Blogs before the rally

The Save Darfur coalition, an association of 130 religious, human rights and humanitarian organizations, has organized a rally in Washington DC tomorrow. Based on the number of friends who’ve told me they’ll be at the event, and other friends and readers who’ve emailed to ask about blogs about the crisis, I’m hopeful the rally will draw tens of thousands of participants. Whether it will have the desired effect – US support for a strengthened multinational (probably UN) force in Darfur – is an open question. Even if the Bush administration put itself squarely behind this sort of effort, the Khartoum government has been very successful at characterizing possible UN or US intervention as a form of neo-imperialism. It’s likely going to require strong European, African and Middle East pressure to ensure a more successful form of intervention.

If, like me, you’re not going to make it to DC, there are smaller rallies planned in a number of other US cities. The coalition is also organizing a post card campaign designed to send a million postcards to President Bush – Voice of America reports that the campaign is already up to 650,000 cards. Human Rights First is organizing a “Stand in for the Victims” campaign, designed to pressure the UN to appoint a high level diplomat to focus on the Darfur situation. Again, I have limited hope that this campaign will be the one to stop the killing, but it’s an idea worth supporting, in my opinion.

For those friends who asked for some reading suggestions from the blogosphere:

Passion of the Present has been a clearinghouse for information on Darfur from very early on in the conflict – it’s a great way to track mainstream news stories on the conflict, with some good opinion pieces. For a view from the ground, the now-defunct Sleepless in Sudan is essential reading – for several months, the blog was maintained by a Western aid worker in Darfur about conditions on the ground. Sudan Watch has another excellent collection of resources on the conflict, including links to a number of timelines that help explain the current situation.

Black Iris, a consistently excellent Jordanian blog, had a thought provoking post yesterday about Arab response (and lack of response) to the situation in Darfur. As Naseem points out, the fact that the Arab Summit was held last month in Sudan points to an unfortunate unwillingness of Arab nations to pressure the Khartoum government on the Darfur situation. Please give this important post a read.

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