Thou Shalt Not Be a Bystander

13 04 2008

Today, I’m going to STAND (Students Taking Action Now: Darfur) Canada’s “Day For Darfur” rally here in Toronto. It’s a yearly, and nationwide (perhaps international; I don’t know if there are events taking place in the U.S. or elsewhere) event. Essentially, it’s to raise awareness of the genocide in Darfur.

People have finally begun to take notice of what’s happening in Darfur. (To learn more, click here). But it’s not enough.

Over 400,000 people have died. 400,000. Do you have any idea how big a number that is? That’s more than 100 September 11ths. That’s over 10,000 Virginia Tech massacres. I always found it sadly ironic that North Americans were gripped by the media coverage after the shooting, when the same media turns a blind eye to genocide in other parts of the world. The people of Darfur are living inside their own Virginia Tech shooting, every day. Why aren’t more people speaking up?

I’m just one person, and part of me doubts that a bunch of us protesting at Nathan Phillips Square will do much. But it’s better than nothing. So I am going to go downtown, march, and scream my lungs out, along with a group of people doing the same, and hope the world hears us.

“‘Thou shall not be a victim. Thou shall not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shall not be a bystander.”

-Yehuda Bauer, Holocaust historian




4 responses

13 04 2008

hi, you know me =)

this might seem a little out of the blue, but i was just wondering if you practice judaism, heavily or at all. from that quote at the bottom, it seems you have learned a lot from and about the jewish struggle, and i guess i would like to know how much that has affected your socio-political activist persona.
does having a jewish background inspire you to stand up for basic human rights or does judaism have little to do with the fact that you have compassion for your fellow human?

13 04 2008

Hmm. Tough question. My family is Jewish, I don’t consider myself practicing at all, religion-wise. But I guess being a member of any opressed minority group (although I’ve been fortunate enough not to experience much anti-semitism in my life), gives someone that perspective. Also, learning about the holocaust a lot when I was younger also taught me really early on about human rights. But I consider myself a humanist more than anything.

Like I said, it’s complex.

13 04 2008

My school has a survivor of the genocide there coming to speak to us sometime soon. They’ve set up all kinds of displays and exhibits to try and raise awareness of what’s going on over there. Man’s ability to be so inhumane will never cease to amaze me. :\

16 04 2008

lindsay! this is brilliant – the part about the media failing to cover the “10,000 Virginia Techs” is an absolutely amazing analogy. kudos on this wonderful blog post!

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