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UCCtruths

Every denomination needs one of these...

Tents of Inaction

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The United Church of Christ's Justice and Peace Action Network is promoting a campaign called "Tents of Hope" to raise awareness about the crisis in Sudan. From the Action Alert which is not yet available online:
To respond to this tremendous tragedy, the United Church of Christ asks you to consider joining an innovative new project called Tents of Hope. Through this project, your community, congregation or youth group will create an active learning experience using simulation refugee tents to raise awareness of the conflict in Sudan through education, advocacy and fundraising for humanitarian assistance.
If you've been living in a cave for the last 5 years, this might raise your awareness. For everyone else, it is a relatively meaningless event that will do nothing to resolve the crisis but it will allow middle-class Protestants to pretend they are doing something.

Adding insult to this meaningless event, the Action Alert offers this convoluted description of the crisis:
In seeking to defeat the rebel movements, the Government of Sudan increased arms and support to local militias, which have come to be known as the Janjaweed, composed mostly of Arabized African Muslims. The Janjaweed have wiped out entire villages, destroyed food and water supplies, and systematically murdered, tortured, and raped thousands of innocent people. These attacks occur with the direct support of the government's armed forces.

However, the conflict has always been more complex than how it is portrayed in the media, which has perpetuated the oversimplified perception that Arab militias (the so called Janjaweed) are slaying African farmers. The situation in Sudan becomes more desperate and chaotic with the proliferation of armed groups with regularly shifting allegiances. Some Janjaweed, reportedly unhappy that they have not been paid by Sudanese government militias, are now fighting their one-time allies; in some cases they are also reportedly now protecting villages they once destroyed.

The "so called Janjaweed"? Interesting, there isn't a single reference to the "so called" genocide in the action alert.

My biggest problem with the good intention of trying to do something about the crisis in Sudan is that we really aren't doing anything. The single most significant thing the we could do right now is to insist that a large, heavily armed international peace keeping force secure the Darfur region and supply aid until the conflict is settled. Our denominational leaders won't do that, however, because the idea flies in the face of what it means to be a "Just Peace church". So, we'll build tents and "just watch the genocide" instead.

Flashback: Read Dexter Van Zile's "UCC’s Prophetic Voice Silent on Sudan" from three years ago on UCCtruths.com
posted by UCCtruths, Tuesday, November 27, 2007

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