with torture and death at the hands of marauding militia and a complicit government. Genocide evokes not only the moral, but also, the legal responsibility of the world community. Under international agreement, a nation must intervene to stop a genocide when it is officially acknowledged.

    "Officially" is the key word here. So far, no nation in the international community has "officially" acknowledged the truth: Sudan is a bleeding ground of genocide. In this void, the Sudanese government continues to act with brutal impunity.

    Thankfully, there are individuals working in human rights organizations who are watching - and witnessing - and organizing, in support of the victims in Darfur. These individuals represent, for all of us, a personal capacity to bear witness to the passion of the present; one candle lit against the darkness.

    However, before one can light a candle, someone has to strike a match: a donation to any of the human rights organizations active in Sudan, contacting your government representative, local newspaper, radio and t.v. station. Our individual activism is essential for the candlepower of witness to overcome and extinguish the firepower of genocide.

    This world has long endured wars that take lives. Let us be part of one that saves them.

    About: The Passion of the Present site is a totally non-profit labor of love and hope - in peace. Thanks for joining the effort.

  • Detailed administrative map of Sudan
  • Oil concession maps
  • Climate and biogeography of Sudan
  • Satellite Images of destruction in Darfur, from USAID

About this blog

  • Greenribbons_3 partner

  • GOOGLE SEARCH THIS SITE: More than 2966 chronological posts from April, 2004. Try "oil" "China" "women" "genocide treaty" "UN" "Kofi Annan" "timelines" "grassroots".

  • Our name comes from an essay entitled "The Passion of the Present" that one of our grassroots founders wrote and circulated by email in March of 2004. The blog started at the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School.

    The editors are semi-anonymous in order to keep the focus on Sudan. This site is a resource for a blog-based information community now numbering several hundred interlinked bloggers and sites. Visitors come from around the world. Daily traffic ranges from just under a thousand visitors, to more than eight thousand on days when news attention peaks.

    Our technology cost for a public blog service, with no special discount, is still just $13.46 per month! Start a blog if you don't have one already!

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« If you are in the Boston area, there is an event at 4:00 this afternoon on Darfur at Harvard. All are welcome. | Main | UN Security Council discussed Darfur on Wednesday, will continue on Thursday »

July 07, 2004


Zeke Rabkin

Your website is an absolutely phenomenal resource about the genocide in Darfur....and the rest of the world's bungled efforts in preventing it.

Do you know of any source of info on grass roots movements to heighten local awareness of the Darfur disaster.

It seems that "how you can help" nearly always boils down to write to your congressional representatives, Bush, Powell, Annan etc. or give money to a broad array of very worthwhile relief organizations.

Are their examples of successful community-wide activities which have helped build a visible movement to keep the pressure on the Sudanese government.

The virtual community is great....but it doesn't "speak" to the people who aren't already interested in stopping the genocide.

Are their any models that can be replicated from one community to another? Have there been any demonstrations which have eluded press coverage?

Keep up the fantastic contribution you're making to heightening awareness about Sudan.


Jim Moore

Zeke, thanks for your help, and thanks for the question. I think this is a huge missing element of our campaign, and indeed of all online campaigning. There is a small group on MeetUp--which you can see by the link. And the American Anti-Slavery Group seems to be able to bring some people together in Boston. My biggest hope is with churches and other religious groups, but we have not really made outreach to them in a systematic way. Long-time activists for South Sudan are in Christian churches--both white and black. Also, the Jewish community, including local congregations, may be a source of help. The Holocaust Museum has been active on Sudan for several years, and we are in discussions with Facing History and Ourselves--a group that does Holocaust-related teaching in schools, to prevent genocide.

If you have an interest in pursuing this sort of thing, let me know and we can see if we can be helpful to you. Anyone else reading this, same thing. We see the need, but maintaining this site has been about all we can personally pull off. I do believe grassroots organizing would be very very helpful, and would complement the online work. Thanks much, Jim

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