Thursday, September 15, 2005

Wed, Sept 21, 2005: Program to Honor Local Sudanese Families to Mark National Darfur Action Day

FOR NATIONAL DARFUR ACTION DAY:

We Will Be Grateful for Your Presence

at a Program to Honor Families from Sudan

Who are Now Safely Living Here in Western Massachusetts

and to Recognize as a Community

those People, Agencies, School, and Employers

Who Have Made this Relocation Possible

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To Mark Darfur National Action Day

and to Help Stop the Genocide in Darfur (Sudan)_

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Wednesday, September 21st, 2005 at 5:30 p.m.

Massachusetts Career Development Institute, Cafeteria

140 Wilbraham Ave., Springfield, MA.

(enter cafeteria from stairs outside the north side of building – see map below)


--Legislators and Media are Being Invited --


Please also go to www.savedarfur.org and www.genocideinterventionfund.org to take action

*Directions:

From State St. going east, at fork, bear right on to

Wilbraham Rd., then quick right on to Eastern Ave..

(Wilbraham Ave. is one-way), go down to King St.,

make left and then another left to 140 Wilbraham Ave.;

MCDI is on down street on left;

parking lot is just past building or park on street.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Next Meeting's Agenda: Thursday, August 18th

Dear Darfur Supporters,
Here is a working agenda for next meeting of W. MA. Darfur Coalition on Thursday, Aug. 18th at 5 pm (feel free to email or bring more items to meeting). Time and place is described AT END OF AGENDA. Please let me know if you need help with arranging a ride to the meeting. My cell is 413-687-8036.
Regards, Fanny Rothschild
**********************************************************************************************************************************************************

AGENDA for Western MA. Darfur Coalition Meeting – Aug. 18, 2005

Northampton, 5 pm to 6:30 pm (Fanny's cell phone: 413-687-8036)

Limit each topic and sub-topic to 10 mins.

1. Have members (re)introduce themselves

2. Review recent activities

3. Initiate divestment of companies associated with Sudan government within:

-- Local colleges

-- Local towns

4. (from David Morse):
Work to pass Darfur Peace & Accountabiliy Act -- Much depends on this Act which contains provisions for strengthening the African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur and broadening its mandate to include protection of civilians. The bill also includes provisions for bringing perpetrators of the present genocide before the International Criminal Court, and for sanctions such as freezing overseas assets of Sudanese higher-ups who have been responsible for the ongoing slaughter. The Bush administration is paying lip-service to doing something, but in reality is trying to weaken the bill, and is even cozying up to the Sudan dictatorship on the pretext of cooperating on "anti-terrorism," while clearly interested in Sudanese oil. (See my article in today's CommonDreams, entitled "Blood, Ink, and Oil: the case of Darfur" ( attached here and at http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0721-26.htm). Bush, through Condoleezza Rice, has been sending up trial balloons suggesting we are at the edge of normalizing relations with Sudan, even as some 300 Darfurians die every day from direct violence or from malnutrition and lack of access to clean water. We must not let him get away with this, and right now the best hope seems to lie with the Congress. So to pass Act:
a. Devise strategies for visiting our Congressional offices while most representatives are home for the August recess. We've
got to get the Darfur Peace & Accountabiliy Act out of committee. Ask that the amount allotted to the African Union (now I believe about $100 million) be increased, if anything; and not to allow the bill to be weakened.
b. Reaching out to churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.
c. Talk withs friends and neighbors. Write letters to the editor. I believe Bush is vulnerable on this issue. On the one hand, there is the oil money behind him, but on the other hand there are religious conservatives who have long voiced concern for the genocide going on in Sudan, where some have missions. If we can make our voices heard, individually and collectively - through whatever religious affiliations, organizations, or philosophical persuasions that are important to us, or just out of sheer human decency - then it may be a voice the White House cannot afford to ignore.

5. (from David Morse): Support a nonviolent response to John Garang's untimely death.

6. (from Mohamed Ibrahim): Death toll in Darfur: unsupported evidence of media-invented numbers (at the peak of the crisis in 2004 the number was 40,000; now after ceasefire and intervention of UN and AU the number mysteriously has jumped to 400,000!!!!)

7. (from Nathan Abraham): Capture the meat of each of our group's meetings as a Press Release, and send to all of the regional media (include our group's immediate plans for its next steps - coupled with an urgent request for more volunteers, what they are needed to do as well as reference to relevant written materials) - along with the next meeting date and place and a list of all of us locally involved (including our professional titles as appropriate naturally with participants' approval). This list will heighten the importance of our group's efforts in the eyes of the media when they are screening our releases, as well as in the eyes of the public if published. I propose putting this into a separate box format, with a heading that both educates and appeals to action - and asking the print media to publish it as a community service.
8. (from Joel Rosen) - Send childrens's drawings from Darfur to a friend in San Diego for a national pediatrics conference at the end of September (I've e-mailed Mohamed)

9. (from Fanny Rothschild) Participate in Tag Sale – Amnesty Intl. Sat., Sept. 17th, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Amherst Town Common

10. (from Tamador Gibreel and Fanny Rothschild) Teach English in Springfield to new Sudanese community members

11. Set next meeting time and place

Sunday, July 10, 2005

DARFUR TAG SALE -- SAT., JULY 16TH!!

DON'T MISS OUR UPCOMING TAG SALE NEXT SATURDAY, JULY 16TH!!!!! Rain or shine.
(also we shall hold the next Western Mass Darfur Coalition Meeting at 1 pm while we sell!)

The Western Mass Darfur Coalition is sponsoring a TAG SALE (and Moving Sale) next
Sat., July 17th from 9 am to 3 pm at the home of Tamador Gibreel at 251 Beech St. in Holyoke -- rain or shine!

We are raising funds to go to NYC next October to participate in an international festival "Performing the World." We shall get the word out there about Darfur through word and through the dance of Holyoke's Bride of the Nile Dance troupe

Come help sell, and if you can bring items (already priced if possible). If you're feeling energetic, come at 8 am to help set up. And most importantly, come on over and see what we're selling.

Also remember that next weekend is marked for inter-faith groups to bring the genocide in Darfur to the attention of their participants.

Thank you so much,
Western Mass Darfur Coalition
.

Minutes of Conference Call on new Darfur Accountability Act

Minutes of Conference Call on New Darfur Accountability Act

on Friday, July 8, 2005 (English-speaking participants)

Participants:

1) Mohamed Ibrahim mibrahim@afsc.org (Sudan National Rally, Philadelphia, PA based Sudanese group). See: www.snrphiladelphia.net

2) John Weiss jhw4@cornell.edu (Darfur Action Group, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY) see this link: http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/May05/Darfur.cover.html

3) Lou Ann Merkle (Darfur Alert Coalition, a Philadelphia-based coalition of Sudanese and non-Sudanese groups initiated after Children of Darfur Art exhibit on the Human Rights Day of 2004) see: http://darfuralert.blogspot.com

4) Nicholas Galletti (Human Rights Watch) www.hrw.org

5) Fanny Rothschild (Western Mass Darfur Coalition, Amherst, MA) http://darfurwm.blogspot.com

6) Backeri Abdelmagid beckry@winona.edu (Sudanese Coordinating Committee, Minnesota)

7) Jamal Tarawa jmahgoub@yahoo.com (Democratic Alliance, Bay Area, CA)

8) Elviar Candizc (San Francisco Bay area Darfur Coalition, CA, with more than 40 different orgs and hundreds of concerned individuals)

9) Nunu Kidane nunukidane@earthlink.net (Priority Africa Network, member of Jubilee USA Network http://www.jubileeusa.org/

This is the first of two conference calls to discuss the upcoming introduction of a House Bill entitled “New Darfur Peace and Accountability Act (DARFUR ACT HR 3127); the discussion was in English; on Sunday, July 10 will be in Sudanese.

Mohamed provided a summary of the previous bills (S. 495 and H.R.1424 and emphasized that HR 3127 is not yet an official bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, but should be scheduled for floor action in the coming weeks. (Attached to this email are the earlier bills followed by a summary of HR 3127.) Mohamed then provided background of some of the congressman and senators who introduced the previous bills, and urged us all to learn more about each supporter of this new bill that is more likely to gain bipartisan support. He then discussed concerns of large sections of the Sudanese community with the previous S. 495 and HR 1424 that included the authorization of a no fly zone, use of U.S. force, and oil sanctions – all provisions that are NOT in the new H.R. 3127. What the Sudanese community is still concerned with in terms of the present bill is the potential involvement of NATO forces, in keeping with their concern with non-African intervention in Sudan. They are very positive about the added provision that the U.S. will render assistance to efforts to the International Criminal Court in seeking justice against the perpetrators.

The group discussed the importance of the U.S. involvement in helping to create an “atmosphere of security” so that the African Union troops will be able to stop the rapes and deaths of civilians. These troops need support in terms of training, transport, supplies, and having the mandate to stop violence so that they are respected in the area. Several conference call participants also stressed the importance of non-participation of non-African troops on the ground in Sudan. John Weiss, a Cornel professor working with the Genocide Intervention Fund, outlined how GIF is working to strengthen the AU troops; one way is to get the support of other countries like Canada. Nicholas with Human Rights Watch reported that there is a push to increase AU troops to 7,700. The question still remains as to whether NATO’s involvement will be helpful: will NATO provide only logistical help in the form of airlifts, training, and other support to the AU forces or will they go too far and send in troops?

The groups represented in the conference call seemed united in wanting to know what they can do to support the new H.R. 3127 bill (with the expressed concerns of the Sudanese representatives). They are very interested in learning of the reactions of the Sudanese community to the new provisions of this bill, and thus await the outcome of Sunday’s conference call with the Sudanese participants. They also wanted to be connected with Sudanese groups working on Darfur.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Please come to Darfur Planning Meeting: Thursday, June 23rd

Please come to our next Darfur Coalition Meeting on Thursday, June 23rd at 5 pm at the Talking Drum Cafe on 413 Main St. in Holyoke, MA. We need to continue our focus on ending the murders and rapes in Darfur.

We are open to any suggestions to what actions to take next. Please bring them to the meeting. We shall discuss how colleges and cities can divest of investments in Darfur. We also want to encourage towns to pass the following Darfur Resolution:

Darfur Resolution

The Town of ______ is committed to the defense of the rule of law, including basic standards of international law and international human rights which are contained in treaties signed by the United States such as the United Nations Charter, the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CERD), the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), and the American Convention of Human Rights, which are part of the “supreme law of the land” according to the U.S. Constitution, and hereby resolves:

  1. The Town’s racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity, including the presence of residents of varied national origins from throughout the world is one of our community’s greatest strengths;
  2. An increasing number of these residents are of African immigrant origin, and include many from the Sudan;
  3. The Sudanese presence here, and throughout the United States in increasing numbers during the last few years reflects the longstanding armed conflicts and authoritarian rule which have prevailed in that country over the last 50 years. Authoritarian rule has produced the forced displacement of millions of people from southern Sudan and from the Darfur region;
  4. The Town of _____ took note of the United Nation report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, which resulted in the United Nation’s Security Council Resolution No. 1593, in which the Security Council decided to refer the situation prevailing in Darfur since 1 July 2002 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Therefore, our community stand with the victims of the atrocities in Darfur in affirming their basic human rights and struggle for democracy in their homeland, and urge the residents of this community and of other communities in the United States and around the world to join the call for:

a) International action to end killing and provide security for millions of internally displaced people of Darfur and to facilitate the voluntary return to their land and the rehabilitation and reconstruction of their homes.

b) Urgent humanitarian relief to address the current serious situation.

c) Full accountability and the end of impunity for these systematic human rights violations will create the road to an overall peace negotiation and process of democratic transition.

d) The need to promote healing and reconciliation that includes redress for the victims and their families. In this respect the creation of healing institutions such as Truth and Reconciliation Commissions with involvement of all sectors of Sudanese society is essential. These healing mechanisms are to complement judicial processes and thereby reinforce the efforts to restore long-lasting peace, with African Union and international support.

e) US Government and the other countries to fully cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its investigations and proceedings. Sudanese Human rights activists in our community are concerned that recent anti-terrorism cooperation policy between the US and the Sudan might let key perpetrators of the Darfur crimes get impunity.

The Town of _______ stands with the global community and condemns the atrocities occurring in Darfur region of Sudan. We recognize our moral obligation to stop this genocide. We are committed to alerting our community to the urgency of the situation in Darfur and working together to end this human tragedy now.


PLEASE COME NEXT THURSDAY, JUNE 23RD AND BRAINSTORM ON WHAT ACTIONS WE CAN TAKE TO STOP THE GENOCIDE IN DARFUR. THANK YOU.

2nd Darfur Action Day at PAHMUSA

We hosted our 2nd Darfur Action Day at the Pan African Historical Museum U.S.A. in Springfield and despite the scorching heat, the room was packed (must have been at least 100 people) to share in the power point presentation on Darfur, speeches by Mohamed Ibrahim (who returned to Western Mass from AFSC in Philadelphia for this event), Joe Wronka from Springfield College who provided valuable background and suggestions on what we can do now, and art therapist Simone Alter-Muri, also from Springfield College who discussed the role of children's artwork during wartime. Again, we were moved by the beautiful dancing from Tamador Gibreel's Bride of the Nile Dance Group and the gorgeous singing by Sarah Ibrahim and her friends. Thank you Magda Amhed for organizing this powerful day and the museum's amazing director LuJuana Hood for hosting the exhibit and events. The Sudanese food again was wonderful, thanks again to Magda, her mother, and family. Thank you all the Edgadis for your help in taking down the exhibit and cleaning up! And of course, thank you all for coming.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

David Morse speaks on Darfur in Great Barrington

We want to thanks Bonner McAllester for inviting us to a meeting on Darfur at the South Berkshire Friends Meeting house at 280 State Rd. in Great Barrington, MA. on Wed. evening, June 8th. For more information on Darfur actions in Great Barrington, call 413-528-9385. David Morse, a Quaker Human Rights Activist from Storrs, CN, was their guest speaker who covered the following agenda:
  • Darfur Accountabilitiy Act - will probably return to Congress
  • Plans for an Interfaith Delegation to Darfur
  • College divestment campaigns
  • The Save Darfur Coalition, an alliance of 100 faith-based humanitarian and human rights organizations.
We are very pleased that Bonner McAllester and other reps from Great Barrington as well as David Morse will attend our next Darfur Coalition Meeting on Thursday, June 23rd at 5 pm at the Talking Drum Cafe on 413 Main St. in Holyoke, MA.

Darfur Exhibit Opened at PAHMUSA!

The exhibit Children of Darfur: Surviving Genocide is now open at the Pan African Historical Museum USA in Tower Square on 1500 Main St. in Springfield (on 2nd floor around corner from Food Court).

Please stop by Friday June 10th, noon to 4 pm and come to our final day of the exhibit, our 2nd DARFUR ACTION DAY, this Saturday, June 11th from 3 to 7 pm. Again, we'll have Sudanese dance, speakers, and delicious food. A special thanks to the Director of PAHMUSA, LuJuana Hood, for all her work of outreach to the Springfield community.


Again, we want to continue our work to end genocide in Darfur by holding another meeting of the Western Mass Darfur Coalition on Thursday, June 23rd at 5 pm at the Talking Drum Cafe, 413 Main St. in Holyoke. Please come to brainstorm how we can put pressure on the Sudanese government to stop the killing and raping.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

DARFUR ACTION DAY, SAT. JUNE 4TH WAS INSPIRING!

Our first DARFUR ACTION DAY on Sat., June 4th at the Talking Drum Cafe in Holyoke, MA was inspiring with dance, speakers, and inquisitive participants. We want to thank Nathan, Chris and all those at The Talking Drum Cafe for sponsoring and hosting this event.

Also thanks to Tamador and the dancers of The Bride of the Nile Dance Group (yes, they are Magda's daughters) for the beautiful dancing. Look for them next Sat. June 11th at our 2nd DARFUR ACTION DAY --- SEE BELOW.

Thanks to our inspiring speakers Magda Ahmed, Mohamed Good, Joel Rosen, and Joseph Wronka for their informative talks and question and answer periods.

And thanks to Magda and her mom for the delicious falefels and other Sudanese food.

We are looking forward to the opening of the exhibit of children's drawings at the Pan African Museum at Tower Square in Springfield, MA this Tues., June 7th from 5:30 to 8 pm AND to our next DARFUR ACTION DAY next Sat, June 11th from 3 to 7 pm.

ALSO PLEASE COME TO OUR NEXT WESTERN MASS. DARFUR COALITION MEETING ON THURS., JUNE 23RD AT THE TALKING DRUM CAFE, HOLYOKE AT 5 PM.

We want to continue our letter writing, urgent actions, and event planning to stop genocide in Darfur. PLEASE COME!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Welcome to Western Mass Darfur Coalition

Welcome to the Western Mass Darfur Coalition Group.

PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU ARE ALL WELCOME TO COME TO OUR NEXT PLANNING MEETING ON THURSDAY, JUNE 23RD AT 5:00 pm AT THE TALKING DRUM CAFE at 413 Main St., Holyoke, MA. Please come and discuss what next steps we in Western Mass can take to end the genocide in Darfur.

CURRENT DARFUR EVENTS FOR WEEK OF JUNE 4TH THROUGH JUNE 11TH:

The exhibit of children's drawings from Darfur, THE CHILDREN OF DARFUR: SURVIVING GENOCIDE, has returned to this area. Please come and share in these overwhelming images of the violence that is still plaguing Darfur. See this world through children's eyes: families are not safe in the refugee camps ... the genocide is not over. We want to gather around these drawings to reflect on the loss and take action to stop the murders and rapes in Darfur.

The exhibit is in two parts:

The first is at The Talking Drum Cafe at 413 Main St. in Holyoke. The exhibit is on display at the cafe through Saturday, June 4th from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. P
lease join us for DARFUR ACTION DAY this SAT, JUNE 4TH FROM 3 - 7 p.m. with speakers and Sudanese music, dance, and cuisine.

The second part is at the Pan African Historical Museum at 1500 Main St. in Springfield (Tower Square Building, 2nd floor-- around the corner from Food Court). This exhibit includes an opening reception next
Tues., June 7th from 5:30 - 8 p.m;
museum hours are Tuesday to Friday, 12 - 4 pm. Then we shall close the exhibit in Springfield with a 2nd DARFUR ACTION DAY on SAT, JUNE 11TH FROM 3 - 7 p.m., again with speakers and Sudanese music, dance, and cuisine.
For more information, call Magda Ahmed at 413-586-7525, Ext. 1141, The Talking Drum Cafe at 413-315-6161 or PAHMUSA at 413-733-1823.

Regards,
Western Mass. Darfur Coalition, Amnesty International, American Friends Service Committee, Talking Drum Cafe, Nueva Esperanza, PAHMUSA, Bride of the Nile Dance Group, The Amherst Human Rights Commission, and UnityFirst.com

Magda Ahmed & Fanny Rothschild
Blog maintainers