Lest we sit idly by and sleep

One of my classes has been watching Hotel Rwanda as part of our global awareness curriculum.  It is powerfully moving but oh, so heartwrenching to watch. (Rated PG-13)

And yet, as I've pulled out some video from Paul Rusesabagina on youtube and see him talking about Darfur I feel that it is happening yet again.


In February 2008 we had two days and quite a few participated in the Many Voices for Darfur Project.  My good friend Elizabeth Helfant at MIDCS in St. Louis has her students working on a Sudan project from the video shot in Sudan by Karin Muller. (See their Ning and Wiki.)

Debatings and Ratings
So, as our mainstream media sits by and talks about whatever will get them eyeballs– (usually fearful scary stuff down the street sells more than in other parts of the world) — we sit by while over $250,000 people have died.

Every life is precious.  As my friend Elizabeth mourns the loss of a wonderful student, Andrew, today, she pens some of the most amazing words I've heard in a long time:

“Death has a strange way of teaching lessons. It has been almost 9 years since my husband who suffered from depression took his own life, failing to see the gifts and promise that he had in 4 beautiful children whose ages ranged from 4 months to 8 years. His was an unnecessary loss but still a loss to illness. His death taught me to value relationships and time and to know that life is precious- that it isn’t about things, it’s about appreciation, connection and beauty. His death taught me that you can survive anything and that it isn’t about life being fair.

I think that surviving anything might not include surviving the death of a child and my heart aches for Andrew’s parents. Andrew’s death expands the lesson to include living with courage and intensity. Andrew’s intensity to live life to the fullest is probably unparalleled.

Despite chemo and lung surgeries, he never asked for special circumstances and refused to compromise on life. Just last spring he was on campus and he was happy and engaged in life and none of us thought that he wouldn’t beat this. We thought he was smart enough to figure out the answer and cure himself if given enough time. I marvel at the courage it took to face death for 6 years while protecting all those around you from worry by being so strong.”

The greatest stories are about people who overcome.  Elizabeth Helfant is an overcomer and an amazing person whose energy and leadership should be emulated.  And now, she's doing more with things like the Sudan project.

But what can we do?
I cannot do everything but I can do what I can do.

I can blog.
I can teach.
I can wiki.
I can write and share with you.

We can also plan to have Many Voices for Darfur again this February – maybe we should move it to Valentine's Day?  It is the day for love — maybe we should show those who are experiencing the worst horrible

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