Friday, October 22, 2004

Teach your children well. Please.

Amygdala points out that there is precious little discussion about the situation in Darfur, and including virtually no mention of Nicholas Kristof's piece on the situation in Wednesday's NYTimes. (Guilty) It's a short but brutal piece. As Gary Farber points out: Never again!, Indeed.

Possibly even more depressing than the article itself is the window into the minds of America's youth that Kristof posts. More depressing because there is far more in these 'letters' than was probably intended, including, perhaps, an explanation of why nothing ever gets done when actual atrocities are being committed. Kristof posts:

A high school class in Indianapolis was given the assignment of giving President Bush’s response to my columns, asking him why he isn’t doing more on Darfur. Here’s a sampling of the responses – which don’t indicate much sympathy for Darfur:

    As the President of the United States, I have been very busy dealing with the war. I have not had time to think about what has been going on over there. It is not as important as what is going on in the U.S.
    We have our own problems and don’t have to worry about everyone else’s problems. I don’t want to hear any more about this topic.
    Do these monsters need to attack the U.S. before we help? I think we should stand up for the weak and save them from these terrors.
    If the Sudan conflict gets more threatening, let our European allies deal with it. At this time, the U.S. does not have the time or resources, due to Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Before you start to criticize the president, think about what’s going on here, instead of out there.
    I, George Bush, have more things to worry about than some stupid little rebellion over in Sudan.
I’m afraid that these students reflect a much broader sentiment in the U.S., and that fundamentally is why we’re not doing more about the genocide.

We're glad to see that one in the middle- a conscience, by God, out there in the wilds of Indiana!- but this listing reminded us of the Sesame Street bit where you had to pick which one of a group "doesn't belong here." We would like to believe that the last one is some sort of nascent, high schooler political satire, but we fear it is not. It made us cry. Literally.

As we've mentioned in previous postings, Oxfam International is doing work in Chad with the refugees, as is Medecins sans frontiers and Care International. They could all use some financial support. You can also write to your senator, congressman or to the White House.

Alternatively, you could try raising your children better. But that's a longer term project. No worries, though, we suspect that the Sudan's problems are long term as well.

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