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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

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  • 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.

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« The Genocide Bloc | Main | Local Janjaweed agent of the global Genocide Bloc »

August 11, 2004



Great iniciative to claim attention to this terrible crisis of Darfur.
We have a lusophone african weblog, writen in Portugal, and have had lots of posts about the Sudan conflict and humanitarian catastrophe.
We'll give notice of your "Passion of the Present".
Best of Luck


Unfortunately, along with the three levels of genocide, "crisis, crime, and conspiracy," we're also seeing Albert Hirschman's three justifications for nonaction which were cited by Samantha Power in "A Problem from Hell." Those are futility, perversity, and jeopardy. Policymakers have used those excuses by stating or implying that any action to stop the genocide either won't help or might actually be harmful.

There's a fourth element at work here which ties in with the "conspiracy" element, and that is complicity. A number of countries, which you mentioned, are enabling the genocide not by inaction, like most of the world, but by working directly to prevent a solution.

It's time for the United States to assert some moral leadership to stop the Genocide Bloc in its tracks and mobilize an anti-genocide bloc to save the millions of people at risk in Darfur.

Jim Moore

Thanks to both of you. I will track down the Portugese blog--would love to link to it. I believe, by the way, that there are open source translators who move between the two langauages.

We do need an anti-genocide bloc. Good concept. The world could use a pro-human-rights bloc.

In a certain sense, for nations this is one of those situations where the old slogan applies: "You are either [actively] part of the solution, or you are [consciously or unconsciously] part of the problem."

The frightening thing about the Genocide Bloc is that it is achieving substantial influence over the situation in Sudan and in the international community.

Jim Moore

The Portugese blog that AdamastoR is

check it out!


Keep the focus on. I will continue to cover this outrage and will point here.

Katrin Verclas

Jim -- we are in the final stages of the design of the downloadable flier for the Voices in Wartime ( national film screenings (I'd love your creative energy on the written copy)to raise awareness about Sudan. I think the fliers/call to action can be used for other face-to-face events as well such as the Day of Conscience, etc. I'll send you what we have so far so you can give input.


Jim Moore

HI Katrin, I will be back in email range tommorrow--meanwhile also feel free to use your editorial put a small post on the main page here at POtP describing your ideas for using Voices in Wartime as a contribution to stopping the genocide in Sudan. Thanks so much!

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