Wednesday, December 24, 2008

W. Mass. Darfur Coalition-WMDC: Interview with co-founder of WMDC

W. Mass. Darfur Coalition-WMDC: Interview with co-founder of WMDC

Interview with co-founder of WMDC

Amherst Bulletin interviewed the co-founder of W. Mass Darfur Coalition, and the co-chair of Amherst Human Rights Commission
photo from UMASS archives (CIE website)
Magda Ahmed of Amherst is co-chair of the town's Human Rights Commission, which holds a free potluck brunch Dec. 13. "Human rights should be part of the elementary school curriculum. Young students need to learn to respect and tolerate differences of other people, that's the bottom line," Ahmed said in an interview.

A backstop for human rights
By Phyllis Lehrer Staff Writer, Amherst Bulletin
Published on December 12, 2008

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. That's the first of 30 articles in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Humans Rights, adopted Dec. 10 1948. In Amherst, a group works to help residents safeguard those rights, in areas such as education, property, justice, employment and family.

"Residents new to the area may not be aware they have particular rights that are protected. Rights can be trampled on. Our history demands and compels us to protect those rights," said Reynolds Winslow, co-chair, with Magda Ahmed, of Amherst's Human Rights Commission.
Eunice Torres, the town's human rights/human resource director, said the mission is to ensure that no power goes unchecked and that all citizens are afforded equal protection under the law.
Each year, the commission celebrates the anniversary of the UN declaration's adoption. This year, the community is invited to a free potluck brunch Dec. 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Town Hall. The event includes speakers and entertainment.

The Human Rights Commission was born out of the Civil Rights Review Commission established in 1970 by Town Meeting. In 1997, Town meeting authorized a full-time human rights director and Shen Titus was hired.
Torres explained the roles in an email message. "The office of the Human Rights Director, in conjunction with the Human Rights Commission and town government, seeks to promote economic and social justice for all citizens through means of mediation, education and enforcement of local state, federal and International human rights laws," she wrote. "Ultimately, its aim is to move toward compliance with the standards set by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document increasingly referred to as customary international law, which we must all abide."
The director, in collaboration with the commission, pursues investigations into alleged civil and human rights violations, with both public and private sectors of Amherst.

Recent work
Winslow and Ahmed described some of the commission's recent activities, such as investigating complaints at the Amherst Survival Center, which led to positive changes at the center. The commission worked with Asian students at the University of Massachusetts who were being assessed a fee unfairly. The issue was brought to the Select Board and the university rescinded the fee.
The commission held an information session on the PATRIOT Act, celebrated the legality of same-sex marriage and participated in a Darfur event with the Northampton Human Rights Commission. The panel also offers the Junior Heroes Award for students and is part of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast.
The two said the commission's goal is to act, not wait for people to come to them with problems, and to increase educational outreach. They agreed that it is one of the most diverse committees in the community. Members include Frank Gatti, secretary; and Lois Raj, Kathleen Anderson, Samia Eshallagli and Cecilia Darby. There are two vacancies.
Both leaders have experience with rights issues. Winslow, who joined eight years ago, said work on the commission was a natural fit with his civil rights work, including being a charter member of the Amherst NAACP chapter and the Sojourner Truth Committee in Florence. He is a founding member of the Amherst Education Foundation. He is retired from UMass, where he was director of the minority engineering program and a development officer.
Ahmed, who is a regional coordinator for the state Department of Health's Bureau of Clinical Disease Control, has served on the commission for five years. She is active with Amnesty International because it took on her husband's case when he was the victim of torture.
Ahmed, who came to Amherst in 1994, holds an undergraduate degree in agricultural economics from Cairo University and a master's in development. She spent 12 years with the Ministry of Agriculture in her native Sudan. She earned a doctorate from the UMass in 2004.
"Human rights should be part of the elementary school curriculum. Young students need to learn to respect and tolerate differences of other people, that's the bottom line," she said, "to be able to tolerate people not like you, who don't have the same beliefs or ideas to be more humane. If you start when young when you are an adult, it's part of who you are."
"We have to respect the rights of each other, otherwise we will not be who we are as American citizens," Winslow said. "With respect we can know each other. We can help each other if we know each other, that's why I keep active."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Conversation on Darfur

So far, the Conversation TV program on Darfur was aired 3 times on Amherst Public TV (Channel 12). It will be shown again twice on the last Sat of Dec per the schedule below. The educational show was planned and presented by the W. Mass. Darfur Coalition to bring more attention to the crisis in Darfur. It highlighted the new development of the ICC and the expected arrest warant to be issued by the court for President Omer Bashir.

Show Detail: Conversations
ShowID 4085
Event Date: 11/5/2008
Length: 0:30:06
Category: Series Comments
Episode: Darfur
Keywords: talk show, series
Schedule Information:
12/27/2008 at 8:00 AM & 12/27/2008 at 4:00 PM

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

WMDC co-delivered the People's Arrest Warrant of Al-Bashir

The Tents of Hope event in Washington DC turned to be a big success according to media coverage. According to Sudan Tribune the camapaign was part of a series of events in which activists gathered in Washington "about 450 students from around the country traveled to the capitol for leadership training in grassroots mobilization for genocide prevention".

Around 400 cities in 48 states and 8 countries participated in the weekend event on last Nov 7-9, 2008.
Mohamed Elgadi, represented of WMDC at the Vigil and also was part of the group that delivered the People's Arrest Warrant of President Omer Al-Bashir however, the Sudanese Embassy declined to receive it.
Mohame was interviewed by Voice of America TV news program Focus along with other Darfur activists.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Tents of Hope: PR in Arabic

Contact: Mohamed Elgadi 215-870-7809
Tragi Mustafa 905-317-4149
Tents of Hope Announces Vigil for Darfur at Sudanese Embassy:
"Deliver a People’s Arrest Warrant for Omar Al-Bashir"

منظمة "خيام الأمل" تعلن عن الإعتصام من أجل
دارفور أمام السفارة السودانية
" رسالتنا أمر قبض شعبى على عمر البشير"

واشنطون دى سى - ينظم السودانيون ومنظمة "خيام الأمل" إعتصامآ أمام مبنى السفارة السودانية فى واشنطون من الساعة 2 الى الساعة 7 بعد الظهر وذلك يوم الجمعة الموافق 7 نوفمبر 2008 . يجمع هذا الاعتصام السودانيين والامريكان على هدف واضح: تحقيق العدالة والسلام فى دارفور وذلك باصدار أمر قبض شعبى ضد الرئيس عمر البشير قبل أن يقتل من جديد. هذا الاعتصام جزء من " لقاء الخيام" التاريخى والذى ينعقد من أجل دارفور فى أيام 7 - 9 نوفمبر 2008

سيلتقى السودانيون والامريكان فى هذا الاعتصام كى يقولوا بالصوت العالى ( كفاية) هجمات على مواطنى دارفور فى قراهم ومدنهم ومعسكراتهم ، وسيطلب اللقاء انهاء جهود السلام الدولية البائسة و التى لم تفعل شيئآ يذكر لوقف هذه الهجمات. " أنا مذهولة من سلبية المسلمين فى أمريكا وعلى نطاق العالم تجاه الابادة الجارية فى دارفور حيث يقوم مسلمون بضرب وتعذيب واغتصاب وقتل واذلال مسلمين آخرين" ، صرحت بذلك شابانا ستيشنوالا ، مديرة مشروع Nur
التابع للمؤتمر الاسلامى الأمريكى.

لقد آن الأوان لتأييد القبض على البشير بواسطة المحكمة الجنائية الدولية لمحاكمته على جرائم نظامه فى دارفور التى تسببت فى مقتل اكثر من 300 ألف شخص، كما تشهد المجازر الأخيرة فى معسكرات كالما وزمزم وبيرى للنازحين، إضافة الى حوالى 3 مليون مواطن فقدوا بيوتهم ولا يزالون يعيشون فى معسكرات منذ عام 2003. يجب ألا يمنح البشير أى مهلة يزعم دبلوماسيوه فى الأمم المتحدة أنه يحتاج إليها لتحقيق السلام فى دارفور. يجب أن يحاسب البشير على جرائمه كافة، مثلما قالت مواطنة دارفورية لأحد عمال الإغاثة فى معسكر لاجئين فى تشاد: " تأجيل محاكمة البشير لن يكون فرصة لإحلال السلام، ولكنه سيكون فرصة للبشير لمزيد من القتل ". وكانت مذبحة معسكر كالما للنازحين فى جنوب دارفور دليلآ مأساويآ على نبوءتها. " لقد حان الوقت كى يعاقب الرئيس البشير على كافة جرائمه"، يقول محمد القاضى ، أحد الناجين من التعذيب فى بيوت الاشباح فى الخرطوم. " لن أنسى ، ما حييت، تصريح البشير فى التلفزيون للعالم أجمع - أن الحديث عن التعذيب فى السودان كذب - وكنت أنا فى تلك اللحظة ضمن 171 معتقلآ يتعرضون للتعذيب فى واحد من بيوت اشباحه العديدة فى الخرطوم."

لقد جمعت منظمة ( اوقفوا الابادة الجماعية الآن) تعليقات وأقوال عديد من اللاجئين الدارفوريين التى تسجل مأساتهم وتعبر عن صوتهم الشجاع فى الوقت نفسه. وقد ظهر هذا الصوت واضحآ وقويآ فى هذه الرسالة الخطية القصيرة من أحد اللاجئين: " على المجتمع الدولى أن يدعم العدالة والمحكمة الجنائية الدولية فى موضوع البشير." وعندما سئل لاجئ آخر عما إذا كانت حياته ستتعرض للخطر إن صدر أمر بالقاء القبض على الرئيس البشير، أجاب قائلآ: " العدالة فوق الجميع. لن يتحقق السلام دون عدالة." كما تساءل صبى دارفورى لاجئ بفصاحة: " لماذا يمنح البشير 12 شهرآ لاحلال السلام، فى حين أننا لم ننعم بالسلام منذ 5 سنوات؟"." ليس لدينا وقت لتضييعه. لدينا كل الادلة والبراهين المطلوبة لمحاكمة البشير على الفظائع التى لا يزال يرتكبها. " قال داوود صالح رئيس منظمة ( تحالف دبنقا). وأضاف قائلآ " يتعرض عمال الإغاثة السودانيون للسجن والتعذيب والقتل بسبب تقديمهم العون للمواطنين الذين أجبروا على النزوح من جنوب السودان وجبال النوبة والنيل الأزرق ودارفور. تعرضت حياتى أنا شخصيآ للتهديد، وأجبرت على الهروب عام 1990. نظام البشير يقتل الابرياء العزّل. إننا نتطلع لليوم الذى يلقى فيه القبض على هذا المجرم وأعوانه."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tents of Hope gather in DC

Our Darfur Coalition is part of the Planning Committee for the end of this great national educational project, which will be a gathering of more than 100 tents from over 100 different cities across the United States.
The tents will be gathered @ the mall in Washington, DC on 7-9 Nov 2008.

for more info, see the website

Sunday, October 12, 2008

No Peace in Darfur without Accountability

By: Salih Mahmoud*

Excerpts from an article published on the website of Coalition of the ICC, and titled:
Do not deprive Darfurians of their right of justice

"Recently, while still president, Mbeki travelled to Sudan and issued a statement arguing that the proposed arrest warrant would undermine lasting peace in Sudan. If only we can tempt Bashir to co-operate with the UN for the first time, the argument runs, who cares about responsibility for the hundreds of thousands who already lost their lives in this conflict, and millions more driven from their homes?

The answer is that Darfurians will care. And so should anybody who cares about Darfur. Darfurians do not have peace (there is no peace process in Darfur) and they do not have security, they cannot now be asked to give away justice as well. Contrary to Mbeki’s statement, most of the displaced see justice as a precondition for return and for lasting peace. Indeed, there will be no peace and no security in Darfur without accountability.

Theoretically, the deal which governments now seem so eager to agree on would be valid for a mere 12 months. But the chances that the immunity would then be renewed are dangerously high.That would be an insult to the people of Darfur, and to victims of human rights abuses worldwide.

If there is no accountability for Darfur, that will set a dangerous precedent at the council, which tyrants of the future far beyond Darfur and Sudan will be eager to repeat. The preventive and the punitive power of the court will be immeasurably damaged. Darfurians wish to live in peace.

After what we have lived through, how could we not? But to do so we need the support of the international community, much as South Africans did to overcome apartheid. Unfortunately, the international community has failed to give necessary material and political support to peacekeeping troops on the ground or to peace negotiators."

Read the full article here:
* Salih Mahmoud came to Amherst in 2006 as part of the Speaking Tour organized by darfur Alert Coalition of Philadelphia

Monday, October 06, 2008

أوكامبو: كنت حريصاً على عدم اتهام البشير قبل الحصول على أدلة وقرائن تدينه

from the website of United Revolutionary Forces Front-URFF جبهة القوى الثوريه المتحده
استبعد رئيس الادعاء العام في المحكمة الجنائية الدولية لويس مورينو أوكامبو صدور قرار من المحكمة بشأن توقيف الرئيس السوداني عمر حسن البشيرخلال الشهر الجاري، متوقعا حصول ذلك خلال الشهور الثلاثة المقبلة، نظراً إلى أن هذه القضية هي الأكبر أمام المحكمة، إذ يحتوي ملفها على 120 صفحة من الادعاءات. وأعرب عن قناعته بأن لديه الأدلة الكافية لربح القضية ضد المتهمين السودانيين. وقال أوكامبو (ارجنتيني يبلغ من العمر55 عاماً) في مقابلة مع «الحياة» أنه قطع شوطا كبيرا في اعداد ملف الادعاء على جماعات من المتمردين، مؤكدا أنه يقف إلى جانب تحقيق العدالة ولا يميز بين فئة وأخرى ترتكب الجرائم. وأشار الى أنه مفوض من مجلس الأمن للتحقيق في جرائم دافور، وأن مهمته التحقيق والعمل القضائي، ولن يثنيه عن ذلك أي ظرف ديبلوماسي أو سياسي ومهما تعرض للانتقادات، مضيفاً أنه يريد أن يرسم خطاً واضحاً، وهو أن كل سياسي يرتكب جرائم ضد الإنسانية سيحاكم أمام القضاء. وأبدى اعجابه بالثقافة العربية واحترامه للشعب السوداني وحكومته، معتبراً أن تعاون الجامعة العربية والاتحاد الافريقي عنصر مهمة في وقف المجازر في دارفور. في مكتبه في مبنى المحكمة الجنائية الدولية، حاورت «الحياة»
أوكامبو، وهنا نص الحوار

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Aritcle: Justice v. politics

By Louise Arbour
Published: September 16, 2008
When I announced the indictment of Slobodan Milosevic on May 27, 1999, at the height of the armed conflict between Serbia and NATO troops in Kosovo, many were dismayed.
The conventional wisdom at the time was that the indictment by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, where I was chief prosecutor, would make the situation in Kosovo worse. Some said it would likely prove fatal to the prospect of any compromise by Milosevic - that I had killed the chance for peace.
Predictably, Milosevic was contemptuous of the indictment and vowed that he would never face trial in The Hague. The Russian envoy to the Balkans said I had "pulled the rug out from under the negotiating process."
Yet only a week later, Milosevic accepted the terms of a peace agreement and the war ended that month. Eighteen months later, a popular uprising swept Milosevic from office and he arrived in The Hague soon thereafter to face justice.
If the United Nations Security Council had had the authority to stop my indictment, things might have ended differently. And that's precisely the issue now at the center of a storm of controversy at the Security Council. How it is resolved will have serious implications for the International Criminal Court (ICC) and for the cause of international justice
Not long after the ICC prosecutor announced he was seeking an arrest warrant against Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir for orchestrating a genocidal campaign in Darfur, diplomats and political observers predicted the worst. President Bashir denounced the prosecutor's request and rejected the authority of the ICC altogether.
Within days the African Union and Organization of Islamic Conference called on the Security Council to defer the case against Bashir, claiming it thwarted prospects for peace.
They also feared retaliation against peacekeepers and humanitarian workers in Sudan. Nearly half of the Security Council has expressed support for a deferral.

The ICC statute does empower the Security Council to defer the ICC process. But such power was intended to be used extremely rarely, and then only to promote justice, not to prevent it from running its course.
The ICC was founded on the principle that accountability for the world's most serious crimes is a prerequisite for long-term peace and security. It is presumably with that in mind that the Security Council referred to Darfur case to the ICC in the first place in 2005.
The assumption should be, as the Milosevic precedent has illustrated, that judicial and political processes can be allowed to advance simultaneously and independently of each other. The goal should be to preserve the integrity of both the judicial and the political track, and, most important, to avoid the politicization of the court. Justice is a partner to peace, not an impediment to it.
To use a deferral for mere political convenience - or worse, to appease the threats of tyrants - would undermine the fledgling court. There is little hope for the promotion of the rule of law internationally if the most powerful international body makes it subservient to the rule of political expediency.
The past decade has seen tremendous advances in showing abusive leaders that their crimes will have consequences. Since the mid-1990s, for the first time in history, former heads of state have actually been brought to trial for human rights crimes.

To put ICC proceedings on hold in Darfur would send a dangerous signal to would-be war criminals that justice is negotiable and the Security Council can be held hostage to their threats.

The ICC has the ability to bring charges in real time, while conflicts are ongoing. This is not the first time, nor is it the last time, that we will face the question of whether justice interferes with peace. Indeed, these issues will arise more and more frequently. And it will often be very tempting to suspend justice in exchange for promises to end a conflict.
But if the Security Council decides in the coming weeks to interfere with court proceedings, it will vindicate those who believe politics can trump justice. That will undermine the progress the world has made so far in bringing the most powerful human rights abusers to justice for their crimes.
Louise Arbour is the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Interview with Candidates on Darfur

from the website of Ask the Candidate

Stop the Genocide in Darfur: Barack Obama has been a leading voice urging the Bush Administration to take stronger steps to end the genocide in Sudan. He worked with Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) to pass the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act. Obama has traveled to the United Nations to meet with Sudanese officials and visited refugee camps on the Chad-Sudan border to raise international awareness of the ongoing humanitarian disaster there. He also worked with Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) to secure $20 million for the African Union peacekeeping mission. Obama believes the United States needs to lead the world in ending this genocide, including by imposing much tougher sanctions that target Sudan's oil revenue, implementing and helping to enforce a no-fly zone, and engaging in more intense, effective diplomacy to develop a political roadmap to peace. The international community must, over the Sudanese regime?s protests, deploy a large, capable UN-led and UN-funded force with a robust enforcement mandate to stop the killings.

John McCain
Summary of the candidate's response:
McCain talked about how American and peace loving people are tired of saying Never Again. Unfortunately, action is being blocked by China, so we need to sit down with other peace loving countries to end the genocide. Specifically, his answer focused on providing logistical support and funding for the peacekeeping force in Darfur.
The moderator then asked a followup question - "Would a McCain presidency over the last 7 years have done more about Darfur than the Bush presidency has." McCain responded 'yes'. He says that he would have made it a bigger priority for his presidency. He would have shamed China for its failure to help, and he would have made louder appeals to other countries to act.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

"Impunity is a threat to peace"

From the website of Human Rights Watch

Standing Firm against Impunity
By Sara Darehshori
Published in El Mundo
August 1, 2008

Many people in Bosnia and beyond thought they would never see Radovan Karadzic standing before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). It seemed almost beyond the dreams of the rape victims that I interviewed in Bosnia in 1993, or those held in concentration camps But even then, in the midst of the conflict and in very difficult circumstances, local civilians had painstakingly gathered detailed testimonies from survivors in the hope that one day, there would be justice for these crimes. Even after the Yugoslav tribunal was established and had issued indictments against Karadzic for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, it seemed unlikely that he would ever be arrested. And yet this week he faced a panel of judges for his role in the massacre of men and boys after the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995, as well ascrimes in various cities across Bosnia, including the shelling of Sarajevo during the city’s siege.

In the case of Sudan, the Security Council already determined that the impunity for ongoing crimes in Darfur was itself a threat to peace and security when it referred the situation to the ICC. Nothing has happened to change that assessment: ttacks by government forces and aligned janjaweed continue. Moreover, the Darfur peace talks have been stalled for nine months for reasons unrelated to the ICC or to the possibility of a warrant against Bashir. No one has been held to account in Sudan’s national courts in relation to the attacks in Darfur. Thus, it is unclear what can be gained by deferring international judicial processes now.
read the full article:

Friday, July 18, 2008

Press Release from Sudanese group in Philadelpia (Arabic)

بيان هام
التجمع الوطنى للسودانيين بفيلادلفيا
وقف جنون طغاة الانقاذ وفك اسر الشعب السودانى واجب الساعة الوقوف ضد قرار المحكمة الدولية جريمة اخرى تضاف الى جرائم
الانقاذ فى دارفور نرحب بقرار المحكمة الدوليةكما هو متوقع بعد صدور مذكرة المدعى العام للمحكمة الجنائية بتوجيه تهم محددة للمتهم عمر حسن احمد البشير بإرتكاب جرائم الابادة الجماعية, والجرائم ضد الإنسانية، وجرائم الحرب فى دارفور، لجأ نظام الانقاذ الدكتاتورى الى محاولة فاشلة لتضليل الرأى العام السودانى والعالمى بالادعاء الممجوج بأن هناك ابعاداً سياسية للقضية التى اثارها المدعى العام . فمحاولة النظام هذه تهدف الي صرف الانظار عن الاستحقاقات القانونية المترتبة علي الاتهامات البينة التي وردت في صحيفة الادعاء ، و هي تتعلق في صميمها بارتكاب المتهم عمر البشير لجرائم خطيرة تحاول كل اجهزة النظام العلنية منها و السرية و كل مؤسساته ان تجد مخرجاً له لاجل الافلات منها. و هي محاولات بائسة تستخدم فيها نفس ادوات التجييش و المراوغة التي وظفت من قبل في تنفيذ نفس الجرائم و التستر عليها. . أشار المدعى العام أن البشير قد دبر ونّفذ خطة لتدمير جزء كبير من المجموعات القاطنة بدارفور، لأسباب إثنية ولفترة زمنية تجاوزت الخمس سنوات، حيث شرد الملايين من المدنيين من أراضيهم التي شغلوها لقرون خلت، ودمر جميع وسائل عيشهم، و مكّن لمستوطنين جدد ان يغتصبوا ارضهم و يسكنوها. واوضح المدعي العام انه و من بين الأدّلة اليوم أن البشير، بد ًلا من مساعدة أهل دارفور، قد عبأ جهاز الدولة بأكمله، بما في ذلك القوات المسّلحة، وجهاز الاستخبارات، والدوائر الديبلوماسية والإعلامية، والجهاز القضائي من أجل إجبار2.450.000 من الأشخاص لترك مساكنهم و اراضيهم ليعيشوا في مخيمات للمشردين، و تحت ظروف مدروسة لتدميرهم مادياً و معنوياً بل و استهدافهم لدرجة ترقى الي محوهم من علي وجه الارض. ما قال به المدعي العام قد ظلت تردده كل منظمات حقوق الانسان و تنظيمات المجتمع المدني السودانية لعقدين من الزمن قبل المنظمات العالمية. ولم يفاجأ النشطاء السودانيين بهذا القرار و انما عملوا لاجل ان يصبح حقيقة لاجل رد المظالم و تقديم مجرمي نظام الانقاذ الي العدالة. ونحن نؤكد ان هذه الجرائم هى الحلقة الاكثر دموية وبشاعة فى سلسلة جرائم الانقاذ ضد الشعب السودانى بكل مكوناته والتى بدات منذ اليوم الاول للانقلاب المشؤوم الذى دبرته ونفذته الجبهة القومية الاسلامية عام 1989 م بقيادة المتهم عمر حسن احمد البشير الذى بالإضافة الى اشرافه المباشر على تنفيذ هذه الجرائم قد جعل ارتكاب المزيد منها ممكنًا برفضه المجهودات الوطنية للوصول الى الحقيقة وبتصفيته للقضاء السودانى والحاقه بمؤسسات نظامه ليصبح القضاء بذلك مؤسسةً تتستر على الجرائم بدل من ان تكشفها و تعاقب مرتكبيها. ان البشير متهم فى جرائم جنائية جوهراً ويجب ان يخضع للمساءلة القانونية امام محكمة الجنايات الدولية وان معاناة الشعب السودانى وذاكرته وارادته الغلابة ضمن توجهات المجتمع الدولى لن تتراجع امام جنون الطغاة , لذلك نحن فى التجمع الوطنى للسودانيين بفيلادلفيا نـعـلـن ..
1 ـ مساندتنا ودعمنا لقرار المدعى العام لمحكمة الجنايات الدولية بتقديم البشير ومعاونيه الى المحاكمة.
2 ـ ان نظام الانقاذ فاقد الشرعية أساساومغتصب للسلطة السياسية ويجب ازالة سيطرته على حكم البلاد بعد صدور مذكرة المدعى العام فى حق راس النظام.
3 ـ مطالبتنا للحركة الشعبية وعلى راسها النائب الاول السيد سلفاكير بالتنحى عن رئاسة لجنة ادارة الازمة التى كونها المتهم البشير حتى لايكون مطية لنظام الانقاذ للالتفاف على قرارات المجتمع الدولى.
4 دعوتنا للتنظيمات السياسية ان تلعب دورها القيادى وتلهم الشعب إتخاذ الموقف الصحيح وتجنيب الوطن المزيد من الجراح ,وان تكف عن الانقياد و الاندفاع وراء الادعاءات المسمومة التي تبثها الماكينة الاعلامية لنظام الانقاذ.
والنصر لشعبناالتجمع الوطنى للسودانيين بفيلادلفيا16 يوليو 2008م

WMDC to help ICC to indict President al-Bashir

contact person: Mohamed I. Elgadi
Tel. 215-870-7809

Amherst MA--The Western Mass. Darfur Coalition-WMDC-vigorously welcomes the announcement of the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor of charges to indict President Omar al-Bashir for his war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The Sudanese victims and survivors of President al-Bashir’s regime who live in the Pioneer Valley expressed comfort at the Monday, July 14th announcement. “At least the international community is showing some strong signs to serve the delayed justice for my people,” said Abu Asal, member of WMDC and one of the torture survivors from Darfur. The fate of his sister, a teacher, is unknown since she was ‘disappeared’ last year while walking to her school in the suburbs of Nyala, S. Darfur.

The crimes of President al-Bashir's regime in Darfur did not start in 2003. (The ICC indictment was limited to this date.) For more than 19 years, his regime continued to wage war against its own people with little or no action from the international community. For the first time in the recent history of states, the regime adopted torture as an official policy to punish peaceful opposition. Torture Centers, known as Ghost Houses, spread all over the country. The mass killing and targeting of specific ethnic groups began in the early 1990s when al-Bashir assigned the region of Darfur to one of his close military aides, Tayeb Sikha. However, over the past five years the destruction of the Darfur people reached its high point as correctly noted by the ICC prosecutor in his report.

In November 2006 WMDC actively participated in having President al-Bashir put on trial by the world peoples. The International Citizens’ Tribunal for Sudan (ICTS), chaired by Nigerian Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, found al-Bashir guilty of 15 different charges. Ten of these counts were included in the indictment case of the ICC prosecutor. In addition, WMDC was behind the large educational Darfur campaign that led to the adoption of Darfur Resolutions in many cities and towns in MA.

“We will continue to cooperate with the office of the ICC Prosecutor until justice is served in this new indictment”, said Mohamed Elgadi, member of WMDC, who was also one of the witnesses at the ICTS court. “We will be providing an important potential court witness in the ICC, and we are not revealing the name for her/his own safety. ”

WMDC calls on our local legislators and the human rights community to welcome and support the announcement of the General Prosecutor of the ICC

The Western Massachusetts Darfur Coalition is an advocacy human rights-focused membership group of activists in the Pioneer Valley (MA). It works to educate the public about the crisis in the Darfur region (Sudan) and mobilize our community to take action to stop the genocide. For more information on this PR and the work of WMDC, please contact Mohamed Elgadi @ 215-870-7809 or by email: or visit our weblog:

# # #

Monday, July 14, 2008

President al-Bashir indicted at the ICC..

Big victory for the victims of Darfur and all other regions of Suda...!

NEW YORK -- The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Monday morning asked for an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Lt. Gen. Omar al-Bashir, declaring the atrocities against civilians in Darfur to be genocide.
ICC prosecutor Luis Ocampo-Moreno on Monday released a detailed charge sheet accusing Mr. al-Bashir of 10 counts of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.
The indictment was unsealed just three weeks before the Summer Olympics are to open in Beijing, an embarrassment to Khartoum's most loyal protector and biggest trade partner.
Humanitarian officials immediately expressed concern about retaliation by the government, which is accused of murdering or causing to die by famine, disease and rape hundreds of thousands of civilians, and driving millions from their homes.
Mr. al-Bashir has for five years "masterminded and implemented a plan to destroy in substantial part the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa groups," of Darfur on account of their ethnicity, according to the complaint against him. Their lands were later resettled by other people, a violation of international law.
On Mr. al-Bashir's orders, the prosecutor said, the combined forces of the Sudanese military and the Janjaweed militia have attacked and destroyed villages, pursuing survivors into the desert. The government has obstructed international relief assistance and menaced camps, often gang-raping women in front of their own families.
"I don't have the luxury to look away," said Mr. Moreno-Ocampo yesterday in The Hague. "I have evidence.
The indictment is the most ambitious yet from the 6-year-old tribunal, which has also announced prosecutions against warlords in Uganda, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, Mr. al-Bashir and others who have previously been incited by the ICC are unlikely to show up in the dock anytime soon: The court has no police officers, and peacekeepers are unlikely to storm the presidential palace.
Sudan has not recognized the statute of the ICC, and its government has repeatedly rejected its legitimacy. Mr. al-Bashir is now effectively grounded within his own country, as travelling through or to a country that supports the ICC could lead to a forcible transfer to The Hague.
This is the third time in a short history of war crimes prosecutions that a sitting world leader has been accused of committing or permitting war crimes: former Liberian President Charles Taylor is said to be meddling in political and financial affairs from his luxurious compound in western Nigeria; former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosovich died in detention in 2006.
Few in the diplomatic or humanitarian communities rushed to Mr. al-Barshir's defense in the days before the indictment was officially announced; however, many expressed concern that Khartoum would shut down humanitarian NGOs still operating in Darfur, or retaliate against either of two U.N. peacekeeping missions inside Sudan.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon telephoned Mr. al-Bashir on Sunday afternoon and "stressed that the U.N. Secretary-General does not have any influence on the ICC Prosecutor," according to an update on the U.N. Web site. Mr. Ban also expressed concern about the security of the two U.N.-authorized peacekeeping missions in Sudan -- one along the border with the breakaway South, the other a slowly deploying and still vulnerable effort in Darfur.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Arab Coalition for Darfurالتحالف العربي من أجل دارفور

This was sent by aDarfur's activist in LA, CA

Break the Silence – end the suffering in Darfur
Arab Coalition on Darfur comes to Kampala and calls for action by
ministers attending the Organisation of the Islamic Conference
18 June 2008
The Islamic world must decide to end its wall of silence,
before it is too late.
The Islamic world’s response to the daily killings and suffering of millions of Muslims in Darfur has been largely silent – from both civil society as well as from institutions and the majority of governments. The recently formed Arab Coalition on Darfur with membership from over 12 countries has organised meeting and activities in the margins of this week’s meeting of OIC foreign ministers in Kampala to challenge that silence. It calls on OIC delegates to send a clear message that Muslims worldwide cannot accept the violence in Darfur any longer........
Arabic Version:
إعملوا على:
كسر حاجز الصمت
إنهاء المعاناة في دارفور
التحالف العربي من أجل دارفور يدعو وزراء الدول الإسلامية المجتمعين في كمبالا إلي التحرك من أجل دارفور
18 / 6 / 2008

منذ وقت طويل اتسم رد فعل العالم الإسلامي حكومات وشعوبا ومؤسسات غير حكومية على عمليات القتل اليومية ومعاناة ملايين المسلمين في دارفور. وفي هذا الاطار ينظم التحالف العربي من أجل دارفور، وهو تحالف اقليمي غير حكومي تشكل حديثا بعضوية منظمات مجتمع مدني من 12 دولة عربية، اجتماعات وأنشطة علي هامش مؤتمر وزراء الخارجية لدول منظمة المؤتمر الإسلامي هذا الأسبوع في كمبالا لتحدي هذا الصمت. وليدعو ايضاً الدول الاسلامية المشاركة في المؤتمرلاصدار رسالة واضحة مفادها أن مسلمي العالم لا يمكنهم قبول العنف الدائر في دارفور بعد اليوم.

ولقد قُدٍّم الصراع على أنه من صنيعة الأمبريالية العالمية والصهاينة. ونحن هنا شكلنا هذا التحالف للتضامن مع إخواننا في دارفور ولتوضيح الأسباب الحقيقية للنزاع ومدي تدهور الوضع الإنساني لأزمة دارفور، والتي لم يصنعها الغرب او الامبرالية . "إن معاناة المسلمين في دارفور لا يمكن الا أن تكون حقيقية مثل تلك التي تحدث في فلسطين والعراق" كما قال السيد حجاج نايل نيابة عن التحالف العربي من اجل درافور .

ومن الجدير بالذكر ان معاناة اهالي دارفور مستمرة ويومية على مدى خمس سنوات حتي الان . ففي نهاية شهر مايو 2008، احرق المتمردون (والذين أصبحوا الآن جزء من الحكومة) 13 من القرويين أحياء عندما هاجموا قرية ماريو كاتول. وفي وقت مبكر من شهر مايو، تم قصف قرية شقيق كارو مما أدى إلى مصرع ستة أطفال. كما فر أكثر من 150000 شخص من بيوتهم خلال عام 2008. وتشير الاحصائيات الي ان هناك مليونين من اللاجئين في المعسكرات بينما تعوق الهجمات اليومية عمال الاغاثة عن تقديم المساعدات المتمثلة في الغذاء والماء والادوية الي المحتاجين وفي نفس الوقت ادت هذه الهجمات الي قيام برنامج الغذاء العالمي بتقليص حصته التي يستفيد منها 4 ملايين شخص الي النصف. ولقد قتل تسعة من عمال الإغاثة السودانيين في دارفور هذا العام، بينما تم اختطاف ثلاثين آخرين، واعتبروا في عداد المفقودين.

أصبحت الحياة لا تحتمل بالنسبة لمئات الالاف من النساء والاطفال في إقليم دارفور ومن بينهم خديجة والبالغة من العمر ثلاثون عاما وأم لاربعة أولاد . فالمشهد اليومي وكما تقول خديجة "هو اطلاق الرصاص بالقرب من المنازل والمساجد والاسواق وساحات اللعب في اجواء من الرعب والهلع للأطفال والنساء والمدنيين الأبرياء . يطلق رجال المليشيات الرصاص من كل حدب وصوب بلا تمييز بين ماهو عسكري وبين ما هو مدني في وضع انساني شديد الخطورة علي الجميع"

هذا الوضع يمكن تجنبه. إذ يمكن لمنظمة المؤتمر الإسلامي والعالم العربي والإسلامي أخذ الخطوات اللازمة للمساعدة في إنهاء هذه المعاناة.

"وبالبرغم من اهمية المناقشات داخل المؤتمر الاسلامي واصدار البيانات الدورية حول دارفور، الا انها لم تعد كافية لأن الأوضاع علي الارض ظلت كما هي ولم يطرأ عليها أي تحسن ولازال هناك كثير من النازحين يقبعون في معسكرات اللجوء لأكثر خمس سنوات متصلة. لابد من التصدي لهذه الأوضاع وتغييرها " كما قال الباقر العفيف عن التحالف العربي من أجل دارفور.

إن مزيد من الصمت عن ما يحدث في دارفور قد يكون له تبعات كارثية علي بلدان اخرى من دول منظمة المؤتمر الإسلامي، بما في ذلك اوغندا التي تستضيف هذا المؤتمر. فالوضع المتردي في دارفور يهدد بشكل متزايد المنطقة برمتها وجيران السودان، وكذلك يهدد اتفاقية السلام الشامل في السودان الموقع عليها عام 2005.

برغم جهود منظمة المؤتمر الإسلامى في مارس 2008 والتي أثمرت اتفاقية داكار بين السودان وتشاد إلا أن هذه الجهود فشلت في تحقيق السلام بين البلدين، لذلك نهيب بالقمة الإسلامية والمنعقدة الآن في كمبالا ان تحرز مزيدا من التقدم لحل هذه الازمة الانسانية.

بينما نرحب بالمساعدات المالية والتي يجب توجيهها لملاقاة الحاجة الإنسانية الهائلة، فإن المال وحده لا يحل الأزمة.

يدعو التحالف العربي من أجل دارفور منظمة المؤتمر الإسلامي إلى الآتي:

الضغط على كافة فرقاء النزاع للإتفاق على وقف أعمال العنف – والتأكد من المحافظة على مثل هذا الاتفاق.
الدعم العاجل لقوات اليوناميد، وتقويتها، والعمل من أجل إنهاء التأخيرات والقيود التي تصدر من المجتمع الدولي ومن داخل السودان.
دعم كل من الحكومة السودانية والحكومة التشادية للعمل على إنهاء الخلافات والصراعات المتبادلة وعدم السماح لمزيد من العنف بين البلدين بعد اليوم.
إن خديجة مثل بقية أهالي دارفور تأمل بمستقبل أكثر إشراقا. وهي تأمل من أجل حياة ومستقبل أولادها ولازالت تحلم بأن الوضع في دارفور يمكن تبديله وتغيره، ومن عودة السلام والامان لتتمكن من العيش دون خوف. وكأخوة في الإسلام نحتاج أن نبقي على هذا الأمل حيا. إن التحالف العربي من أجل دارفور والذي تم إعلانه اليوم في كمبالا يعمل وسيعمل علي ان تظل امال واحلام خديجة، وأهل دارفور، قيد التنفيذ.

على العالم الإسلامي أخذ القرار بإنهاء وكسر جدار الصمت قبل فوات الآوان.

لمزيد من المعلومات الرجاء الاتصال ب

1- حجاج نايل للتعليق باللغة العربية
تليفون : 0020775841698

2- الباقر العفيف للتعليق باللغة الانجليزية

تليفون:ـ 00249919705748

اميل التحالف:

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Darfur rebels attack Khartoum

Sudan says it has cut off diplomatic relations with Chad, blaming it for helping rebels from Darfur to launch an attack on Sudan's capital, Khartoum.
Both Chad and Jem rebels deny working together to launch the assault on the Khartoum suburb of Omdurman, which the rebels say they have taken control of.
The government said the rebel advance, the closest they have come to Khartoum, had been defeated.
An overnight curfew imposed on Khartoum has been lifted, but not in Omdurman.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir made the announcement that his country was breaking off diplomatic ties with Chad on state television.
"These forces [behind the Omdurman attack] are all basically Chadian forces supported and prepared by Chad and they moved from Chad under the leadership of [rebel chief] Khalil Ibrahim," President Bashir said in his televised statement.
He added his country reserved the right to retaliate against Chad.
Sudan has offered a reward of $125,000 (£64,000) for Mr Ibrahim's capture and information that leads to his arrest, Sudan TV reported.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

STAPLES RALLY, and Letter to the Editor of NYTimes


Come rally STAPLES to be a


corporate sponsor of the 2008 BEIJING Olympics!

April 27, 2008

1:00pm to 3:00pm

Boston Commons

featuring a performance



"Memo to Bush on Darfur"

Columnist Nicolas Kristof wrote recently in the New York Times titled "Memo to Bush on Darfur" in which he suggested a 8-point plan to act on Darfur, and invited his readers to comment. Mohamed Elgadi, WMDC member, sent the following response:

Your call to link the Darfur issue to the whole Sudan makes a lot of sense and speaks directly to the call of the Sudanese opposition since 1989 when the National Islamic Front seized power in Sudan. The regime of President Omer al-Bashir succeeded to sustain power because he always put a wedge among different ethnic and political groups in Sudan.

However, in your Column you made couple of controversial points that face a lot of opposition from different human rights and political groups in Sudan and in the United States.

1) You called for bringing President Omer Elbashir in Anti-Genocide conference in Kigali is considered by many of us, especially the Sudanese, as an insult to the victims in Rwanda, Sudan and everywhere. A genocide mastermind like al-Bashir would not make anything to stop the killing orchestrated by his own regime.

2) The militarization of the region as outlined in your memo (#6-8) with a major role of the US would be another disastrous step by the Bush Administration. The major Sudanese opposition forces strongly warned against such arrogant step when some voices called few years ago to use the US military base in Djibouti in a swift strike. Actually this would help the regime in Khartoum more than any thing. They are waiting for such thing to happen to mobilize and rally the Sudanese people against the US ‘invasion’ of another Muslim country.
Any military action, if needed, should be under the leadership of the UN and better if the US did not participate at all with manpower.

Before we start thinking about military action we should use other methods that, as a Sudanese- American I know would work well. We should work with our allies to stop granting travel visa to any of President’s Bashir ruling party or his allies in Sudan (including their direct family members). Keeping those perpetrators ‘imprisoned’ in Sudan and freezing their assets would bring them quickly on their feet. Ask us, the Sudanese refugees, about these thieves who love to spend our stolen money in London, Paris, New York, and Toronto.

We should also stop sending confusing messages to the world by receiving many of the regime’s crime lords as high dignitaries in the State Dept or the CIA. Terrorism should be fought with ethics.

mohamed i. elgadi
Amherst, MA
W. Mass. Darfur Coalition

Next Meeting Tues May 20th

Next Western Mass Darfur Coalition Meeting
will be on
Tuesday, May 20, 2008, 7:30 pm

at the home of Magda and Mohamed

135 East Hadley Road, Amherst MA

For this meeting, send your items for the Agenda to Fanny

Deadline for items to be typed into the Agenda:

must be received by May 13

(and new items can always be added at the start of the meeting)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Minutes of WMDC meeting of April 15, 2008

Present: Magda, Mohamed, Stephanie, Irwin, Martha

1. Situation: Darfur, South Sudan, Chad, United Nations, US Congress and US Administration.

Mohamed and Magda reported that people are being moved into the Darfur villages from which Darfurians have fled, that many are from other countries (such as Burkina Faso, Mali), as an "occupation" of the villages. Is making the situation extremely tense and a big question, how will Darfur people be able to return?

Also, in Sudan, focus is now on the census, which has been postponed for the time being. Who will be counted? (Census should be about every 10 years -- last one in the North was about 10 years ago, but in the South has been no census since the 1950s!)

South Sudan appears to be on brink of civil war again.

Nothing is happening about the UN peacekeepers (UNAMID) deployment to Sudan. The regime continues to veto forces from non-African countries and from countries it does not like. Helicopters still not available, and support services for them not ready in any case. The UN appears to have no way to enforce the UN resolutions. The US -- Congress and Administration -- are not exerting pressure, on Sudan or on China, which could easily influence Sudan, and China continues to transfer arms to Sudan.

All quite bleak.

2. March 28th meeting with Rep. Olver. (Irwin supplied a written report. Send email to if you want a copy.)

Rep. Olver said he will look into the $334 mil shortfall in the Congressional appropriation for UNAMID. (He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.)

A House letter (Feb. 12, 2008) was signed by 118 members to request that the Chinese government influence Sudan to accept UNAMID.

Amherst Regional H.S. STAND and UMass STAND outlined their projects, such as raising funds for solar cookers for Darfur refugees (ARHS) and pressuring Staples to withdraw as a sponsor of the Olympics (UMass).

Mohamed suggested that the US lead an international effort to withhold travel visas and banking privileges from those high in the Sudan regime. Rep. Olver was interested in this strategy and WMDC (via Mohamed) will discuss further with him, and present a plan.

WMDC brought up the effectiveness of a boycott of China, not only of the Olympics but also of goods and services. Such actions were used re: South Africa, also Burma.

3. Stephanie reported on the Staples activities by UMass STAND. (Stephanie provided a written report. Send email to if you want a copy.) Noted that all of us should write letters to the corporate headquarters, urging Staples to withdraw as a sponsor of the Olympics. Address to

Ronald L. Sargent, Chairman and CEO, Staples Inc., 500 Staples Drive,

Framingham MA 01702. If you wish, you can FAX: 508-253-8989

RALLY on Monday, April 27, 11 am - 3 pm, on Boston Common, at the gazebo. Will have four speakers on: Stick to your promises US; Enforce UNAMID; All-Sudan Solution; Lobby China (to pressure Sudan).

Also reported on recent Washington DC Rally by STAND, near the White House, with civil disobedience, such as "die-in" -- got coverage on CNN.

4. Meeting in Norwell MA (eastern MA, near Cape Cod). Mohamed spoke at Unitarian-Universalist Society there, and a collection was taken for WMDC which brought in some needed funds. There isn't a local Darfur group there, but maybe after this meeting, one may start up.

5. San Francisco Rally: to focus on the Olympic torch and the "genocide" Olympics. At request of SaveDarfur, Mohamed arranged for a number of WMDC participants to be there. More than 200 protestors were present, more of them focusing on Tibet than on Darfur, but a good all-day rally and many criticizing China for failing to influence Sudan.

6. Forming a relationship with the Tibet group. Mohamed will explore, could be some joint actions relating to Tibet and Darfur, and China's responsibility to do the right thing on both counts.

7. Sisterhood for Peace: mainly based in Boston but active elsewhere too. Magda is a member of this group. She reported that the Sisterhood gave a letter to Kofi Annan about Darfur situation, asking him to make a public statement. For information about Sisterhood for Peace, see website,

8. Genocide Intervention Network. We think that WMDC may wish to make more use of the GIN information and resources, and perhaps work with GIN on some actions,

9. Center for International Education (CIE) forum. Mohamed heads up this panel. Not known yet which day WMDC will be scheduled, but WMDC will prefer Sat., June 14. At our next meeting, on May 20, we will have a detailed report on the plan and discuss any arrangements that are needed. The Darfur Children's Drawings are a necessary element of the forum and some help will be needed to get it ready.

Do you know that WMDC has a website (or blog) ? Go to

If anyone who attended has additions or corrections to the Minutes, please let me know.

-- from Martha Spiegelman, April 22, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

WMDC in San Francisco for Darfur Rally

It was a great Rally that is making a huge impact and highlighted locally, nationally and internationally.....
Our message to put more pressure on the Sudanese regime was strongly shared during the rally and with media (ABC and Newsweek)...
Our solidarity with the Tibetan people was made in a different ways including a Press Release to be published soon between WMDC and the Tibetan Youth Congress in Portland, OR.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Letter to Editor of Daily Hampshire Gazette

I hope this letter gets published in Daily Hampshire Gazette:

A way to affect genocide

Every person I have ever met is against genocide. But when faced with one going on in our own time — be it either the Rwandan genocide in 1994 or the current assault on survival in Darfur, Sudan — many people are saddened by their inability to act meaningfully to stop hundreds of thousands of people being killed or displaced from their homes.

In the next few days, however, we have the chance to do something. Two of the members of our W. Mass. Darfur Coalition, Magda Ahmed and Mohamed Elgadi, have just headed for San Francisco to participate in the Beijing Olympics Torch Relay Protest, part of a big call to China to stop supplying arms to the government of Sudan. And you at home can take another step to help ensure your personal investments are not funding a genocide. Thanks to a recent ruling by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Fidelity shareholders now have the unique opportunity to cast a vote for genocide-free investing.

A shareholder proposal submitted by Investors Against Genocide, a Boson-based non-profit organization, asks Fidelity to institute oversight procedures to screen out investments in companies that substantially contribute to genocide. Not surprisingly, Fidelity is advising its shareholders to vote against this proposal.

This shareholder proposal won 28% and 27% of the votes for the two Fidelity mutual funds that voted on March 19. This strong initial result is a very positive indication of the depth of shareholder concern regarding making mutual funds genocide-free.

At upcoming Fidelity shareholder meetings scheduled for April 16 and May 14, 19 Fidelity mutual funds will have a proxy ballot question on genocide-free investing. Fidelity shareholders can vote their shares by returning their proxy or attending the shareholder meeting. If they have already discarded their proxy materials, or have already voted and wish to change their vote, they can do so right up until the meeting at the Fidelity website.

For details about this important vote and more information on genocide-free investing, p
lease visit – and also check out local Darfur actions at our blog at

Thanks for your help,

W. Mass. Darfur Coalition/

Mohamed and Magda head for San Francisco for Dream for Darfur Olympic Torch Protest

Mohamed Elgadi and Magda Ahmed are heading for San Francisco as I write. Read more about the protest for Darfur below -- written by Dave Eggers, author most recently of the novel “What Is the What.”

THERE’S only one stop in North America on the Olympic torch’s 95,000-mile trip from Athens to Beijing, and that’s here. On April 9, standing side by side with sports fans along the parade route, there will be thousands of protesters who hope to bring attention to China’s complicity in the genocide in Darfur.

When the presidential campaigns swung, ever so briefly, through California, those advocating for Darfur tried to get the issue into the debates and on television. But nothing seemed to work. The last time a questioner raised the issue in a significant forum was during one of the YouTube debates last year.

During a speech in November, Hillary Rodham Clinton said of Darfur: “Every day we fail to act is a betrayal of our common values.” In a YouTube video last year, Barack Obama said: “We can’t say ‘never again,’ and then allow it to happen again.” In a similar video, John McCain said the United States “has the obligation to lead, to act.” But since then, the campaigns have been quiet on the subject of the 21st century’s first genocide.

It’s easy in California, far from the active primaries and farther from Sudan and China, to feel powerless. That’s why the organizers of the protest feel they have a rare opportunity to put the crisis back on the national stage. In 418,000 copies of the April 4 edition of The San Francisco Chronicle, subscribers will get a placard that on one side explains the connections between China and the genocide in Sudan, and on the other side says, “China: Extinguish the Flames of Genocide in Darfur.” How’s that for an early morning jolt?

The placard and the protest are the work of a group called the San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition. Its thousand or so members have been agitating for more than a year to remind Americans that the violence in Sudan is increasing and that the time to act is now.

There are, of course, plenty of other issues that require discussion in this campaign, and Sudan can’t be part of every stump speech. Then again, maybe it should be. Numerous reports, in Darfur and in southern Sudan, indicate that violence is at a two-year high and that the country might be on the verge of a new and perhaps all-encompassing conflict.

My friend Valentino Achak Deng, a refugee from Sudan, just got back from southern Sudan last week where he was beginning construction on an educational complex in his hometown. He reports that along the southern border, there have been weekly clashes between the Sudanese Army and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, a rebel group that fought a long and protracted war with the government in the 1980s and ’90s.

Hundreds have been killed, and a good portion of the residents of the south fear there will again be war. If this happens, it could make the conflict in Darfur look like a skirmish.

“All the candidates have plans for what they’ll do in Sudan if they’re elected,” said Martina Knee of the Bay Area coalition’s executive committee. “But that’s too late, too long from now. They have to use their bully pulpit now.”

Will the demonstrators lining the parade route bring the topic back into the campaign and into the public consciousness? Is it audacious to hope?

Written by Dave Eggers, the author, most recently, of the novel “What Is the What.”

Next Meeting Tues April 15th

Western Mass Darfur Coalition - Next Meeting
on Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 7:30 pm
at home of Magda and Mohamed
135 East Hadley Road, Amherst MA


For the next meeting, send your agenda items to Martha Spiegelman,
Agenda items should be sent no later than Saturday, April 12.
The email notice with the agenda will be sent by email on Sunday, April 13.
Please write your agenda items as you want them to appear on the email notice, which will be sent out on Sunday, April 13.
Small preview for the April 15, 2008 meeting
--report on Center for Education forum at Umass in which we will participate;
--UMass STAND project re: put pressure on Staples to boycott Olympics
--Amherst Regional H.S. STAND spring actions
--report on meeting on March 28 with Rep. John Olver
We hope to see you at our next meeting on April 15, 2008!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Our Darfur Coalition @ the Fogg Lecture Series

The Fogg Lecture Series
March 30, 2008

In the afternoon of March 30th at 1:00 pm, the First Parish Fogg Committee will sponsor a free Fogg Lecture featuring Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim Elgadi, a Sudanese refugee.
Dr. Mohamed Elgadi is a survivor of torture in Sudan and is living in the United States under political asylum. Since coming to the US, he has worked to raise awareness about atrocities committed by the Sudanese government and the genocide in Darfur. Dr. Elgadi earned his M.A. in Environmental Studies at the University of Khartoum and his Ph.D. in Education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
A committed activist on the American national stage and in international circles, he is the co-founder of the Philadelphia-based Darfur Alert Coalition, a Sudanese-American group of grassroots activists working on issues related to Darfur. He is the co-founder and honorary chair of Group Against Torture in Sudan (GATS), an advocacy group working among Sudanese refugees. He also serves on the advisory committee of Judgement on Genocide: International Citizens Tribunal for Sudan, a project that has created a forum for discussion of the genocide and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Sudanese government led by President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (

A reception will follow the lecture.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

W. Mass Darfur groups meet with Congressman Olver

For more than one hour Darfur activists from Western Massachusetts met yesterday with Congressman John Olver.
More to come on this important meeting

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Next Darfur Coalition Meeting Tuesday, March 18th

Please come to our next meeting on Tuesday March 18th at 7:30 pm at Magda and Mohamed's at 135 E. Hadley Rd. in Amherst. For more info, email or call 413-687-8036. The W. Mass. Darfur Coalition meets the 3rd Tuesday of each month.

Please take several minutes and take action to spur leaders in the US, China, and Europe to end atrocities in Darfur:

1.Call on the EU to ban the use of Euros for Sudanese oil transactions at

2.Call on the UN Security Council at to release Sudanese government officials to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

3.Put pressure on the Government of China to stop providing arms and funding to Sudan (

Thanks so much and we'd love to see you at our next meeting in March.