Our Humanity In the Balance


January 26, 2010 · 6 Comments

One year ago a small group of friends with shared experiences in the most challenged pockets of the world began a discussion about the persistence of genocide and crimes against humanity, the inability of the world’s institutions to prevent or stop them, the unwillingness of our leaders to intervene and what, if anything, could be done differently.  From that discussion emerged a way that bypasses governments and allows individuals to take responsibility for ending genocide.  The essential elements are sophisticated real-time technology, the individuals’ willingness to take measured risks, the aggressive use of media and the linking in innovative patterns of the various parties of refugees, rebels, Janjaweed (we call them J-Js), the Government of Sudan and its President Omar al-Bashir, the world audience and our volunteers.


Word spread and volunteers representing several countries, including Muslim countries, have found their way to us on their own by word of mouth.  Our small group has evolved into a larger group of individuals with the common goal of ending genocide as volunteers continue to come.  We are all different.  So much so that team member Maggie called us a group of ordinary mismatched individuals, which is how we describe ourselves now.  I would add that these individuals are also spirited and courageous.


Our strategy in its entirety is untested, risky and heavy with variables difficult to weigh, though portions of it have been applied successfully here and there sufficiently to encourage us.  We believe we are pursuing a sensible course given the lack of alternatives and growing more confident that success is possible.   More importantly, we recognize that the risk to ourselves is necessary, though we have tactics to mitigate that risk.


As our plans and preparations have advanced, we have become more committed.   The failure of international and governmental institutions to stop genocide sets our imperative to act in stark relief.  General Romeo Dallaire, the tireless commander of the UN Peacekeeping mission during the genocide in Rwanda, mentions “The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda” on the cover of his book about the experience.  To continue to rely on the UN and its member states rather than to take personal responsibility perpetuates that failure.  This band of spirited volunteers refuses to allow the failures of our leaders to define them.  They do not accept the status quo.  They do accept the responsibility for stopping genocide.  Whether they fail or make history they are determined to keep their humanity.
Terry Nickelson, Executive Director 


6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nathan // Feb 15, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    Close your eyes. Forget race. Forget nationality. Feel only what it is like to be hunted. To be abused. Now open your eyes and find that it is not your imagination, but reality.
    Such are the daily lives of many Darfuri and others who are subjected to genocide. We must do something. We cannot let this continue.
  • 2 Jon Zelle // Feb 20, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    Good job and I've work on spreading your site to my friends, clients and anyone else who will listen
  • 3 Marshall // Mar 5, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    The (exceptional) speaker series provided by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, provides many insights to be chewed over. For example, writer, journalist and professor, Mark Danner's interview, 'Looking back on the age of genocide,' starts with his explanation of the title of his book, 'Stripping Bare the Body.'-----
    "The title comes from something a former Haitian president told me. His name is Leslie Manigat, and he was briefly president after the fall of Duvalier in 1987. He said that looking at political violence-- or rather, political violence itself-- is like stripping bare the social body, the better to place the stethoscope so as to hear the true life beneath the skin. In other words, in times of crisis-- during revolutions, during coup d'etats, during civil wars or other forms of political conflict-- you see really what is at work in a society. What the social stresses are; who has power; who doesn't; who is trying to get power; where the power lies. To seize on the society at a time of great stress, of fear and conflict, is to really have a chance of understanding its underlying dynamics. -------
    Find such a place and you will be able to see things at their heart. You'll be able to see, as it were, the root of things.----" M Danner---
    I was born in 1945, and was so sure my generation would make a huge difference in keeping safe and making life easier for those least able to help themselves, because I believed it was our duty to do so.
    To study or read for an understanding of what is meant by the above quote isn't enough. My generation, though many have gone soft, is still made of sterner stuff and still has much to do. Indeed, it surely is time to get active because the occurrence of genocide and so many ongoing atrocities 'on our watch' is unacceptable. We cannot leave it for others to do on our behalf. We can at least find ways to support those, such as seen on this web page, who are preparing to give it their all. There are bound to be many practical ways of volunteering help and encouragement.
    Having read our way through this website, what are your comments, ideas, opinions and questions? That's a good way to start.
  • 4 Cowie // Mar 5, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    Yup, I read a comment made by Sarah Bloom of the Holocaust Centre which has given me food for thought---
    "Hate-and indifference to it - cannot be eradicated; it is knitted into our DNA. Our power over the haters is that empathy and courage too, are part of our DNA."
    Like you, I'm thinking of what I'll be leaving behind for our kids to sort out. This seems a good place to start becoming involved.
  • 5 dissidents // Jun 22, 2010 at 8:05 PM

    A military exercise, a shell from far away, and sent to check that the soldiers fell on farms, shells, TianZhongZheng stand you, your tears brimming with dark clothes break ground stealing star cabbage with shells are shot?
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