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