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