The Dartmouth Lawyers Association's Darfur crisis committee brought its campaign to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan to the College in a panel discussion Sunday afternoon, at which committee members presented a report they recently published and presented to Congress, the United Nations and the Bush administration.
The panel, which consisted of four Dartmouth alumni, provided audience members with copies of their report, entitled "Wind of Madness," which is intended to serve as a "call of action for the Congress and the president," according to Albert Moncure '69, chair of the DLA Darfur crisis committee.
Lydia Lazar '81 began the discussion with a detailed history of the current crisis. She highlighted the complexities of the conflict by describing the religious and ethnic differences in the Darfur region.
Members of the panel expressed concern over the lack of effectiveness of current actions taking place in Darfur. The panel pointed to the African Union mission in Sudan, where troop numbers fell short of plans.
"Of the 6,700 people [there], if you will, only 4,800 are soldiers," Lazar said.
Although both trade and financial sanctions have also been placed on Sudan, measures have been ineffective in alleviating the crisis in Darfur, Aaron Brooks '96 said, calling U.S. policy toward Sudan "wish washy" despite sanctions that have been imposed since 1977.
Fred Cowen '67 spoke of the contradictory policies of the government.
"The State Department granted a waiver to a U.S. public relations firm to enter into a $500,000-a-year contract with the government of Sudan," he said.
The panel also addressed current congressional efforts including the Darfur Genocide Act, which is currently up for debate. Members of the Darfur crisis committee lauded the government's recognition that events in Darfur constitute genocide.
"We are one of the few countries that have accepted this as a genocide and called this a genocide," Brooks said.
The panel offered recommendations to members of the audience, as it did in its report to the government.
"It's not enough to just supply money to provide food and medical care to the people of Sudan. There is a lot to be done and we all need to continue what we are doing right now," Cowen said.
The panelists called on students to write letters to their Congressmen and raise awareness of the current situation, alluding to the effect that college students had during the Vietnam War.
"What I'd like to see is for student groups like yours to spread throughout the U.S.," Cowen said.
The submitted report has yet to provoke overt response from Congress and the Bush administration. Moncure joked that Condoleezza Rice's report on the situation in Darfur, after her visit to the region, sounded a lot like the document he submitted to her.
"We have our recommendations. We don't have a crystal ball. We are trying to work this thing through," Moncure said.