Groups Plan For Second Darfur Rally

By Guest Author

Published July 07, 2006, issue of July 07, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Organizers of April’s Save Darfur rally in Washington are planning another large-scale event to draw attention to the continuing killings in Sudan.

The second protest will be held in New York City on September 17 and, like its predecessor, will be orchestrated by the Save Darfur Coalition, a collection of 150 faith-based advocacy and humanitarian aid organizations.

Discussions also are in place to stage rallies across the country that day, as well as in Europe and Canada.

Unlike the first rally, which was aimed at President Bush and at policy-makers on Capitol Hill, this event will court a more international audience. Rally director Chuck Thies said it will focus on the demand for the United Nations, which will be meeting in Manhattan that week, to deploy a peacekeeping force to Darfur.

In addition, Thies said there will be a push to make sure attendees represent an “international community.” He said that the coalition will hold community roundtables in New York’s immigrant neighborhoods, advertise in non-English-speaking newspapers and strive to include world music acts in the lineup.

The rally in Washington leaned heavily on Jewish organizations and demonstrators, a dynamic recently derided by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir as he rebuffed calls for a United Nations peacekeeping force to be stationed in Darfur. “If we return to the last demonstrations in the United States, and the groups that organized the demonstrations,” the Sudanese president said last month, “we find that they are all Jewish organizations.”

Officials at some Jewish groups say that it is too early to tell what role the organizations will play in the New York rally. But two groups that helped organize the Washington event, American Jewish World Service and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, have pledged their support for the New York gathering. Both organizations are members of the executive committee of the Save Darfur Coalition.

Martin Raffel, the JCPA’s senior associate executive director, said he expects the Jewish community to leave its mark on the event again.

Raffel dismissed concerns about the high level of Jewish participation. “It’s genocide,’” Raffel said. “If we’re taking a leadership role, then I say so with great pride.”

The Save Darfur Coalition was co-founded by American Jewish World Service and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004. The museum issued a genocide alert for Darfur even before the American government did.

The conflict, which began in 2003, has left as many as 400,000 people dead. Government-backed Arab militias are responsible for systemically killing, raping and torturing black Africans in Darfur. Many Darfuris now live in makeshift refugee camps, where famine and disease are endemic.

Since the April rally, the situation on the ground has not seen drastic improvement, despite the signing of a peace agreement May 5. The agreement calls for disarming the government-backed Janjaweed militias by October as well as for downsizing the largest rebel faction, but there have been problems in achieving an actual cease-fire.

The September rally is expected to push for a U.N. peacekeeping force to replace ill-equipped African Union troops.






Find us on Facebook!
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.