fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Default)
Like I said in my last post, I missed the first half of the debate. (So feel free to fill me in!) But from what I saw, honestly, I'm not terribly excited about it. Not much was said here that wasn't said at the first debate.

The one thing that was new was a more or less concrete discussion of the situation in Darfur. The specific question was when should the US involve itself in ending genocides and other conflicts, and I felt that the candidates took that question in pretty fundamentally different ways.

I was pleased that Obama talked specifically about Darfur and about the things we can and should be doing to help end that genocide. Although he wasn't quite as specific as Biden in the VP debate, he also wasn't vague, which was a nice change from what both campaigns having been saying so far.

McCain, unfortunately, took a question about American intervention in situations of genocide and used it mostly as another opportunity to talk about Iraq. What he did say with regards to the actual question was that we need to be sure we can effect real change before we send troops in to help end a genocide. That's a good and valid point. But I wish he would have said more about what he actually intends to do, and what measures could be taken short of sending troops. (Like, for example, providing the helicopters the African Union force desperately needs, or imposing no fly zones, or putting greater pressure on the UN Security Council to send a peacekeeping force.) I'd like to give McCain the benefit of the doubt and say that he just missed an opportunity to tell us about the steps he does plan to take, short of deploying troops. But what came across in his response was that he thinks military force and deploying American troops would be the only possible course of action, and that if he didn't think deploying troops could be effective, he would essentially do nothing.

A lot of other important topics were covered in last night's debate, but like I said, they've mostly all been covered before, and nothing new was really said on either side.
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Lando)
I was far too tired when I got home past midnight last night to make a post about the VP debate then, so here I am with some comments a day later.

I'll admit, I went into the debate not expecting a whole lot from either candidate, and so I was pleasantly surprised when they both gave pretty strong performances (although they definitely both had their problems, as well). In the end, though, I think I'd have to say Biden won, just because he had more direct answers to the questions asked than did Palin, and his plans and policies were more specific, while Palin's tended to be broad statements.

I watched the debate in the Ethics Center on campus again, and the crowd response was almost better than the debate itself. We had some impressive applause and cheers at points, and even a few boos.

AND FINALLY SOMEONE MENTIONED DARFUR. Senator Biden earned a lot of points with me for his response to that question. He didn't follow the usual political tactic of saying, "Yes, we abhor the genocide and in our administration we will work strenuously to end it." He didn't talk about "unstinting resolve" and yet never actually say how he planned to help. Instead, he actually outlined a concrete plan for intervention in Darfur. I was immensely pleased.

maybe now....

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008 08:28 pm
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Default)
The next presidential debate is on Tuesday, October 7, and it's going to be a Town Hall style debate. You can submit a question for the candidates here. The deadline to submit a question is this Friday!

Save Darfur is running a campaign encouraging people to ask questions about Darfur, so that maybe this time the candidates will actually have to address the issue. I'm also asking questions about all the issues I mentioned in my earlier post. Here's hoping some of them get chosen... *crosses fingers*

For all my American friends, go ask some questions!
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (pro patria mori)
There are certain things the candidates are pretty well guaranteed to discuss: the failing economy, the war in Iraq, jobs, health care, Social Security, abortion, the environment, etc. In addition to all of those things, I'd really like to know the candidates' positions on the following. (And I even have links!)

- The global slave trade. There are 27 million people enslaved in the world today, and every year hundreds of thousands of people, mostly children and women, are trafficked into the United States from other countries. Thousands more are internally trafficked within our borders. I want to know what the candidates are planning and proposing to help end the global slave trade.

- The Millennium Development Goals. The United Nations has put forward a set of goals and a plan to significantly decrease poverty by 2015. I want to know what the candidates propose to do to further these goals.

- The ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan. "Unstinting resolve" is great. Now please tell us what you're actually planning to do about it!

- Guantánamo Bay and American secret prisons around the world. People are being tortured and held indefinitely in secret prisons around the world, as well as in the infamous Guantánamo Bay maximum security prison in Cuba. These things are being done in my name and paid for with my tax dollars. I want to know that these candidates propose to end these obscene abuses, and that a restitution will be made to all those who have been wrongfully imprisoned, tortured, and dehumanized.

- The 22 year long war in Northern Uganda, in which children continue to be stolen from their homes, taken into the bush, and forced to become soldiers and sex slaves. I want to know how these candidates intend to work towards an end to that conflict and toward the rehabilitation of the countless children affected.

But somehow, I doubt any of these issues will even come up in the debate. Come on, moderators, prove me wrong!
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (beautiful)
I just found this interview with Dominic Maurice, a former "Lost Boy" of Sudan and friend of Lopez Lomong. It's quite interesting, and definitely worth the read. Check it out!

The war started and the government mandated that all boys from our tribe be killed...
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Olympics 3)
Which I still have not found video of. At least, not for the show part. I have seen the Parade of Nations and the torch lighting. But I did find still photos of the show. And...it looks to have been epic. If anyone knows where to find video for the show part of the Opening Ceremony specifically, please link me!

EDIT: I finally saw it. It was...amazing. Yes.

Anyway, I made icons. For a show I have not seen. Also I made icons of Lopez Lomong, because he is just that awesome.

Y'all know the rules. Comment, credit, don't hotlink. I don't mind if you use these as bases, so long as you credit me. :) Have fun.

Samples:
.:..:..:.

the rest are under here )

Also, here is an icon of a Darfuri boy:
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Default)
As many of you know, I don't own a TV, so I ended up watching the Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies a day late online. I'm not usually much of a sports fan, but the Olympics are the great exception.

As I watched the Parade of Nations in the Opening Ceremony, I was primarily struck simply by how beautiful all the people were. Here were all these people, from so many different nations and in so many different styles of dress, all gathered together and in peace.

It was one of those moments that really restored my faith in humanity. And made me think that, for all its issues, the Olympics really does live up to its purpose sometimes.

I'm sure most of you have heard something of the controversy surrounding this year's Olympic Games in Beijing. One of the best things that's come out of these Olympics is the renewed media attention to the ongoing genocide and humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan. China continues to be one of the leading purchasers of Sudanese oil, as well as a covert supporter of the Sudanese government responsible for the continuing genocide.

Over 400 Olympic athletes and former Olympians from around the world have joined Team Darfur, a coalition of athletes dedicated to raising awareness of the genocide in Darfur and to bringing it to an end. You can see a list of specific members and their home countries here. (They even have a member from China, which is awesome. The American team has 72.)

The American flag in the Parade of Nations was carried by Lopez Lomong, which not only restored some of my faith in humanity, but even some of my faith in my country. Lomong is a 1500 meter runner and a former "Lost Boy" of Sudan, and he was chosen by a vote of team captains to bear the American flag for his team, just 13 months after becoming a citizen himself. He is also a member of Team Darfur, and wants to use his visibility to bring attention to the suffering of people in his home country. (Check out his bio here and a more in depth look at his story in his own words here.)

It's been a while since I've felt really proud to be an American, but these athletes, our Olympic team...that's something I really am proud of.

Quote for the day:
" When we were in Africa, we didn't know what was there for us as kids--we just ran. God was planning all of this stuff for me, and I didn't know. Now I'm using running to get the word out about how horrible things were back in Sudan during the war. Sometimes these things are not on CNN, so if I put out the word, I hope people can get the information. Right now, similar terrible things are going on in Darfur; people are running out of Darfur, and I put myself in their shoes."
- Lopez Lomong

words in the silence

Thursday, October 4th, 2007 08:31 pm
fialleril: [Palo is everyone's favorite artist] (Palo)
Two weeks from now, Paul Rusesabagina, the man whose heroism in the Rwandan genocide inspired the movie Hotel Rwanda, will be on campus to give a talk about what we still have to learn. I got tickets to the talk today, and I'm very excited about it.

To help end an ongoing genocide visit Save Darfur.

On another note, I hit the library today for some voluntary research on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This topic, especially in relation to war, has interested me since I read Ishmael Beah's book. There's so much tragedy here, and so much that is silenced in our culture. The case studies of men who suffered PTSD, and in many cases committed suicide, as a result of participation in Vietnam are particularly shattering. And worst of all? The way we fight wars isn't changing. And the psychological cost of war and killing is a topic that is largely silenced.

take a stand

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007 05:40 pm
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Ishmael Beah)
This coming week, April 23-30, is Global Days for Darfur, a world-wide week of rallies, marches, and vigils aimed at raising awareness of and bringing an end to the brutal four-year genocide that is devastating Darfur.

"Time is running out for the people of Darfur. Four years of genocidal violence has left over 400,000 dead, 2.5 million innocent civilians displaced, and 4 million men, women, and children completely reliant on international aid for survival. Not since the Rwandan genocide of 1994 has the world seen such a calculated campaign of displacement, starvation, rape, and mass slaughter."

To locate an event in your area, go here:

end genocide

Sunday, October 1st, 2006 06:33 pm
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Ishmael Beah)
Petition to end the genocide in Darfur:


Save Darfur



Quotes of the day:

Is not the destruction of humans in Darfur the destruction of all humans?
                 modified from a quote by Václav Havel

We are each responsible to each for all men and for everything.
                 Fyodor Dostoevsky

Save a single life, and you save the whole world.
                 Jewish proverb

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