I remember going to visit "Mum" she was my surrogate grandma, when i was growing up. She lived in a cabin in the woods in PA, cooked amazing Pot pie, played a mean hand of Canasta and she loved Jesus with all her heart. She had a simple and deep, abiding faith, and i loved to go to her home and rest. Even as a teen, I was aware of the heaviness of life at times, and i always found it restful, simple at Mum's and that somehow life made sense.
She was always humming or singing old hymns and one of her favorite's was "I Surrender All." I think that I learned alot of theology, just hanging out with her, and this hymn way sacred to her, along with Everlasting Arms. As i grew and learned more of her life story, i understood why. The very fact that she could live surrendered to God, trusting and believing, not blindly, but Faith-filled and at rest, i admired and simutaneously could not grasp.
This past year has been one of ambivalence... of push-pull with a call to surrender and trust that has been like nails on a chalkboard to my "type A" personality. I modified Mum's song to "I Surrender Some" and was doing fine!, thank you very much...
Remember the cliche about "FINE" (feeling insecure, neurotic, & emotional) well, while i wasn't necessarily "fine" I was feeling Sick, tired and sick of being sick and tired... so obviously surrendering some, wasn't really working! lol
So, after a lengthy battle, i decided that G-d wins and i would reassess. Which translates to Rest--lots of rest and doctor visits, listening and yep, you guessed it... SURRENDER!
This meant saying "no, but thanks for asking, maybe at another time..." Alot...
Alot more than i did in the past, Alot more than i like to... and trusting that G-d would bring opporutnites back around another day, month... year...
It was during this season of Surrender that a dear friend said these words to me regarding faith: "Faith is not Believing that God Can, it is Knowing He Will."
These simple words rocked my world, as i thought about how much I Believe... and yet don't surrender and trust... because when it comes right down to it... i don't think i KNOW.
As i studied Scripture, i found many examples of Faith filled folks who Knew G-d Would...
and so i am camped there... learning to surrender....
This week there was a full page advertisment in front page section of The Washington Post that was one of the boldest moves I have seen to date. The picture was of the President of General Omar al-Bashir, who took power in a military coup in 1989, with a larger caption that stated, the Genocide will not stop until the world leaders deal with the leader of Sudan. (this is not a direct quote, as i no longer have the paper--feel free to send me the direct quote via email or comments!- the paper got recycled before i could snag it!)
The bold comment demonstrates how far the grass roots movement has come from when I first was introduced to it just 2 short years ago...when Save Darfur was promoting holding a Darfur Vigil and I first met the Lost boys of Sudan, who have profoundly impacted my life.
The next day, the Post ran an article about Sudan and China with this opening paragraph:
THE DARFUR crisis has demonstrated the limits of U.S. influence. President Bush and administration officials have described it as genocide and pushed intermittently for sanctions, peacekeeping deployments, and a deal between Sudan's government and its rebel opponents, but their efforts have been hampered by the hesitancy of other players. Sanctions resolutions in the U.N. Security Council have been delayed and diluted because Russia sells weapons to Sudan's government and because China has a large stake in Sudan's oil. Efforts to deploy a serious peacekeeping force have been undermined partly by foot-dragging within the Security Council, partly by the indifference of Sudan's Arab neighbors to the suffering of Darfur's Muslim victims and partly by the ambivalence of the African Union, which has veered between brave efforts to supply soldiers and a misplaced deference to Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. (read more)
When will we stop mixing human life, our most precious resource with political and ecomonic gain.
That was the problem with Jesus. He refused to do so... and so should we.
Do you ever get so busy and so consumed with what you are doing that you miss the why... that you stumble along the road and keep going, without looking left or right at the scenery, up or down at the wonder and splendor of the very act of living...
I do... I have... and now I muse as I re-read the tagline for this Sojourn site: places to rest & re-create... as i have done little of either recently.
I stopped blogging with Katrina, tried at times, but words stuck like sawdust in the gears of my mind and the screen remained blank. I even stopped writing for a bit, and felt the loss of my hands, my soul becoming parched and distant in the absent comfort of words...
no answers yet, but an itching to write, to say something...
Places to rest & re-create... require time, silence and purposed stillness. That is what i find myself in... housebound and bone tired due to continued health struggles that have resulted in a major asthma flare-up, tons of steriods and rest... and i wonder if it took all this to get my attention, that i had not been resting... and thus recreating had fallen by the wayside as well.
Don't get me wrong, life has been busy as the days have trundled by, filled with the daily-ness of life, peppered with the changes that accompany growing teenagers, launching college kids, and the demand of work. However, the getting by, getting through, is boring and i miss the creative moments of words and whimsy that comes with play.
Writing is play for me... therapy, sanity and intensely creative play. Thoughts tumbled about...working with and against each other to uncover the smooth seamless surface that reveals beauty. Writing either in my jornal or her onmy blog enables me to see what i think and feel with a clarity like no other medium, and as i read and reflect, i am reminded again of my love of wordsmithing.
Detours... often take us off the beaten track and we find hidden respites and treasures.. this has not been such a detour for me... it have been a long and weary trip through much wasteland, in which that i almost lost myself...and i am grateful to return to familiar soil and landscapes. However, it was not without a few redemptive moments as desert wandering often is...
in a few days the World Cup will end... and life will have to go back to some sort of regular and productive schedule... bummer
no more arranging my day around 9, 12 and 3 , then 10, and 3 and more recently 11 and 3 when my family would pile on the basement sofa and watch the world cup games live and in color on our huge 100 inch movie screen!!!
it has been wonderful... time stood still...
and we wagered and watched, reveled in a long time love affair with the beautiful game... so misunderstood and maligned by Americans... slowly growing in popularity around here, but a mainstay in our family for the past 12 years!
when the US did poorly we analyzed and offered our commentary... we have cheered on opposing teams, eating breakfast and lunch on the sofa, together...
raced in from work, just in time to make the games! and hunkered down together!
key word... TOGETHER!!!
another key word for my son and husband "100 inch screen" and i must admit it has been amazing! it is like being at a live game!
so if you are in the neighborhood, come by and watch France beat Portugal!!! (at least that is my hope... but Germany did lose today, much to my chagrin!!!)
I have been privileged to build a friendship with 5 remarkable young men, who are a testimony to the resilience of the human spirit, the reality of faith that moves mountains, and living proof of miracles. Angelo, James, Mac, Samuel and William have changed my life. They are each one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. This weekend, July 6-8, 2006 they will re-gather with many of their brothers to remember and to reconnect, and most importantly to forge ahead to rebuild their country... A country that rejected them, that slaughtered their parents, raped and killed their sisters, and sought to kill them as well... but these lost boys are linked to this land... their home of Southern Sudan, where they long to return and be part of the peace process and rebuilding, thereby shaping the possibilities of the future.
and i am privileged to sit among them...to listen and to learn, to be humbled and inspired... and then to do a little something to perchance make a difference!!
Overwhelmed with the horrors of genocide in Darfur, Sudan, my small efforts seem almost impossible, even inconsequential to make any difference... and i have heard this angst and lament from others, but i am convinced that if everyone did something, however small, the world would change.
someone hid Anne Frank, and her story has changed the world
someone was Schindler's first refugee, and many heard of his kindness and followed the path to freedom...
someone began the underground railroad that saved the first slave...
someone harbored the fugitive family from Bethlehem as they fled to Egypt ...
i may not be able to do much... i cannot save the world... honestly, i cannot "save" anyone... but i CAN do SOMETHING!
that is a relief.. that i am only called to "my something" and to do that work, follow that tug on my heart is my responsibility... nothing more, and certainly nothing less...
so... this weekend, my something has taken shape with the help of many other people following the tug of their "somethings" !!!
Lost Boys: Found!A Time of Reunion, Vision, Advocacy & Hope with the Lost Boys of Sudan July 6-8th @ George Mason University, Fairfax VA will feature Manute Bol, from the Dinka Tribe, of Southern Sudan, as well as the stories of numerous Lost Boys & Girls of Sudan. We will hear from Congressman Frank Wolf, and representatives from Save Darfur, Africa Action, USAID, and many others.
Looking forward to seeing you there!!! It will be a rich and meaningful time that you will not want to miss!
If you decide to attend, please email me, so that i can keep an eye out for you and introduce you to my Lost Boy friends!!
Join the rally in Washington, DC on April 30th, 2006, 2:00 - 4:30 PM.
The Rally to Stop Genocide will feature leading voices in the effort to stop the genocide in Darfur, including a broad spectrum of prominent faith leaders, political figures, human rights activists, celebrities, and survivors of genocide.
This is an important event, I am looking forward to attending with a group from my church and with two remarkable men, Angelo and Samuel, refugees, survivors... 2 of the lost boys of Sudan.
This rally is closely linked to the cause and plight of the Lost Boys of Sudan. For the past year, i have had the privilege of getting to know a few of these men personally and of working with them to aid in forming a National Organization for the Lost Boys of Sudan. We are currently planning a gathering in July 2006, for the purpose of reuniting many who have been resettled in the US and who long to return to their homeland to be part of the peace process and the rebuilding of Sudan. To learn more see: Lost Boys: Found A time of Reunion, visosn, Advocay & Hope for the Lost Boys of Sudan.
These "boys" are now grown men and they are victims of the lengthy Civil War in Southern Sudan, which contributed to the current crisis in Darfur, Sudan. There are numerous links and interweavings between the current genocide and the slaughter of the families of the lost boys many years ago. The complexities of the situation and how they relate to one another slowly unfolds as the lost boy share their stories... the images of their loved ones murdered before their eyes...memories of the 1000 mile, three month walk to safety, continual running and hiding from those who sought to kill them, some of the same people responsible for the current genocide in Darfur. And their deep grief over the death of their leader John Garang. Yet, in spite of the stark reality of their history, these men want to return to their country and be part of the process of ending the genocide, of assuring that the peace is upheld and of restoring and rebuilding their homeland.
There is much to be done! And no one person can do it all, but we can each do SOMETHING! We live in a time when Genocide is occuring...On Our Watch and with our knowledge... and we are responsible to do something... to raise our voices in opposition to the ongoing crisis, that continues on a daily basis even with the full knowlegde of the UN, the United States government, and more importantly, the people of the world. We cannot turn our backs, we must do something...
The Stations, or Way of the Cross, is an ancient method of meditating upon Christ's Suffering and Death. Trace the path of Jesus from His condemnation to His body being laid in a tomb. Bring your senses, and most of all your heart, and walk the Way of the Cross. Take time to read, reflect, pray, and/or sing. Reflect on what Jesus' journey to the cross means for you, for all.
The way of the cross… rarely do we want to think about this.The surrendered way, the way of laying down my life... I’d rather live in the “way of the resurrection,” the joy that comes after the weeping.
Yet, this week we pause, to remember, and to contemplate, the final steps of Jesus, way of the cross.This week we are invited to the Stations of the Cross, to meditate on the Passion of Christ, stopping to meditate, to actually slow down and think about his movements from being condemned to being laid in the tomb. We are tasked with traveling the Via Dolorosa, to walk with Jesus the road to Golgotha, the way of the cross...
We are invited to pause and mediate on those final steps of surrender and love.
I am participating in a Grid blog, at http://thecorner.typepad.com/via_crucis_2006/ where multiple people will be blogging on the various stations of the cross and linking to their blogs and other blogs.This is a great idea, and a way for us to encounterthe way of the cross from a myriad of angles.Please peruse the many posts and be sure to visit on of my favorite bloggers:http://www.bestandworst.typepad.com/
Station 8:Jesus falls again…
The humanity of Jesus is profound and glaring, as the Son of G-d, the performer of miracles, the One who walked on water, healed the blind, make the lame walk… stumbles and falls.. Bloody and beaten, he moves victoriously toward his death.A death that is unjust, sacrificial and purposeful…the ultimate sacrifice.
It is in these moments that Christ is the most real to me, in the moments that reveal his human frailty and highlight his chosen, deliberate, and continued surrender.When burdens weigh so heavy and weariness overcomes such that jesus falls for the second (or third) time.And it is in these moments that I am confronted with my own stubborn human heart that doesn’t not want to stumble, fall, become bloodied in a sacrificial manner for the benefit of another, out of love for another, in the process of laying down my life, my reputation, my image…my anything… knowingly, purposefully, willingly and willfully…
This humanity of Jesus is compelling.I want to bundle all that the cross required of Jesus into his deity and thereby render such a sacrifice out of my reach, beyond any ability of mine, even with the indwelling Holy Spirit.But the way o the cross is filled with human moments, bringing into full relief the humanity of Jesus’ sacrifice and the willingness to surrender to the Father all that is within the human will and lay it down, willing to die to self for the sake of another…and I am haunted by the call to walk in these footsteps as well…in all my frail and fearful humanity.
Bono's best sermon yet: Remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast
If you're wondering what I'm doing here, at a prayer breakfast, well, so am I. I'm certainly not here as a man of the cloth, unless that cloth is leather. It's certainly not because I'm a rock star. Which leaves one possible explanation: I'm here because I've got a messianic complex.
Yes, it's true. And for anyone who knows me, it's hardly a revelation.
Well, I'm the first to admit that there's something unnatural...something unseemly...about rock stars mounting the pulpit and preaching at presidents, and then disappearing to their villas in the south of France. Talk about a fish out of water. It was weird enough when Jesse Helms showed up at a U2 concert...but this is really weird, isn't it?
You know, one of the things I love about this country is its separation of church and state. Although I have to say: in inviting me here, both church and state have been separated from something else completely: their mind.
Mr. President, are you sure about this?
It's very humbling and I will try to keep my homily brief. But be warned - I'm Irish.
I'd like to talk about the laws of man, here in this city where those laws are written. And I'd like to talk about higher laws. It would be great to assume that the one serves the other; that the laws of man serve these higher laws...but of course, they don't always. And I presume that, in a sense, is why you're here.
I presume the reason for this gathering is that all of us here - Muslims, Jews, Christians - all are searching our souls for how to better serve our family, our community, our nation, our God.
I know I am. Searching, I mean. And that, I suppose, is what led me here, too.
Yes, it's odd, having a rock star here - but maybe it's odder for me than for you. You see, I avoided religious people most of my life. Maybe it had something to do with having a father who was Protestant and a mother who was Catholic in a country where the line between the two was, quite literally, a battle line. Where the line between church and state was...well, a little blurry, and hard to see.
I remember how my mother would bring us to chapel on Sundays... and my father used to wait outside. One of the things that I picked up from my father and my mother was the sense that religion often gets in the way of God.
For me, at least, it got in the way. Seeing what religious people, in the name of God, did to my native land...and in this country, seeing God's second-hand car salesmen on the cable TV channels, offering indulgences for cash...in fact, all over the world, seeing the self-righteousness roll down like a mighty stream from certain corners of the religious establishment...
I must confess, I changed the channel. I wanted my MTV.
Even though I was a believer.
Perhaps because I was a believer.
I was cynical...not about God, but about God's politics. (There you are, Jim.)
Then, in 1997, a couple of eccentric, septuagenarian British Christians went and ruined my shtick - my reproachfulness. They did it by describing the millennium, the year 2000, as a Jubilee year, as an opportunity to cancel the chronic debts of the world's poorest people. They had the audacity to renew the Lord's call - and were joined by Pope John Paul II, who, from an Irish half-Catholic's point of view, may have had a more direct line to the Almighty.
'Jubilee' - why 'Jubilee'?
What was this year of Jubilee, this year of our Lord's favor?
I'd always read the scriptures, even the obscure stuff. There it was in Leviticus (25:35)...
'If your brother becomes poor,' the scriptures say, 'and cannot maintain himself...you shall maintain him.... You shall not lend him your money at interest, not give him your food for profit.'
It is such an important idea, Jubilee, that Jesus begins his ministry with this. Jesus is a young man, he's met with the rabbis, impressed everyone, people are talking. The elders say, he's a clever guy, this Jesus, but he hasn't done much...yet. He hasn't spoken in public before...
When he does, is first words are from Isaiah: 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,' he says, 'because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.' And Jesus proclaims the year of the Lord's favour, the year of Jubilee (Luke 4:18).
What he was really talking about was an era of grace - and we're still in it.
So fast-forward 2,000 years. That same thought, grace, was made incarnate - in a movement of all kinds of people. It wasn't a bless-me club... it wasn't a holy huddle. These religious guys were willing to get out in the streets, get their boots dirty, wave the placards, follow their convictions with actions...making it really hard for people like me to keep their distance. It was amazing. I almost started to like these church people.
But then my cynicism got another helping hand.
It was what Colin Powell, a five-star general, called the greatest W.M.D. of them all: a tiny little virus called AIDS. And the religious community, in large part, missed it. The ones that didn't miss it could only see it as divine retribution for bad behaviour. Even on children...even [though the] fastest growing group of HIV infections were married, faithful women.
Aha, there they go again! I thought to myself judgmentalism is back!
But in truth, I was wrong again. The church was slow but the church got busy on this the leprosy of our age.
Love was on the move.
Mercy was on the move.
God was on the move.
Moving people of all kinds to work with others they had never met, never would have cared to meet...conservative church groups hanging out with spokesmen for the gay community, all singing off the same hymn sheet on AIDS...soccer moms and quarterbacks...hip-hop stars and country stars. This is what happens when God gets on the move: crazy stuff happens!
Popes were seen wearing sunglasses!
Jesse Helms was seen with a ghetto blaster!
Crazy stuff. Evidence of the spirit.
It was breathtaking. Literally. It stopped the world in its tracks.
When churches started demonstrating on debt, governments listened - and acted. When churches starting organising, petitioning, and even - that most unholy of acts today, God forbid, lobbying...on AIDS and global health, governments listened - and acted.
I'm here today in all humility to say: you changed minds; you changed policy; you changed the world.
Look, whatever thoughts you have about God, who He is or if He exists, most will agree that if there is a God, He has a special place for the poor. In fact, the poor are where God lives.
Check Judaism. Check Islam. Check pretty much anyone.
I mean, God may well be with us in our mansions on the hill. I hope so. He may well be with us as in all manner of controversial stuff. Maybe, maybe not. But the one thing we can all agree, all faiths and ideologies, is that God is with the vulnerable and poor.
God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them. "If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom with become like midday and the Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your desire in scorched places."
It's not a coincidence that in the scriptures, poverty is mentioned more than 2,100 times. It's not an accident. That's a lot of air time, 2,100 mentions. (You know, the only time Christ is judgmental is on the subject of the poor.) 'As you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me' (Matthew 25:40). As I say, good news to the poor.
Here's some good news for the president. After 9/11 we were told America would have no time for the world's poor. America would be taken up with its own problems of safety. And it's true these are dangerous times, but America has not drawn the blinds and double-locked the doors.
In fact, you have doubled aid to Africa. You have tripled funding for global health. Mr. President, your emergency plan for AIDS relief and support for the Global Fund - you and Congress - have put 700,000 people onto life-saving anti-retroviral drugs and provided 8 million bed nets to protect children from malaria.
Outstanding human achievements. Counterintuitive. Historic. Be very, very proud.
But here's the bad news. From charity to justice, the good news is yet to come. There is much more to do. There's a gigantic chasm between the scale of the emergency and the scale of the response.
And finally, it's not about charity after all, is it? It's about justice.
Let me repeat that: It's not about charity, it's about justice.
And that's too bad.
Because you're good at charity. Americans, like the Irish, are good at it. We like to give, and we give a lot, even those who can't afford it.
But justice is a higher standard. Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice; it makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks our pieties, it doubts our concern, it questions our commitment.
Sixty-five hundred Africans are still dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease, for lack of drugs we can buy at any drug store. This is not about charity, this is about justice and equality.
Because there's no way we can look at what's happening in Africa and, if we're honest, conclude that deep down, we really accept that Africans are equal to us. Anywhere else in the world, we wouldn't accept it. Look at what happened in South East Asia with the tsunami. 150,000 lives lost to that misnomer of all misnomers, "mother nature." In Africa, 150,000 lives are lost every month. A tsunami every month. And it's a completely avoidable catastrophe.
It's annoying but justice and equality are mates. Aren't they? Justice always wants to hang out with equality. And equality is a real pain.
You know, think of those Jewish sheep-herders going to meet the Pharaoh, mud on their shoes, and the Pharaoh says, "Equal?" A preposterous idea: rich and poor are equal? And they say, "Yeah, 'equal,' that's what it says here in this book. We're all made in the image of God."
And eventually the Pharaoh says, "OK, I can accept that. I can accept the Jews - but not the blacks."
"Not the women. Not the gays. Not the Irish. No way, man."
So on we go with our journey of equality.
On we go in the pursuit of justice.
We hear that call in the ONE Campaign, a growing movement of more than 2 million Americans...Left and Right together... united in the belief that where you live should no longer determine whether you live.
We hear that call even more powerfully today, as we mourn the loss of Coretta Scott King - mother of a movement for equality, one that changed the world but is only just getting started. These issues are as alive as they ever were; they just change shape and cross the seas.
Preventing the poorest of the poor from selling their products while we sing the virtues of the free market...that's a justice issue. Holding children to ransom for the debts of their grandparents...that's a justice issue. Withholding life-saving medicines out of deference to the Office of Patents...that's a justice issue.
And while the law is what we say it is, God is not silent on the subject.
That's why I say there's the law of the land¿. And then there is a higher standard. There's the law of the land, and we can hire experts to write them so they benefit us, so the laws say it's OK to protect our agriculture but it's not OK for African farmers to do the same, to earn a living?
As the laws of man are written, that's what they say.
God will not accept that.
Mine won't, at least. Will yours?
I close this morning on...very...thin...ice.
This is a dangerous idea I've put on the table: my God vs. your God, their God vs. our God...vs. no God. It is very easy, in these times, to see religion as a force for division rather than unity.
And this is a town - Washington - that knows something of division.
But the reason I am here, and the reason I keep coming back to Washington, is because this is a town that is proving it can come together on behalf of what the scriptures call the least of these.
This is not a Republican idea. It is not a Democratic idea. It is not even, with all due respect, an American idea. Nor it is unique to any one faith.
'Do to others as you would have them do to you' (Luke 6:30). Jesus says that.
'Righteousness is this: that one should...give away wealth out of love for him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for the emancipation of the captives.' The Koran says that ( 2.177).
Thus sayeth the Lord: 'Bring the homeless poor into the house, when you see the naked, cover him, then your light will break out like the dawn and your recovery will speedily spring fourth, then your Lord will be your rear guard.' The Jewish scripture says that. Isaiah 58 again.
That is a powerful incentive: 'The Lord will watch your back.' Sounds like a good deal to me, right now.
A number of years ago, I met a wise man who changed my life. In countless ways, large and small, I was always seeking the Lord's blessing. I was saying, you know, I have a new song, look after it. I have a family, please look after them. I have this crazy idea...
And this wise man said: stop.
He said, stop asking God to bless what you're doing.
Get involved in what God is doing - because it's already blessed.
Well, God, as I said, is with the poor. That, I believe, is what God is doing.
And that is what he's calling us to do.
I was amazed when I first got to this country and I learned how much some churchgoers tithe. Up to 10% of the family budget. Well, how does that compare with the federal budget, the budget for the entire American family? How much of that goes to the poorest people in the world? Less than 1%.
Mr. President, Congress, people of faith, people of America:
I want to suggest to you today that you see the flow of effective foreign assistance as tithing.... Which, to be truly meaningful, will mean an additional 1% of the federal budget tithed to the poor.
What is 1%?
1% is not merely a number on a balance sheet.
1% is the girl in Africa who gets to go to school, thanks to you. 1% is the AIDS patient who gets her medicine, thanks to you. 1% is the African entrepreneur who can start a small family business thanks to you. 1% is not redecorating presidential palaces or money flowing down a rat hole. This 1% is digging waterholes to provide clean water.
1% is a new partnership with Africa, not paternalism toward Africa, where increased assistance flows toward improved governance and initiatives with proven track records and away from boondoggles and white elephants of every description.
America gives less than 1% now. We're asking for an extra 1% to change the world. to transform millions of lives - but not just that and I say this to the military men now - to transform the way that they see us.
1% is national security, enlightened economic self-interest, and a better, safer world rolled into one. Sounds to me that in this town of deals and compromises, 1% is the best bargain around.
These goals - clean water for all; school for every child; medicine for the afflicted, an end to extreme and senseless poverty - these are not just any goals; they are the Millennium Development goals, which this country supports. And they are more than that. They are the Beatitudes for a globalised world.
Now, I'm very lucky. I don't have to sit on any budget committees. And I certainly don't have to sit where you do, Mr. President. I don't have to make the tough choices.
But I can tell you this:
To give 1% more is right. It's smart. And it's blessed.
There is a continent - Africa - being consumed by flames.
I truly believe that when the history books are written, our age will be remembered for three things: the war on terror, the digital revolution, and what we did - or did not to - to put the fire out in Africa.
History, like God, is watching what we do.
Thank you. Thank you, America, and God bless you all.
We, the undersigned, beseech the international community, and particularly, the United Nations, to organize and implement a strong, well-manned, and well-resourced intervention in Darfur, Sudan, in order to stop the ongoing genocide being perpetrated by Government of Sudan (GOS) troops and the Janjaweed (Arab militia) against the Black Africans of Darfur. In order for the intervention to be effective -- and not another fiasco as the international community witnessed in Rwanda in 1994 and then again in Srebrenica in 1995 -- the mandate must come under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which allows for peace enforcement, not simply peacekeeping. We urge that a minimum number of 12,000 troops be allocated for this mission, and that the mission be supplied with all the necessary equipment -- in good working order and adequate supplies to operate, and repair such when needed, to carry out the mandate/mission.
We also strongly urge that the mission be undertaken as soon as possible for each day that goes by an estimated 500 innocent people are losing their lives.
Proof of the effectiveness of such a mission should be based upon the following criteria: (go to coaliton site to read the rest!)