Friday, August 29, 2008

comic relief

well sort of...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Indecision 2008

Why is the Democratic Convention being held in Denver, of all the places? Like always, the wise Jon Stewart put my curiosity to rest. As Stewart mentioned last night, Denver was chosen for two reasons, beer and elitism. (and people thought politics was complicated).

The Democrats believed, by holding the convention in a city that loves its booze they would be able to connect with the blue-collared constituents or in other words average-beer-drinking-'Homers'. The show resurrected several beer commercials of yore, including the famous wuzzzzzuuuup commercial, which surprisingly enough still makes me laugh. Moreover, Dems chose Denver to reaffirm their elitist status, it being a high altitude city et al :-). They had Brit John Oliver doing the elitism bit, further hitting home the message regarding the Democratic snootiness.

In other election news, folks, we might be headed to the polls this fall. Since our 'True North strong and free' didn't want to feel left out, Stephen Harper has said he would go against his word (big surprise there), and instead of next year, we are going to be voting this fall, to re-elect our makeup wearing prime minister. I think he chose the perfect timing, with the deadly Listeria outbreak in the country, any capable leader would only be preoccupied with re-electing himself, instead of showing more concern for the people who died.

I know I am not an American citizen (thank God for that :P), but our Canadian politics is just not as interesting as theirs. I have been following the Democratic primaries throughout this year, and I have to admit, I was a Clinton supporter, until her campaign got bitter and defensive. So, her last night's speech was very bittersweet for me. I think it was the best speech I have heard in a long time. She adamantly encouraged her "sisterhood of travelling pantsuits" to support Obama. She paid a tribute to Obama's policies, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden (Could his name Joe be anymore American!), and acknowledged the strong economic measures implemented by her husband's administration. She attacked McCain's bogus campaign and claims. Lets not forget he is the guy who fell asleep during a Senate meeting, and gets confused between Iran and Iraq. Hillary deserves kudos for paying homage to her former competitor and admitting her defeat so gracefully.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Quotes of the Day

Abdel Wahed Mohammed Al-Nur, a leader of the rebel Sudan Liberation Army, who said that at least 50 people were killed today in a Darfur refugee camp by Sudanese government troops:

"This really is a catastrophe. People are being killed while the world just watches."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Missing Journalists

A Canadian journalist, and her Australian colleague have been missing in Somalia. I hope they return home safely. As this article points out, foreign correspondents are usually kidnapped for ransom money, since Somalians are laden with extreme poverty and conflict.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lest we not forget

The Beijing Olympics came to an end today. A lot of importance was placed on these games, labelling them as China's coming out party. The Olympics did show a different face of China. We saw the emergence of a new China, a country that has wealth, modern architecture, and rich ancient culture. The opening ceremony alone showed that China led the West toward it's 20th century glory, and it is ready to takeover the reins again.

The games also saw the emergence of Michael Phelps, and Usain Bolt. The latter had the scientists wondering how fast can humans really run.

But in the midst of these games, the question regarding the Darfur Genocide remained unanswered. I know politics should be left out of the games, and it is not like the G8 countries are doing much for the genocide or about the human rights violations in Guantanamo. But, I also believe that since China opened its doors for the rest of the world, China could have been more willing to cave to the international pressure, to exercise its economic influence on the Sudanese government to bring an end to the genocide.
One Olympian who I immensely respect, more than Phelps or Bolt, is ex-speed-skater Joey Cheek. After his Gold victory at the Turin Winter Olympics, instead of gushing over the Gold, he used his 15 minutes of fame to talk about the Darfur Genocide. He donated his victory money to provide food and shelter to the displaced Darfurians in Chad. Cheek was planning to go to Beijing to speak for the voiceless, nameless Darfurians, but his visa was revoked by the Chinese authorities. However, he decided to turn this negative situation into a positive and decided to speak up against the Genocide from America.

The reason I am writing this post now is because I don't know if Darfurians would ever get a platform where their problems would be addressed, and finally be solved after four brutal years of killing and physical violation of women.

i heart Jason Mraz

I wanted to put up more of Jason Mraz's songs here, but I realize that I get too happy with the embedding function. So here is a list of his songs that I absolutely, utterly, madly, deeply love (not that you care, but you should).

Geek in the Pink - "Hey baby, look at me go from zero to hero…I'm geek in the pink, yo!" :-)
Wordplay - la la la la
The Remedy - "I say tragedy is how you're gonna spend the rest of your nights with the light on."
You and I Both - "the telephone works both ways."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Smart Spending

I have been a fan of the Body Shop since my teenage years. Their stores always smell nice and fresh, and the products have no animal products, they are all made from fruits and/or vegetables. Moreover, the company has a strict policy against animal testing, and supports community trade. They purchase natural products from disadvantaged communities throughout the world, especially Africa. This way they are able to empower these often neglected people, who can hopefully use the money toward better education and disease prevention.

The Body Shop also has a campaign to stop violence against women, called Break the Silence on Domestic Violence. As majority of the abuse against women is committed by someone they know, a family member or a partner, these women often feel obliged to keep their silence, and not share their sorrow with their friends.

The money from the purchase of these stick lip balms goes towards rescue shelters for both abused women and children. It is a known fact that 1 in 3 women has suffered violence in one form or the other, but only a few actually speak up. This fact says more about our system and less about the women. I believe that if women were provided with better support systems or shelter homes they wouldn't be forced to stick out an abusive relationship. Their children wouldn't have to grow up around screaming and physical pounding.

So by buying these "For me, For You" lip balms, you are reminding your friends that no matter what, you are there for them. After all, nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Can't seem to get enough of this song. It's very folksy, reminds me of Feist's 'I Feel it All'.

It's in you to give

I remember, a few years ago, at Sick Kids I had a little girl going through radiation to remove her stem cells, so she could receive a new set from her donor.

Sadly, it is very hard for patients of ethnic minorities to find a stem cell match, due to the lack of donors from their ethnic background. I think nobody should be left to die just because he/she was not able to find a match. If anyone is interested in donating their stem cells, please sign up with Canadian Blood Services. More information regarding the medical procedure can also be found on the website.

I know the medical procedure involves a surgery, but this is something one can surely do for another human being. Maybe one day I would need a bone marrow transplant, and it would really be emotionally taxing for my family to see me suffer or die, because the doctors were not able to find me a match. I know, my altruistic instincts are very selfish :-).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Free Credit Check

Monday, August 18, 2008

Quotes of the Day

Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore's Prime Minister, in an Aug. 17 speech calling on the city-state's women to marry young and have more children to encourage population growth:
"If you wait for a career to be successful, you may miss the best ideal age for child bearing."
*Since when did South Asian aunties start writing speeches for the Singaporean Prime Minister?!

Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of State, on a promise by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to start withdrawing troops from Georgia:
"This time I hope he means it."
*He's just not that into you, Condie. Give it up, already!

Parvez Musharraf, President of Pakistan, announcing that he will resign to avoid an impeachment:

"I hope the nation and the people will forgive my mistakes."
*What mistakes? You didn't make any mistakes. You just had the best interests at heart, when you fired the Chief Justice last year, and prolonged your own rule. The only mistake you are guilty of is not getting your roots touched up. Seriously, of all the foreign investments you claimed to have brought to Pakistan, your government couldn't ask Clairol to do business with you. Now that's what we call a serious blunder, Musharraf.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Let them eat cake

In my previous post, I included a statement made by the Pakistani Prime Minister, and my own reaction to what he failed to acknowledge on the day of the country's independence.

The victory is not in having democracy, the happiness of Pakistani people lies in economic stability. A common Pakistani earning 350 rupees (5 Canadian dollars) per day does not care who the President or Prime Minister of the country is. Pakistan is going through a major food crisis and the government does not care.

Most of the news coverage regarding Pakistan is dedicated to terrorism, and the government's failure to secure the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. So, I was really disappointed/shocked/ashamed to learn about the fact that the Pakistani parents are putting up their children for sale, so at least their children can have a proper meal at the end of the day. I saw a mother holding her child in one arm, and holding a placard saying "Child for Sale" in English, on the Pakistani news channel Geo. My uncle, whose house I was watching the news at, told me that the night before they showed a grown man begging people to buy him, so his family can use the money to feed themselves.

After coming home, I turned to the good old Google, so I could educate myself about the crisis and find out what is being done to stop this inhumane trading of lives. To my dismay, there wasn't much information available about the plight where children are being sold or even killed by their own desperate hungry parents. Maybe the foreign media is not allowed to cover the news about Pakistani children dying of hunger because of the government's censoring. The Bush administration alone has given Pakistan more than $10 billion in foreign aid. So if the rest of the world were to find out about the food crisis in Pakistan, maybe they would be prompted to question the Pakistani government's spending of that extraordinary amount.

I found two news clippings about two Pakistani women. First one, Bushra from Lahore committed suicide along with her two children. Her husband only made 3000 rupees (43 CAD) per month, which was clearly not enough to feed her 5 year old son Zubair, and 3 year old daughter Saima. The second woman, Zareena was found selling her 10 year old son Rehan, and 8 year old daughter Arooj Fatima at a Lahore city center. She was forced to stop and move because she was giving the authorities a bad name, for not looking after their constituents.

In Karachi, Pakistan's largest city and economic center, the price of food is so high that people cannot even afford to have a single meal worth 30 rupees or 43 cents. Human rights activist and social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi has set up a food camp, in Karachi, outside the mausoleum of Pakistan's founder Jinnah, to feed the poor. Edhi who does not accept donations from the government or religious organizations begs for the money during the day, encouraging the regular citizens to do their part during the crisis. He said, "It is very strange that [the rich people in Pakistan] spend billions and trillions on luxuries…when all the while there are people starving outside their gates. We should give more charity." He has set up 325 free food centres in Pakistan, and has estimated that 1 billion rupees (approximately 13.8 million CAD) is required to feed the poor across the country.

Edhi stated, "The signs are already there. Increased number of suicides due to poverty, unemployment and despair, lawlessness, people killing their own children as they cannot feed them. I am not exaggerating." And he is really not exaggerating or dramatizing the situation in Pakistan. The United Nations has announced that Pakistan is one of the 16 countries which are in dire need of our support. According to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) about 500 children die every day in Pakistan.

The global food crisis reminds me of the British 19th century economist Thomas Malthus. Malthus believed that human populations, which grow geometrically, will inevitably outpace food production, which grows arithmetically, resulting in malnutrition and famine. I know his theory does not really hold well with our technological development, and availability of mass land, including the slums in Mumbai, and the melting North Pole. But, is the Pakistani government's callousness their way of wiping out the poor so they don't even have to pretend to do something about them? So come the next elections they can save on the money which they would have otherwise paid their staff to write them speeches full of empty promises?

I have no expectations from the Pakistani government or the politics. But I believe in the goodness of ordinary individuals. Pakistan is a country of contrasts, where the rich are very rich, and the poor are very poor. I think it is our responsibility to do something regarding the poverty and the food crisis. I know it is an overused cliché but every little bit matters.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Quotes of the Day

Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistani Prime Minister, calling for President Musharraf to resign
"The era of repression is over forever. Dictatorship has become a tale of the past."
*But if you can't handle the change too well, don't worry the ubiquity of poverty still prevails. Booya!

Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Secretary of State, on the conflict between Russia and Georgia:
"This is not 1968 and the invasion of Czechslovakia, where Russia can invade its neighbour, occupy a capital, overthrow a government and get away with it. Things have changed."
*Newsflash Russia things have changed. This is the 21st century and only the US gets to do all the invading. Seriously, too little too late, Russia.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Live Art at Denny's

My friend Sus and I spent the auspicious 08/08/08 creating this masterpiece of art. The background score was provided by Sus.

"I'm so lonely, I'm Mr. Lonely. I have nobody to call my own."

Okay, not so lonely after all.


We wanted our Mr. Not-so-lonely-after-all to be British - hence the snootiness is shown with the big nose.

Didn't want our forks to feel left out. And this is the dessert we wanted to have but had already stuffed our stomachs with onion rings veggie burgers.

Doctor Approved

In Canada, you are not expected to endure the summer heat without Timmy's Iced Cap. Yes, we love our Tim Horton's so much we even have nicknames for it. Tim's being the other one; hey, we never claimed to be creative. There is a big Tim Horton's at the Pearson Airport. When you drive back from Buffalo, it is the Tim Horton's sign that welcomes you back to The True North strong and free - Canada.

So is coffee really good for us? There are a lot of myths associated with Java Joe. For instance, there is a false claim that coffee is diuretic. Similarly, heart patients are advised to avoid coffee, even though, a recent study conducted at UCLA showed that women who have one to three cups of coffee daily are less likely to have cardiovascular diseases.

But here is a bummer, coffee reduces the absorption of calcium in our body. But caffeine's negative effect on calcium can be offset by two to three tablespoons of milk. Caffeine also increases weight gain, in the long haul. I think a lot of other factors are involved here, because most people do put a lot of sugar in their coffee. So I wonder if coffee would have the same effect on those of us who relish its bitterness and enjoy it without any sweet additives.

Psych is back...back again

(Yes, I am singing BSB - must go hide my face in disgrace).

I love Psych. I love the Shawn and Gus duo, reminds me of JD and Turk, from Scrubs, back when they actually used to be funny.

The show is about Shawn and his friend Gus who solve crimes together. Shawn has heightened observational skills, but he pretends to solve crimes using his psychic abilities. He works for the Santa Barbara Police as a Psychic Detective. Gus is a dorky pharmacist who interprets Shawn's "psychic visions" for us mere mortals.

Check out the clips from one of the episodes below. I love when Shawn says to his dad that "You have a dad crush on me." Also, when he says "Poker, I harldy know her." And, when he makes fun of Gus's online poker moniker. See, I was not kidding about loving the show.


Saturday, August 9, 2008


A couple of weeks ago, I was driving home and stopped at a red light. Bobbing my head to some random music playing on the radio, I turned my head to the right. I saw the guy in the car hitting the girl sitting in the passenger seat. I started to shake, then I saw the girl hit him back. The traffic light turned green, and the black car on my right raced away. I noted down their license plate number, and began to follow them, so I could inform the cops about their whereabouts. I saw them going on the highway. I called the police, and I hope they saved the girl.

What I did was nothing profound. The point of me sharing this here is that this incident made me realize that the faces of violence change, but the cycle, the emotions, and the blows remain the same.

The sceptics say that in the modern world, where we have laws protecting us, these women have no excuse to stay in an abusive relationship. But, the men have made them feel unwanted. They have made them feel that they deserve the beatings, and nobody but them could love these women. They tell the victims that all they have to do is just try to keep their word, try to keep the man, the abuser, happy by looking after his needs, by listening to him. When the women see the bystanders minding their own business and not doing their part, they are further made to believe that they deserve the beatings. They further give up on themselves. They further try to appease their abusive partner, so they don’t give him an excuse to lose his temper again.

The thing with these abusive partners is that they are not always some drunk druggies with no money or proper education. They could be anybody. I knew of this guy who got the highest average in his high school and graduated from university with distinction. To his colleagues he was the perfect gentleman. But when his girlfriend told everyone about the brutalities she had to endure in their two year relationship nobody, including me, could believe her. But the girl had black eyes and scars to show for, which she had initially blamed on her clumsiness. She blamed her black eye to getting hit by a door. Her scars on the face to falling down on concrete. When she began to run out of stories, she requested the guy to hit her on her torso, because people were getting suspicious. She protected him during those two years because she loved him and she thought he loved her too. She was convinced that it was her fault that she was getting these beats. After all, if it wasn't her fault or if she did not deserve this, God would not be making her go through this torturous ordeal. The guy had hit her in the presence of his family but even they did not do much to stop the abuse. Their love for him did not change. So she was made to feel that she deserved this, so she continued to live this life. She stayed in the relationship until she realized that she could not take it anymore.

I guess the point I am trying to make here is that the next time you see someone getting abused do something about it. Do not approach the couple if you don't feel safe, but make sure you call the police.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ah, the silver lining

I saw in the news, Bush criticizing China on its human rights violations. I mean it's really refreshing to know that at least Bush can recognize injustice when he sees it. But, if the Chinese policies are so horrendous why did he decide to implement them in Guantanamo? If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Bush should really stop giving China mixed-signals.

I mean, we can shun the Olympics, and cry over the fact that the Olympics are being held in a Communist totalitarian state. I like to think, that the world just wanted a piece of Toronto, and is just upset at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for choosing Beijing over Toronto. Seriously, how could they over-look Toronto?! But, I guess they predicted the future, and the poor goons at the committee thought it would be more funny to have the Olympics in China. I mean we can't make fun of their booming economy, or their super fit athletes. So at least we can boost our egos, by laughing at their poor English.

I cannot predict the future like the IOC guys, but I think the Olympics will do China, and, consequently, the world some good. First of all, considering the way Pepsi and Coca Cola are fighting to control the Chinese market, the Western world will not be alone in their fight against obesity. Secondly, I think it will also help us shatter whatever ethnocentric views we have about the country. Thirdly, I think the IOC will realize that it committed an unforgivable sin, they should have picked Toronto. (Yes, I am still sulking).

World on Fire

This is one of my favourite music videos, and since I just discovered how to embed videos, I thought I would post it up here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"Save Darfur"


Sudan, since its independence in 1956, has been plagued with intensive civil war between the Arab oriented North, and Sub-Saharan South. The violence between the two regions was further escalated when the then President Jafar Numayri wanted to implement Islamic law in the country, in 1985.


In February 2003, fighting breaks out in the Western Sudan province of Darfur. The drought instigates tensions between the nomadic and farming populations. The following two groups are involved in the rebellion against the government, fighting against injustice and economic marginalization:

Sudan Liberation Army (SLA): comprised of nomadic Non-Muslim tribal Africans
Justice and Equality Movement (Jem): comprised of African Muslims

Even though, the above two rebel groups have different ethnic backgrounds, they are both fighting against the Sudanese militia, known as Janjaweed.

The government reacts by sending Janjaweeds to Darfur to put an end to the rebellions. The militia is ordered to burn the entire villages suspected of supporting the rebels. Rape is their weapon of choice.

The villagers try to flee to the neighbouring Chad where the UN has set up refugee camps.

Darfur: The United Nations & African Union

In July 2004, the talks between the UN and Sudanese government failed. The Sudanese government refused the help of UN forces. Their refusal to allow the UN forces on their soil can be attributed to three main reasons:

Sovereignty: The Sudanese government is afraid that the UN interference would be a threat to their sovereignty
Division: Their other concern is that the UN interference would divide the rival North and South into two different nations
Oil: They do not trust the United States' intentions. They are afraid that the United States will use Darfur as an excuse to control the booming Sudanese oil economy (Iraq, anyone?!)

So as a result, the Sudanese government has instead favoured the help of African Union (AU) peacekeeper forces. The UN forces have formed a coalition with the AU forces, but they are poorly trained, and have inadequate safety equipments. Moreover, the peacekeepers are usually targeted by the Janjaweeds, and their movement is strictly monitored by the government.

Darfur: The US & Arab World Failure

The United States hasn't done enough to force the Sudanese government to end the genocide. The US inadequacy can be attributed to two factors. Firstly, in 1998 when the US embassies were bombed in Tanzania and Kenya, the US government suspected that a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan was producing chemical weapons of mass-destruction. Consequently, the US attacked the plant in Sudan, which obviously didn't sit too well with the Sudanese people and government.

Moreover, as Nicholas Kristof (yes, him again) pointed out that the US, after the Iraq havoc, does not want to attack another "Arab" oil rich country.

But the US has amazing relations with other Arab nations, such as Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, so why does it not try to influence the Sudanese government through them? Or is it the United States' oil dependency that's stopping it from pestering Saudi Arabia and UAE?

These Arab countries are, however, donating money to build mosques in the region. What is the point of building these mosques when there are people who are dying of hunger, and inhumane violence? If not with money, they should at least use their Arab connection to influence the Sudanese government. Moreover, Kuwait and Malaysia have also invested money in the Sudanese oil companies, so they can also use their economic influence to negotiate with the Sudanese government regarding Darfur.

Darfur: China

Much is written about boycotting the upcoming Olympics because of China's close ties with the Sudanese government. Some have even referred to the Olympics as "Genocide Olympics." I personally disagree with this immense criticism of China. Firstly, by focusing on China we are evading the United States from its responsibilities. I mean, really, my congratulations go out to Bush for recognizing the mass-killings as a genocide. But recently the Congress cut down on its funding, when they were asked for $724 million in emergency funding for the African Union (AU)-UN peacekeeping mission. But, with two wars to worry about, and poor economy the US really cannot be blamed for its inability to do enough.

So the world has instead started using China as a scapegoat. The new emerging power has been criticized because of its "non-interference" policy. Sudan exports 2/3rds of its oil to China, so China can use it's economic hold in Sudan as a leverage to resolve the issue. China's "non-interference" is akin to a similar policy that the United States exercised in the post-WWI era. The United States' non-interference cost the Czechs their country, and the Allied Forces a significant amount of causalities in the early years of WWII. I think what China needs to realize is that as an emerging superpower and member of the UN Security Council it has some responsibilities to adhere to. The vulnerable Darfurians are really counting on these powerful leaders to step up and provide a voice to their struggles. But they seem more concerned about their financial benefits.

How can we help?

In the past 7-8 years, technology has advanced so much. The other day my friend and I were reminiscing about ICQ, and how it was not too long ago, when ICQ was the coolest thing, ever. Then just between high school and university, we saw Google becoming the primary search engine, the emergence of MSN messenger, Wikipedia, YouTube, iPod, and so on. Now I hear that kids are allowed to use laptops in high schools. While this advancement is impressive, but it is also really sad to think that there are people in this whole different continent who cannot afford basic necessities like food, proper shoes, clothing, and immediate medical help.
We are all part of a global community, and every single contribution we make counts.

In September 2007, Doctor Without Borders, which was working in West Darfur to provide immediate healthcare to women, was forced out of the region by the militia. The bombings, in March 2008, further made it impossible for the organization to return to their clinic. However, the organization is still present and providing healthcare in North and South Darfur. More information about their work can be found here, and donations can also be made online.

Genocide Intervention Network is also providing direct aid to Darfurians, and is also accepting donations. In addition, Christian and North American Muslim organizations are also doing their best to provide aid to Darfurian refugees in Chad.


If there is anything I have learned from my years at University of Toronto is that to always cite my sources :-). In addition to Nicholas Kristof's numerous bi-weekly NYT op-ed columns, following sources were used to learn about the Genocide.

Council on Foreign Relations
National Geographic, April 2008.
Not On Our Watch

"The crisis in Darfur is not simply an African problem it concerns the entire international community. Whatever name we give it, it imposes responsibilities on all of us. And we must rise to this challenge." - Kofi Annan

Friday, August 1, 2008

Why on our watch?

Looking back at 1994, when I was about 10 years old, I remember Clinton's inauguration ceremony from a year ago. I also remember the OJ Simpson car chase, heck I even remember the fatwa that was issued against Salman Rushdie in 1988. But, I do not remember learning about the killings of 800, 000 Tutsi people that happened in Rwanda, at the hand of Hutu militia.

In our schools we are taught about the Holocaust. Most of us have read one of the most inspiring books of all times, The Diary of Anne Frank. But why are we not made aware of the genocide that is still carrying on in our world? Who is benefitting from our blissful ignorance? Or do we think learning about the mass-killings is not going to benefit anyone, so why ruin our happy mood? Why waste the time to educate ourselves about the world issues when we really can't do much, after all we are not the policy-makers, the powerful world leaders?

I am as powerless as the rest of you, but more powerful than the people in Darfur. I apologize if this sounds cheesy but it is true. I think the least we can do is learn about the atrocities that have been going on in Darfur, 10 years after the Rwandan Genocide. After the Rwandan Genocide the world gathered and promised that never again, on our watch, we would let innocent men, women, and children die. But then why have 400, 000 people died in Darfur, on our watch? There are 4 million people who need our immediate attention.

I know Darfur is not the single most issue our world is faced with. As the NYT's Nicholas Kristof pointed out, the world leaders are faced with the responsibility of dealing with deadly epidemics, the oil crisis, the food crisis, the environment, terrorism, poverty, etc. - It is a long list. But as Nicholas Kristof's trips to Darfur have shown, that nowhere we have seen such inhumane acts of violence as in Darfur. Here, women are raped in front of their families. Mothers are tied around a tree, and beaten with their own babies, until the children are dead. A pregnant woman, he interviewed, volunteered to get herself raped so the virginity of her younger sister could remain protected.

When I learn about these killings, the example of Neanderthals comes to my mind. The Neanderthals were early humans who lived in Europe around 300, 000 years ago. They looked after the sick and elderly. This is probably a weak analogy, but if early Homo sapiens can muster up compassion, why are we not doing enough to care about these severe acts of violence and brutality?

In my next post, I will be writing about Darfur, hoping more people can be informed, so we can create more awareness and write to our local government officials about the urgency of the problem.

"Darfur, where the continuous spectacle of men, women, and children, driven from their homes by murder, rape, and burning of their villages, makes a mockery of our claim as an international community." - Kofi Annan September 19, 2006