Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What are YOU doing on December 3, 2008?

How about giving up one item that you can live without, such as the morning paper, a bagel or that cup of Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts coffee (although some us really can't live without our morning coffee), and donate the money you would have spent on that item to help save lives in Darfur and Burma. Sounds easy, no? IT IS!

Did you know that displaced women who live in refugee camps in Sudan have to gather firewood in the open because the UN can't afford patrols to protect them? Do you even know what can happen to women when they gather firewood without protection? If they are lucky, they'll make it back to the camp but not usually without severe physical and emotional trauma from being raped by the Janjaweed militia. Did you know that they use rape as a tool to further destroy the sense of community of these refugees? Rape victims carry heavy stigma in Darfur, and women are usually disowned by husbands and blood family. You see - these militia men are a far cry from stupid. They know exactly how to attack these people so they will receive the most bang for their buck.

But what about Burma? Did you know ethnic cleansing was taking place there? Did you know that villagers in Burma could avoid this slaughter if only they had hand radios to warn each other? VERY SIMPLE SOLUTION to an outrageous and catastrophic human problem.

These things only cost a few dollars. Just that one cup of coffee - to save a life. Seems fair. I'm sure I sound like one of those infomericials about adopting a child in a far away land. Hell, who knows if your money even really goes to those needy children, right? Well, your money will not be abused here.

The Genocide Intervention Network created the Civilian Protection Program, which funds innovative projects that increase direct protection of civilians who are the victims of targeted violence. You can read more about the program here and here. I know people who work for this amazing organization, and have been involved in their sister organization, STAND. These people aren't frauds. They want the violence to end. Don't you?

Mark your calendars and spread the word.