BLOG POSTING from the Save Darfur Coalition
Reprinted by permission of Chuck Thies.

September 26, 2008

Posted by Chuck Thies

SDC at the presidential debate

As part of the Save Darfur Coalition’s efforts during this year’s elections, Darfuri refugee Daoud Hari and SDC’s Amjad Atallah were at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi on Wednesday and Thursday in advance of the Presidential Debate there.

Daoud and Amjad addressed a standing-room-only crowd of students and faculty, met with Darfur activists from Mississippi and sat down for interviews with local and international press.   

Students, faculty and reporters who attended the midday event, “Voices from Darfur” sponsored by the Croft International School, were gripped by Daoud’s eyewitness accounts of the crisis and his experience as a guide and translator for journalists covering Darfur. Daoud, who translated for New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof and was jailed in Sudan with National Geographic reporter Paul Salopek, reminded the packed room that without the leadership of the next US president, the people of Darfur have little hope for a peaceful future. Amjad, SDC’s Senior Director of International Policy and Advocacy, fielded questions from the audience and evoked the role of the United States in halting the genocide that ravaged the Balkans in the 1990’s.

It was clear that students and faculty wanted to be more involved in stopping the killing in Darfur. Many wanted to know how they could influence our government. Many more wondered why the US had not yet exerted effective leadership to unite the international community in stopping the genocide.

Some were not waiting for our advice. In Oxford, we met Anthony Hervey, an Ole Miss graduate known locally as “Colonel Reb.” Hervey, flying the state flag of Mississippi, staked out prime real-estate on the town square and engaged journalists and passers-by with his compelling message for Senators McCain and Obama.