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My Answer

Why Darfur? I can’t even guess how many times I’ve been asked this question over the last six years. When I first started becoming an advocate for peace in Darfur, there was not this united front by activists, and we really didn’t know exactly what we were doing, or at least I didn’t. I do know that I heard about Darfur, and I felt a need to act, even if in a small way.

“Why Darfur? Why you?” I was asked this by a congressman in DC. Without thinking, my immediate answered was, “Because I’m a father.” That’s my own best answer, but I think everyone has a best answer.

Are you a student, like the kids we’ve been visiting the past days in the camp? Shouldn’t the young people of Darfur have a right to a future just like you, beyond the confines of a refugee camp?

Are you a young woman or a girl? Think about Rouda, who was taking care of her frail grandmother all by herself, at age twelve. Her grandmother died, and — at thirteen — Rouda was married off. Her family first gave her to her grandma, to help grandma and to also be one less mouth to feed, given their limited rations. Then the grandmother dies, and she is given to a man.

Compassion. Compassion is not about feeling sorry for someone. It’s about sharing in the passion, the good and the bad, experiencing their joy and their suffering, and then letting that motivate your actions.

Sorry for being preachy. My mom always told me I would have been a good preacher (not that I agree). But, after days spending time with the kids in the camp, I wish I knew the answer, the exact answer, on how to get others to care about situations like Darfur and the real people that are behind the numbers. Are we all human?


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