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.