So… I found myself in Washington DC just one day before the Save Darfur rally this last week — thousands of people gathered on the Mall, in between the Washington Monument and the Capitol, all together for the purpose of stopping the genocide that is taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan, a country in Africa. (To learn about this crisis, read this short article)

So, I thought I would attend. And I did. And I am very glad that I went.

It started well — believe it or not, I actually was recognized by three very nice girls as I was walking off the subway. “It sure is A NICE DAY, isn’t it?” one of them asked me, quoting “The Town That You Live In”. I didn’t get it at first, as I was on the phone trying to locate a friend who was there, but after my call they explained. This was a nice ego boost, and something that rarely happens, especially outside of California.

After eating some low-fat Ritz crackers with an overpriced bottle of water, I found a place to the right of the stage in some very nice shade. Almost everyone around me was there with one of many Jewish organizations. This was perplexing to me at first, considering the US population is not nearly as Jewish as this group was, but then I realized the reason that the Jewish community may be so attune to genocide is their own history with it as a people (i.e. The Holocaust). Still thought, I was really bummed to not see more Christian groups there. Where were the Christians, I thought?

I heard two people speak that day who were from groups considering themselves “Evangelicals”. The first of the two only said a prayer, which started something like this…

“Dear Heavenly Father, Spirit and Jesus Christ, Your only Son…” At which point a number of the Jews near me laughed and or scoffed and looked at each other. Later, another Evangelical would speak, somewhat making up for the first guy, but I noticed a lot of the Jews were not paying attention to him, significantly less than any other speaker. It makes sense to me, though, that it might NOT be a good idea to start off a prayer with JESUS in a group of poeple who are predominantly JEWISH. Seems a little insensitive to come to a rally that is DESIGNED to bring people of divergent faiths and philosophies together on something they all agree upon and to start off with the MAIN THING that separated your group from the predeominate group present. I don’t know what I mean to say with all this, only that I was disappointed, and maybe we can learn a lesson. Or maybe I will convert to Catholicism. =)

Anyway, the rally was very emotionally stirring. It was pretty amazing to be with so many people united for a good cause all in one place, and such an important place at that. I felt like I got to experience a little of what I missed not having grown up in the 60s — something for which I routinely experience intense longing. The only drawback really was that the rally wasn’t very IMFORMATIVE. It was a lot of sloganeering, chanting, emotional sitrring-up. Which is all GOOD, definitely, but I could have used more practical tools with which to work. This may be simply because it is hard to know what exactly to DO about the conflict, in terms at least of what the average citizen can do. There is a lot of really complicated politics, but the more people become concerned and show their concern, the more that would-be elected officials will work on this issue, to ensure that they in fact are elected.

So, be informed, stay informed. There is a weekly newsletter you can subscribe to at SaveDarfur.Org, and I would very much recommend that. I, for one, have slacked on my reading of those newsletters, and only HAPPENED to be D.C. during the rally, but now I am glad I was there, and it is encouraging me to keep up on this conflict more than I have been recently.

Feeling lucky and blessed,
Dan

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