I spent the better part of last Thursday and Friday (when I should of been painting my illustrations) digging into my State of WI retirement fund to change where my money is being invested. I recently learned that Fidelity Mutual Funds Company is a heavy investor in the two chinese oil companies Sinopec and Petrochina. These companies are pouring money into the Sudanese goverment mainly responsible for conditions in Darfur. As it turns out, I had very little of my very little money going to this company which has now been diverted to another fund. I’m sure my dollars will have little impact in the 3.2 trillion dollar investments of Fidelity. But now I can sleep well. I would encourage those of you who have pension investments or other accounts to look into this, as many socially responsible investment lists do not include oil companies as socially irresponsible.
For more information, visit this website: http://fidelityoutofsudan.googlepages.com/
The last couple of days, I’ve been repairing a hole in our dining room ceiling, sanding, priming, and painting. Meanwhile, I’ve had on Minnesota Public Radio and occasionally CNN. Everything is abuzz with list of “The Top _________ of 2006” (fill in the blank with “celebrities,” “movies,” “songs,” “albums,” “newsmakers,” and so on). Most of these, I have taken some issue with–either because I find the selections mundane or because I realize I haven’t digested enough of the music, film, and general culture of the year.
But, this leads me to ask: any “tops” of 2006 you’d like to share and comment on here?
Here are a few, from me:
Top novel:Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (actually out in the U.S. from Graywolf Press in 2007).
And now, looking ahead, it must be asked: what do you foresee in 2007? This can either be predictions of important events or people, or it could take the form of personal New Years resolutions. It’s always such a reflective time. I’m reminded that the month of January comes from Janus, the Roman god of endings and beginnings, with a face looking backward and a face looking forward.
So, looking ahead now, here are a few thoughts and resolutions from me.
In 2007, I expect:
to see Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain, and Rudy Guliani in the spotlight for the Presidential elections of 2008, as they all announce their candidacies. (I’m already surprised to see John Edwards announce his candidacy, and so early.)
a withdrawl plan from Iraq.
peacekeeping efforts deployed to Darfur, through a renewed United Nations.
the biggest seller in books, by far, to be the new and final Harry Potter.
the biggest movie, in terms of blockbuster status, to be the new Harry Potter movie.
to be exhausted by Harry Potter by this time next year.
additional evidence for global warming.
one of us to announce a child on the way.
Some of my personal resolutions include:
to eat vegetarian as much as possible, with only occasional fish when eating out.
to eat less, eat more healthy foods, drink less alcohol, and drink more water daily.
to exercise at the Y at least 12 times each month.
to post and comment regularly on the Hollow Men site, including a weekly literary/poetry feature.
I am sending this letter to both of my senators and all eight of my representatives. Feel free to use my letter for your own purposes, or make your own. Both of my senators are Jewish; so I am assuming the word genocide means somehting to them. I am also sending it to my very own President of the United States.
To: The Honorable Russ Feingold
506 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-4904
Dear Senator Feingold,
This letter is written to plead that you and other United States representatives pay attention to what is happening in Darfur, Sudan. I, a voting citizen in a swing state, implore you to take some action, whatever action you can, to prevent the genocide occurring as we speak. How many more hundreds of thousands must be killed before we act? President Bush himself has described the situation as genocide. I am horrified, outraged, and flabbergasted that our country has remained neutral in action on this heinous situation. “You can look at it this way: back in 1944, the Germans didn’t want anybody coming in and seeing their death camps. Today in Sudan, the government doesn’t want anybody coming in and seeing what amount to death villages.” *
Please let us use our resources where we can make a true moral stand against murder and injustice. Can we not send more aid to these areas? Can we not more fiercely condemn these behaviors? Kofi Annan and Bill Clinton both recognize Rwanda as their crowning failure. Will we stand by and do nothing, again? Is it true that we have resisted sending a U.N. Peacekeeping force because we have received information on Osama Bin Laden from leaders in Sudan? “It’s been a very good deal for the government of Sudan to give little tidbits of information about suspects around the world in order to blunt United States outrage over what’s happening in Darfur,” Prendergast says. *
First, I challenge you as a respectable acting member of the government of the United States to respond to me with a letter entailing actions you are taking to prevent the slaughter taking place in Sudan and answer my questions. Are we turning our backs on Africa and Sudan because we have no financial interests there? Secondly, I challenge you to send me information on how I can make a tangible difference.
Here are some websites. One allows you to send an email to Bush and Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the U.N. (for just a bit longer before that South Korean guy, I forget his name takes over). Who knows what good it will do, but it can’t harm. You can edit the message if you don’t like some of the provisions. I got these from the CBS website. The article I referred to earlier is featured if you type in Darfur as a search. I visited all the sites but WorldVision is the only one I know intimately. It is a very upstanding organization.
Support Darfur, Make a Difference Today
Support the people of Darfur, Sudan today. You can help save lives in Darfur where 400,000 people have already died and over 2 million displaced. Please donate now. http://www.supportdarfur.com
I recently saw an interview on Sixty Minutes in which an American doctor (working in Darfur, Sudan) accused the Bush administration of refusing to send in intervention forces because they were receiving information on Osama Bin Laden from the men in power. Osama apparently visited the current president to recruit men. When a German doctor was asked what he wanted to say to Americans watching, he said something like (paraphrased), “I have seen men gang rape women, while killing their children in front of them, mutilate and chop up men, and throw body parts into drinking water sources so that it is certain that no one can live there for years. What do you think I should say to my fellow Westerners? History will judge them harshly. They can not continue to lie and say, “We just didn’t know.”
For those of you who have seen the film Hotel Rwanda, this is that all over and maybe worse. I find it ironic that while Bush claims to be such a Christian, he has left Christians in Africa to be butchered — sandwiched between African Resistance movements and Islamist militias. The truth is that we likely wouldn’t even need to use military force, but merely just put some pressure on these people. We’re too busy trying to deal with the nuclear can of worms that we opened and can’t close. We need new methods of negotiation and diplomacy other than intimidation and violence. Every lunatic on the map wants a bomb now, because we then have to recognize the threat that they pose. Did we learn nothing from our bomb shelters in the 70s and 80s?
If anyone has additional information on Sudan, I welcome it. I have a few articles that I copied from my free NY Times emails, if anyone wants to read them. As I said the Sixty Minutes interview aired last Sunday night. I am considering writing a letter to my Congressman in outrage, but I have my cynical doubts as to what difference it may make. Also, I am just slightly into a book by Gene Sharp called the Politics of Nonviolent Action and I already would suggest it to any of you.