Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech & Darfur

Yesterday, more than 30 people were killed at point blank range for no reason. These innocent had done nothing to provoke this violence and the brutal massacre came as a surprise, prompting terror in neighbors and forcing young men and women to flee. I am not referring to the recent tragic events at Virginia Tech – I am talking about the village of Tiero in Eastern Chad.

Our nation is fixated on the grief, shock and terror of the senseless shooting at Virginia Tech, which has stolen the lives of 30 college students. In Tiero, more than 400 men, women and children were massacred simply for having the wrong color skin. This recent massacre in Chad, more than ten times as large as the massacre at Virginia Tech, is a result of the spreading violence from Sudan’s Darfur region into Chad.

This genocide in Darfur has been called the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” and over 300,000 people have been murdered over the last few years. More than 2.5 million have been forced to flee and are on the verge of starvation. The rainy season is approaching and major non-governmental organizations like OXFAM are expressing their deep concern that the rains will prevent delivering aid to these desperate millions.

We are rightly angered at the fate of the VaTech students and our whole nation is rocked with grief. Imagine this grief multiplied and spread out across an area the size of Texas. Imagine that the gunman responsible for the Tech murders was still on the loose and every two hours more people were slaughtered. The terror that we would feel and the demand for swift action would be next to none. And yet – we as Americans are content to let the terror and slaughter continue to our brothers and sisters in Darfur.

Over the next few weeks we will all ask questions about the tragedy at Virginia Tech and we will all search for some meaning. Perhaps the greatest testimony and honor we can give to the US college victims is to use this sad day to catapault the Western world into action to prevent more of these daily massacres in Darfur.

Today, my heart mourns for those in Blacksburg, VA, and in Tiero, Chad.