Hope for Darfur

The death toll for the genocide in Darfur is thought to be over 200,000. We have sat idle and watched (or not watched as the case may be) while innocents are slaughtered. This week brings some reason for hope. Both the United Nations and the United States took significant steps yesterday to bring an end to the killing.

Internationally, the UN Security Council authorized a peacekeeping force of 26,000 to protect aid workers and civilians. Domestically, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 418-1 the Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007, which authorizes states and local governments to divest funds from companies that conduct business operations in Sudan, prohibits U.S. government contracts with companies fueling the genocide, and authorizes states to also prohibit contracts. (For the record the one naye vote was Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul from Texas.)

In related news, two weeks ago scientists announced the discovery of a giant (19,000 square mile) underground lake, which may contain the water that is so desperately needed in the drought stricken region.

"What most people don't really know is that the war, the instability, in Darfur is all based on the lack of water," said Farouk el-Baz, director of Boston University's Center for Remote Sensing. <...>

Widespread environmental problems are a root cause of Sudan's violence, the U.N. Development Program said in a report last month, noting that deserts had spread southwards by an average of 62 miles over the past four decades.

Many refugees from Darfur settled in regions that were once the domain of nomads, straining water resources and sowing conflict between farmers and nomads, said el-Baz.

"So now, if you find water for the farmers ... in addition to that for the nomads ... for agricultural production, to feed them, to give them grain, then you resolve the problem completely," he told Reuters in an interview.

http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSN1830279020070718

Let us pray that these recent changes will help bring peace to the people of Darfur.

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