Random person: How's the weather?
Me: Sunny and warm, even though it's the middle of winter.
Random person: It's WINTER? What month is it?
So, I switched from Internet Explorer to Mozilla Firefox yesterday evening. madamadam seemed to love it, and then when I saw it recommended on lj_maintenance, I figured I might as well try it out. I miss a few things from IE, but all in all, Firefox is so much better. Faster, too. So yes, everyone, if you want a good web browser, Firefox is the way to go. I'm not a walking, talking advertisement for it yet, but it is definitely a viable and quality alternative to Micro$$$oft's IE. I'd switch to Linux, but I'm not that good with computers.
Anyway, at 2am today (midday, 30 June for those of you in the eastern American time zone), the LBMB went down for good after YTF was closed a few days previously. I had decided to stay up until the actual time and mark the occasion, but ... I didn't. I think I've finally begun to really let go. It's been a long time coming. Yes, I still miss the place, but I'm no longer ... I'm not quite sure what. LiveJournal's not an alternative, but I'm not sure I really want an alternative or a replacement. Really, it seems pathetic to still be thinking about and missing the place so much, a year on, but ... I am. It will always be there as one of those major things in my life.
Anyway. Onto more important matters now.
The nation of Sudan is rarely in the news. That's not because it's boring and nothing ever happens there, but simply because it's an unimportant nation that 'does not matter' to audiences. Mary-Kate Olsen's stupid inability to eat seems to be more important than most other things happening. She needs to go find a quality restaurant and the media need to teach the public to be concerned about serious and important matters. Sudan is a nation found in northeast Africa, south of Egypt and west of Ethiopia. It's roughly a quarter of the size of the US, and despite the fact it has been totally out of the news, some horrific events have been taking palce within its borders. These have finally made the pages of Time magazine, and I'll let a quote from the issue I received yesterday speak for itself;
"The rains have started to fall across the sandy plains of western Sudan. Soon the dry riverbeds will swell with water and the wadis will become impassable. The change in season may bring some respite from the killing campaign that has convulsed the region of Darfur over the past sixteen months - but it will bring fresh horrors as well. More than a million people seeking refuge and huddled in makeshift camps outside the largest towns are unable to get back to their farms to plant their crops. The rains will make it harder to distribute food rations. Delivery by road will become impossible, and airstrips may wash away. The camps are becoming open sewers, fueling the spread of diseases like cholera and dysentery. As many as half a million people could starve to death or succumb to illness."
The region has been ravaged by vicious ethnic cleansing since February 2003, when black Africans in the region rose up against perceived government discrimination. Time magazine records that "since then, government sponsored militiamen known as Janjaweed have conducted a campaign to cleanse the area of Darfur's black African civilians. The Janjaweed are Arabs; the Darfurians are non-Arab blacks. Both are Muslim." However, what I think is the greatest tragedy is this - "The UN and US do not call the pogroms genocide - in part because doing so could oblige the international community to intervene to save the Darfurians." Observers report that "they [the UN and US] were focused on countries like Iraq and did not realise the extent of the catastrophe taking place in Sudan."
Isn't it disgusting? If it's not happening in our backyard or in a country that matters economically to us, it's just not important. We won't declare the atrocities as genocide because then we would be obliged to HELP. It says a lot about human nature, where we will not call a spade a spade because we don't want to worry about the issue. If we don't have to help, we won't. We'll just keep walking down the road and leave the bloke on the other side to die. Haven't we learnt our lesson? Have we not learned from the tragedies of countries such as Rwanda and regions such as the Balkans? We let history repeat because we're too lazy to learn from it and too lazy to lend fellow human beings a hand. Just because they aren't right next door or just because their nation is a nothing on the world stage doesn't make them any less human and doesn't lower our responsibility to help them to the fullest possible extent. This ethnic cleansing could be stopped if it were declared to be genocide and a large-scale force sent to intervene and establish a stable peace. Will it happen? I hope so. Am I confident of it? Not at all.
I'll let Bono have the final say. This is from Bullet The Blue Sky, 12 August 1993, where he throws a fit at the end;
Outside it's America, Aaameeerriiiicaaah!
Where the fuck are you?
That's exactly what I want to know.