Sunday, October 9, 2005
Dimitri Vassilaros' column "Fast-food lunch money" (Oct. 3 and TribLIVE.com), which argued that the victims of genocide in Darfur should be given guns to defend themselves, focused much deserved attention on the innocent victims in Darfur. But it needlessly insulted their only protectors, the African Union (AU), as well as those Americans concerned enough to try to drum up support for additional U.S. action.
What these 2 million internally displaced persons (mainly women and children) need is a well-trained and equipped military force to protect them from the well-trained and barbaric Janjaweed militias.
The AU is the only international military force in Darfur capable of protecting civilians, as both U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick and NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Jones Jr. recently told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Deputy Secretary Zoellick and General Jones also agreed that increasing our support of the AU forces is the best way for the U.S. to stop the bloodshed.
Average Americans who want to help should therefore do exactly what the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition and others are doing: write letters, host events and do everything possible to press the White House and Congress to do their part to end the genocide and protect innocent civilians.
The writer is a spokesman for the Save Darfur Coalition (savedarfur.org), which is composed of 134 humanitarian, faith-based and advocacy organizations united in their belief that genocide anywhere must be addressed by people everywhere.