"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
--Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl in his book, Man's Search for Meaning
This past year, you joined with thousands of activists from across the country and the world to help give the people of Darfur the security and means of survival that were callously ripped away from them by their own government.
As the year comes to a close and we reflect on our actions, consider the fact that we have not been "coming to the rescue" of powerless victims, but rather we have been ensuring that the world has heard the story of tenacious survivors.
In contemplating our goals for the next year, we should be guided by the stories of genocide's survivors. Although facing an unrelenting assault on their existence -- facilitated in part by a seemingly impotent international community -- the people of Darfur have shown us hope. They have shown us resilience in the face of overwhelming odds.
As illustrated in the above quote by Viktor Frankl, the survivors of genocide teach us to appreciate the power we all have to respond to the sometimes dismal realities of life with elevating and inspirational actions and attitudes.
To help us remember this power, GI-Net has created a calendar and a computer desktop background with photos of Darfurians overcoming the gravest of conditions -- and important dates in the work to end the genocide in Darfur, as well as anti-genocide anniversaries around the world. We invite you to download these for free, and we hope they will provide a source of inspiration for your work in the year ahead.
Our work is far from over. The international community must still live up to its responsibility to protect the people of Darfur. With your continued efforts, we can make 2007 the year in which peace returns to Darfur.
Here are three actions you can immediately take to help achieve this goal:
- Help get UN peacekeepers deployed now! Join our Sprint for Darfur campaign, an easy way to raise awareness in your community and funds for Darfur. Sprint for Darfur now includes a new letter to President Bush which we encourage you to send.
- Support civilian protection in Darfur and GI-Net's advocacy work: Make your tax-deductible donation to the Genocide Intervention Network that will fund our innovative civilian protection program and national advocacy work.
- Write your own story of activism. Columnist Nicholas Kristof has invited Darfur activists to use coverage of Darfur to create their own articles, essays or multimedia about the genocide -- the deadline is Jan. 10. Unfortunately, this feature is only available to New York Times TimesSelect subscribers. Kristof, however, is also a judge in the US Holocaust Memorial's student op-ed contest, along with Sen. Barack Obama. The deadline is March 1.
--Colin, Ivan and the rest of the GI-Net team
P.S. The Darfur activism "year in pictures" is still available on our website -- feel free to pass the images around or use them for your own Darfur events!