For years, many of us have read reports of the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, and wondered why world leaders have failed to step in. As many as 400,000 civilians have died1 and over 2 million have been driven from their homes,2 and yet the United States and other leading nations won’t call for UN intervention to stop the killing.

This week, we may have the best chance since the genocide began to capture national media attention and give our leaders a mandate to act. On Sunday, April 30th, tens of thousands of concerned Americans, organized by the Save Darfur coalition, will gather in Washington to demand a real multi-national peacekeeping force to protect civilians in Darfur and end the genocide—now.

To support this urgent call, we’re launching a “virtual march” to end the genocide in Darfur. We’ll announce the total number of virtual marchers and read some of your comments at the big rally in DC (with the national media looking on) and then we’ll deliver every signature to Congress and the President. We’re aiming to sign up 100,000 virtual marchers in time for the rally—can you help us get there?

You can join the virtual march against genocide by clicking here:

Experts agree this proposed intervention is a totally different story than in Iraq.3

  • A relatively small force, fully authorized by the United Nations, would protect civilians and stop sectarian violence—not create it.

  • Protecting rural villages from horseback raiders is far more feasible than occupying a city like Baghdad or Falluja.

  • Perhaps most importantly, the UN force would draw heavily on volunteer soldiers from southern Muslim countries, like Bangladesh and Pakistan—avoiding the problem of American troops fanning hatred and creating backlash.

Here’s some more background on the genocide:

In 2003, the Sudanese government launched a systematic campaign to massacre or drive out millions of Darfurians who happened to share the same ethnicity as a local rebel group.4 Since then, “Janjaweed” militias, armed and funded by the Sudanese government, have swept into thousands of rural farming villages with guns, machetes, and even helicopter gunships. They typically kill or rape anyone unable to flee, leaving every home and crop field burned to the ground.5

Responding to calls from thousands of MoveOn members and many other groups, Congress and the White House officially labeled the conflict a “genocide” in mid 2004.6 But nearly 2 years later, almost nothing has been done to actually stop the killing. The UN won’t act unless leading nations, especially the United States, step up and insist on it.

So why haven’t we?

As the Los Angeles Times reported, the Bush administration has been relying on the Sudanese government, who used to harbor Osama Bin Laden, for military intelligence—even sending a private jet to fly one of the primary architects of the genocide to Washington for secret meetings with the CIA.7 According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, the administration is concerned that holding these Sudanese officials accountable could “disrupt cooperation.”8 This is simply an unacceptable trade-off.

To change things around, we must show President Bush and Congress that there’s a real political reward for bold action—and a serious political cost for standing still. This week is our best chance yet to do just that: the DC rally will draw national media attention, and your names will be added to those the Save Darfur coalition has already collected in their “Million Voices for Darfur” campaign.

After our tragic failure to act in Rwanda, the world pledged never again to let a preventable genocide unfold before our eyes. The crisis in Darfur is the first great test of that pledge, and it’s time to act.

Please sign up as a “virtual marcher” today, and encourage your friends and family who are concerned about this issue to join you—we’ll all need to spread to reach 100,000 virtual marchers this week.

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