(Host) The ongoing crisis in Darfur will be discussed at the University of Vermont tonight by a former New York City mayoral candidate and current President of the American Jewish World Service.
Ruth Messinger heads the relief organization trying to help the thousands of refugees who have been driven from their homeland by the violence in Darfur.
Messinger says Darfur is a 21st century human catastrophe that pops up in the media every once in a while, and then is just as quickly forgotten:
(Messinger) "So that a casual reader of the news would believe that each time there was an episode, but somehow then, the UN has intervened or the powers that be have taken care of it, whereas the fact of the matter is there’s continuing genocidal violence on the ground, everyday, more deaths, spread of malnutrition, lack of access to water, a terrifying situation for what the UN estimates to be 4 million people."
(Host) Messinger says there’s no doubt the Sudanese government is responsible for the tribal genocide and a campaign of ethnic cleansing:
(Messinger) "When you speak with refugees and I’ve done this now, three times in probably nine different camps, in Darfur and in Chad, what’s most chilling is that every story is essentially the same. They all begin "first the planes came and bombed my village." No there’s no tribe, or militia or posse that has airplanes."
(Host) Messinger says a lot of the weaponry used in the conflict is purchased by the Sudanese government from China, and she urges young people in the US to pressure their own government to put more pressure on China to stop selling those weapons.
And regarding the news that the man she lost to running for Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, had dropped out of the race for President, Messinger had this to say:
(Messinger) "Couldn’t have happened to a better man."
(Host) Messinger speaks on the Darfur crisis at UVM beginning at 6:00 p.m. this evening.
AP Photo/Adam Nadel