September 7, 2010

Enough is Enough

Posted: 12:17 PM ET

Below is an excerpt from John Prendergast from his book "The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes".

A human wave in support of the world’s most forgotten people is building. We’re not surfers, but we love how surfers describe the perfect wave. The wave builds to a crescendo, you’re in awe of it, you approach and ride it, and it carries you safely home to your destination. The formation of this human wave was not predicted. A decade ago, few people even knew what a “Darfur” was, how our cell phones directly contributed to making Congo the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman or a girl, or who the “invisible children” of Uganda were. Ten years ago, an event regarding genocide or other crimes against humanity would have attracted perhaps a dozen or so hardy souls, wearing their sandals and psychedelic t-shirts, prepared, if necessary, to break out into a stanza or two of “Kumbaya.”

But today a strange and beautiful cocktail of hope, anger, citizen activism, social networking, compassion, celebrities, faith in action, and globalization are all coming together to produce the beginnings of a mass movement of people against these crimes and for peace. And this is happening at the very time that an American administration is populated by a number of people who have been the leading elected officials to have stood up against genocide, child soldier recruitment, and rape as a war weapon. We call the sheer possibility inherent in this confluence of factors the Enough Moment, and it means that our feeling that Enough Is Enough might actually get translated into real action for change.

These are three of the great scourges of our world, of our time. Genocide, mass rape, and child conscription are the most deadly and diabolical manifestations of war, with the gravest human consequences imaginable. Nearly 10 million fresh graves have been dug as a result of these tactics in East and Central Africa alone over the last twenty years, and countless millions of refugees have been rendered homeless. Sudan and Congo, in fact, are the two deadliest conflicts in the world since the Holocaust.

The stakes remain enormous. And this is by no means an Africa-only phenomenon. The kinds of tactics used by warring parties globally are increasingly targeted at civilian populations who are usually defenseless and largely disconnected from the perpetrators of the violence. As a result, the ratio of civilians to soldiers who die at times runs as high as nine to one. Because of this targeting of civilians, over 100 million people died violent deaths during the twentieth century’s wars and genocides. This exceeds the death count of all pre-twentieth-century wars and massacres combined.

At this juncture of human history, and because of the distortion and delay in Africa’s own historical trajectory created by the European colonial era, it turns out that the global epicenter of this kind of targeted violence is currently playing itself out on African soil, with weapons that come largely from America, Europe, and Asia. And these are therefore the places most in need of a global people’s movement and smart U.S. policies to ensure an appropriate global response in support of peace. This is also the continent we know best, and we have committed ourselves to making a difference there.

A politically potent constituency forming through mass campaigns is raising awareness of these human rights crimes, and it’s time to translate intention into action. There is an increasing opportunity to democratize our foreign policy making and to widen and deepen people’s stake in international issues. We’ve finally got a president and a cabinet that have made huge pledges to act. Before they took office in 2009, President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State Clinton were all major anti-genocide campaigners in the U.S. Senate, as was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice in her previous think tank capacity. They all have formidable track records, demonstrating that being a bystander has never been an option for them. Now in the executive branch, they have the opportunity to act.

Now is the time to make this our collective Enough Moment— the day when we say “Enough” to the atrocities happening to our brothers and sisters in these war-torn regions. We have the opportunity to say “Enough Is Enough” and have these words become something tangible. Historically, when we have decided that we are indeed our brother’s and sister’s keepers, we have acted. There are cases around the world of this resolve, such as global efforts to stop genocides in Kosovo and in East Timor. Africa has its own examples:

  • When a genocide was about to occur in northeast Congo in 2003, the world said ENOUGH and stopped it from happening by deploying a European-led force to protect people and disarm militias.
  • When terrible wars fueled by blood diamonds ripped Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Angola apart, the world said ENOUGH and stopped buying the blood diamonds, which helped cut off the fuel for the war, providing the opening for the wars to fi nally end.
  • When South Africa was ruled by a racist white supremacist government that put Nelson Mandela in Robben Island prison for decades, the world said ENOUGH, and governments imposedat the request of the people of South Africabiting comprehensive sanctions until the racist system and government were dismantled completely and Mandela was freed (and elected president).

Now it is the moment to say Enough death in Darfur. Enough rape in the Congo. Enough children turned into fighting machines in northern Uganda. Enough.

Filed under: Book Excerpt

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Joe G. (Illinois)   September 7th, 2010 3:32 pm ET

I’m not a celebrity, but ask Snup Dog, Shaun Come Diddy, J-Z..

Just because stage time is very competitive, it don’t make the winners or losers any more right or wrong than the others!

I hope that put’s things into perspective.
Like when you look at recent history (African slavery and so on) one would think that African Americans or African people in general would be the most loving and compassionate people on earth.. But it’s not that way at all. I wonder.. What’s outcome is being sough after by the author of such gruesome story listed above!

Cajazz76:24:8   September 7th, 2010 3:55 pm ET

Enough will never be enough...until the existence of mankind is depleted to obsolete...and his evolution will begin anew, as a viper's afterbirth.. or much, much less..caj

How unique, and to some appealing and exciting, that the contemporary acceptance of war becomes. Whether it be in the Congo; the Sudan; the Hindu Kush region; the cities streets of Baghdad; the streets of Iran's cities; the desert coastal plains of Somalia; the Red Sea shipping lanes; the border regions of Yemen and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; the Mexican states; or even the Arctic Ocean whale killing fields..etc.etc..etc..all around our world there are wars...24/7/365 a year..since the inception that if you conquer something or someone, they or it, are/is yours. Silly Human Race...when will they learn that war is fear camouflaged, so very well, as valor or courage or heroic...caj

Smith in Oregon   September 7th, 2010 7:17 pm ET

During the utterly corrupt Republican administration of Bush-Cheney, Bush jr. changed a 30 BILLION dollar federal taxpayer dollar LOAN to the Israeli Government to a GRANT, Free Money! And the American people had zero say about that. Today, that amount is a whopping 50% of Israel's entire cash reserves for it's entire country (60 Billion dollars).

Time and time again, America has freely given 30% of the total Billions that American taxpayers provide the U.S. Government for international aid to needy countries to the tiny nation of ISRAEL!!! And Israel takes that free money to purchase additional weapons of death for possible use on their Arabic neighbors.

Meanwhile many much larger nations across Africa who truly have a clear demonstrated need for America's annual international cash charity deposits go entirely without. Time for America to close off the free Billions of American taxpayer dollars to Israel and give that to truly deserving needy nations like the Congo, Sudan and Uganda.

Selma   September 8th, 2010 1:58 am ET

Joe G from Illinois stated " when you look at recent history (African slavery and so on) one would think that African Americans or African people in general would be the most loving and compassionate people on earth.. But it’s not that way at all".
Lets see how compassionate you would be if a group of people who has inslaved your people (or Family) raped and beat them continuously and treated them like dogs. Then today year 2010 find out that some of those people still today views your people and you as such and will not hesitate (if opportunity permits) to treat you like an animal.
The black girl in WV who was kept captive by some white racist people who has beaten, raped, tortured, and tard her still has compassion for all people, but its funny that the news media don't talk much about that. A lot of that is going on today in America in 2010. Now! I Wonder. I wonder if they did report this stuff on the news, will some folks get out of the denial that this thing has stoped. And you wonder why African Americans and/or Africans are not the most compassionate?

Ted   September 8th, 2010 9:17 am ET

As we stand on the cliff and watch in the far distance how whales are hunted, the delphins are cought in nets and suffocate, human beings are raped and killed and countries destroyed, we voice our indignation. At the same time we just do not notice or worse, ignore, that the same is happening right in our neighborhoods!!
We also have misused children who go to bed hungry, raped women, human beings with US passport who desparately need help. I feel we would do better if we concentrate on the problems at home and less in faraway places.

As the Earth´s population explodes we will have more and more hunger, wars for the dwindling resources and brutality and we are not big or strong enough to carry on our shoulders all the problems.
We already ruined our country with the constant flow of large donations to countries who are not even our friends, or just do so, so they can get a reward. Many of those countries where we acted as Santa Claus for decades are now richer than we are, their roads are fixed and have very little homeless people.
Charity should begin at home and stay at home as long as needed.
Do not worry about the whole world as nobody is worrying about the good old USA!

Clarence   September 8th, 2010 9:01 pm ET

There is nothing like earth's population exploding. And as a fact, the earth has enough resources to satisfy everyone. Unfortunately the powerful are too greedy and want it all for themselves. The powerful also maintain a permanent interest on themselves and so don't hesitate to spend billions on war that will pay them back. The Congolese, Sudanese, Somalis, Pakistanis etc give them guns and watch them kill each other. Whether the west is willing to hear this or not, it is a fact poverty in poor countries is accelerated by developed western nations which take advantage of the incumbent poverty. Jesus come back save us!!

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