Rocio La Rosa
Recent Blog Posts
South Sudan and Sudan continue to fight for territory. The regime's target is now the people in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan. More than a 100,000 residents have fled to the south after violence erupted in the contested region of Abyei. The Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has denied international relief for the people, and government military forces continue to move south, encouraged by the lack of response from around the world.
Escalating the mass murders of the Nuba and Blue Nile population, the Sudanese regime has deployed bombers to the border regions. Reporters describe being on the ground when suddenly civilians scramble to find a hiding place whenever they hear planes. Thousands are living in caves, hoping that heavy boulders will provide shelter from the bombings. The wounded have to be driven to American hospitals, more than five hours away. Sudanese officials declare that the bombers have been sent to target rebel forces; however survivors and foreign reporters argue that civilians are being targeted. Along with eliminating natural resources, government military units have captured children and raided homes. They have also allegedly fired weapons into unarmed crowds and randomly rounded people up for execution.
Until yesterday, the name Joseph Kony wasn't on the radar of most Americans. But thanks to a video campaign from the non-profit organization Invisible Children that went viral yesterday, more Americans know about Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda who has is wanted by the International Criminal Court of conscripting child soldiers. But just as quickly as the video spread across Twitter and Facebook, so has the controversy.
Last night, I had the opportunity to attend an event sponsored by the University of California Washington Center that showed the video. This event was planned weeks before the video campaign went viral, and was made even more interesting by having a representative of Invisible Children available to answer questions about its campaign and the controversy swirling around it after the video was shown.
On February 13, Syria's Representative to the United Nations, Bashar Ja'afari, spoke at the U.N. General Assembly to emphasize the irrationality of international engagement with protestors in Syria. "We in Syria would not imagine sending soldiers to defend Occupy Wall Street protesters," argued Ja'afari. But can the analogy by Ja'afari be justified?
The Occupy Wall Street "people-powered" movement began September 17, 2011, months after the initial uprisings in Arab nations. This is not to say that Occupy lacked mass support because, as people have seen, thousands of people around the world demonstrated against corporations and in some cities continue to camp out in financial districts. The Occupiers are the 1% taking a stand, which is fundamentally similar to the Syrian opposition. Many Syrians are also taking a stand against random killings, tyranny, and civilian torture. So yes, the Occupy and Syrian movement have found ways to physically demonstrate their disapproval of each society. Both Occupy and the Syrian uprising reveal the strength of the masses in making the rest of the world aware of their movements and taking action.