Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Rape Is Government Policy in Dafur

Although there are not enough hours in the year to take in the amount of information that is produced each day in a world containing 6.3 billion people, there are certain stories to which God calls my attention.

One of these is the story of what has been happening – and continues to happen this very moment – in Dafur.

Dafur, Sudan - whose indigenous people are African - has been taken over by Arabs. The ruling Arabs have absolutely no respect for the African race and have been practicing genocide against the Africans of the Dafur region for the last two years.

Nicholas D. Kristof keeps writing about it, but although President Bush has labeled what is happening as "genocide," neither he nor Congress has done anything to try and stop these atrocities.

We can make excuses. We can say we are overextended in Iraq.

And we can, perhaps, understand why Congressional Majority Leader Tom DeLay would be reluctant to get involved since he blocked legislation that would have stopped the virtual enslavement of women that is also going on in the U.S. controlled
Mariana Islands

But if Representative DeLay has no empathy for the suffering of women under U.S. “protective” care, why should he care about African women in another country?

Yet this very moment – as you read this – innocents are falling victim to genocide. But not only are they being hunted down and killed, another horror is being waged against them as the women of Dafur are terrorized and traumatized through the government policy of rape.

These victims are not rebels. They belong to no army. They are peaceful people just trying to live, like you and me.

Yet imagine the local police invading your neighborhood and setting fire to your home and your neighborhood. As you and your neighbors scream and flee, this armed militia chases you down and shoots you – and your children – in the back.

If, somehow, you avoid the bullets and they catch you, they will take turns torturing you. If you are a man you are likely to be castrated before you are killed.

But if you are a woman and you are caught, you will not be killed even though you will very likely have lost your husband and some or all of your children, siblings, parents and friends. Instead you will be gang raped, perhaps until you are so injured you cannot walk. Then you will be left to die or limp off to live a life of social ostracism.

Kristof who wrote his report from Nyala, Sudan after interviewing survivors, reports that a woman named Toma was gang raped by seven men in police uniforms who told her “We want to finish you people off.”

In March a 17-year old was raped. She made her way to a French-run clinic where she was examined and her condition confirmed as consistent with the damage sustained as a result of rape.

However, the police broke in, carried her off, chained her up, denied her claim and are going to charge her with submitting false information.

Then there are the women who are raped with sticks that tear their insides apart so they have no bladder control for the rest of their lives.

Can you imagine that? Living with that trauma while displaced and on the run?

Another woman – who survived – was raped with a bayonet.

And those who become pregnant as a result of rape? They are imprisoned for adultery.

As Nicholas writes: “Doctors Without Borders issued an excellent report in March noting that it alone treated almost 500 rapes in a four-and-a-half-month period. Sudan finally reacted to the report a few days ago – by arresting an Englishman and a Dutchman working for Doctors Without Borders.”

Yet we in the U.S. do nothing. It is not “polite” to talk of rape.

When I try to get people's hearts engaged so they will write to Congress and the President about these horrors, I'm told that it makes people “uncomfortable.”

Excuse me, but what makes me "uncomfortable" is our non-action.

And this is not some television show that can be turned off. This is happening to real people in real time.


This minute.

Sadly, I also see that out of the top 25 stories e-mailed today, Mr. Kristof’s was #24. The 23 other stories that were more important to readers were about wealth, class, mobility, technology, monkeys, the French Open, Madrid's top chefs and the Tony Awards.

Don't get me wrong. I'm interested in all that stuff too. And I love tennis.

But - if it were your sister over there - and it is from God's perspective - would you be fooling around e-mailing a story about tennis? Or would you be screaming and crying on the White House line about what was happening to your sister?

At least Kristof’s story made it on the list. But where is our compassion? Why are we not ALL writing - and calling - President Bush today and demanding that he "do the right thing?"

We are all one. What happens to the people in Dafur damages our collective being. That is why we are admonished to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

It's because if we don't, our actions will come around to haunt us.

But can you imagine Jesus turning his back on these people?

I can’t.

So why, as Christians - and as a Christian nation - are we?


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Counters
Site Counters