The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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It’s our time

“I wouldn’t stand by and watch. I would fight. I would make a difference. I would take action.”

Year after year I’ve heard these words spill with youthful conviction and certainty from the lips of my peers and even myself. When learning about the atrocities of the Holocaust or the injustices during the Civil Rights Movement, we are all inclined, and maybe even desperate, to believe that had we been there we’d have been one of the “good guys,” one of the brave men and women willing to risk everything for the sake of justice and equality. We all want to believe that somewhere inside of us is a Mahatma Gandhi or a Rosa Parks just waiting to rise to the occasion.

Yet here we are in the year 2007, shrugging our shoulders with our eyes closed and ears covered, silently standing by as more than 100 people die each day in Darfur due to genocide. “If we can’t see it, it isn’t happening,” appears to be the mantra of my seemingly apathetic generation.

That same generation that once swore that we’d never become the appallingly silent good people that Martin Luther King Jr. warned us about. Well here’s our chance to redeem our generation from the comfortable embrace of indifference that seems to envelop us so completely. Here’s our chance to make the difference, fight the fight, and take the action we’ve always sworn we would take.

In the past four years, since the U.S. government officially classified Darfur as a genocide, more than 400,000 men, women and children have been killed. Four hundred thousand human beings dead and less media coverage than Anna Nicole’s will. Today, organizations such as Save Darfur are working to bring this genocide into public view. However, you needn’t be head of a worldwide organization to make a substantial difference in the struggle to stop genocide; you don’t even need to be of voting age.

There are countless ways to make our voices heard. Sending letters and petitions to the United Nations, where the real power lies to stop genocide, is very easy and takes virtually no time at all. There are online petitions available on Web sites such as SaveDarfur.org and pre-written e-mails just waiting to be signed and sent to U.N. officials, President Bush, senators and representatives.

There are also numerous ongoing campaigns designed to bring attention to the genocide. One such campaign is the student-run 400,000 Faces. Four hundred thousand students have joined together via Facebook.com to represent the innocent lives lost in Darfur. The profile pictures of each member will be compiled to create an enormous photographic petition that will be sent to hundreds of people who have the power to make an impact on the decision to help the Darfurians. Furthermore, these petitions will be used as a centerpiece for more than 200 rallies taking place at high schools and colleges across the country in April and May of 2007. In addition, Amnesty International and Save Darfur provide innumerable opportunities for the concerned student to take part in the fight against genocide.

However, one of the most effective possible actions is unbelievably simple: Just spread the word. Informing and educating others on the situation in Darfur could quite possibly be the difference between a timely end to the genocide and a long, drawn-out conclusion.

The past has shown that some of the most powerful catalysts for change have been everyday students who simply care enough to try, to turn off the TV, close the book and do something. Now is our chance to become the people we’ve always believed ourselves to be.

There are so many ways for every single person to make a difference that not a single soul can, without guilt, stand by and watch any longer. It’s time for us to tell the U.N. to stop waiting. It’s time for each individual to stand up and speak out for each and every victim of the genocide in Darfur.

It’s time to live the way we’ve sworn we would. It’s time.

About the writer:

Lizzie Cochran is a junior at Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas. She is entering the Darfur Op-Ed contest put on by the Committee on Conscience with the U.S. Holocaust Museum. She can be reached at [email protected].

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