New Englanders march for an end to Darfur genocide

img_0033Ten New Englanders travelled to Washington, DC for a march yesterday against China’s support for the government of Sudan’s genocidal practices in the Darfur region.

The group included one person who had been to Darfur and four who had been arrested for protesting the violence in Darfur with nonviolent civil disobedience.

The day before this march, Human Rights Watch issued a press release saying, “Darfur: ‘Scorched Earth’ Tactics Warrant UN Sanctions.”

The march began at the Chinese Embassy’s “Economic and Commercial Counselor’s Office,” which seemed to be in some sort of mall/office complex. We handed out a few fliers and had many honks of support from cars driving by.

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A letter to the ambassador and staff of the Chinese Embassy

This letter was faxed to the embassy today, in anticipation of a protest next week.

Dear Sirs and Madams,

As a peace activist who has witnessed the tragedy of avoidable loss of life in war zones, I offer you and your people my heartfelt condolence for the suffering caused by the recent earthquake in your country. As a parent, I am especially sympathetic to all those Chinese parents whose children were injured or killed.

It is my desire to spare other parents this same agony that inspires me to write to you today. In December 2004, as a member of a Catholic Worker Peace Team, I visited Darfur, Sudan where I witnessed enormous harm inflicted on hundreds of thousands of civilians by the Sudanese army and its militias. We delivered food to many in pitiful camps for internally displaced people, but realized that only an end to the Sudanese government’s genocidal campaign against its African citizens could truly restore those victims to health and safety. When we asked Sudanese human rights activists what was the most effective nonviolent action we could take to end genocide in Darfur, we were told to protest at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, DC. We have done this several times since then, but have become increasingly aware that diplomatic efforts to end the genocide have been frustrated by the continued economic, military, and political support being given to the Sudanese government by the government of China.
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May 20: Tell China to Stop Supporting Genocide in Darfur

Dave MaciewskiJoin a nonviolent march, in Washington, DC, from the Chinese to the Sudanese Embassy on Tuesday, May 20th from 9 AM – noon. Despite international criticism, China remains the largest economic and military supporter of the government of Sudan which is widely held as responsible for the deaths or displacement of over a million civilians in Darfur. Because of China’s purchases of Sudanese oil and through China’s sales of arms to the Sudanese government, international efforts to end the bloodshed in Darfur and establish security for its people have largely failed. So long as the Sudanese regime is propped up by China, the killing in Darfur will continue.

Please gather with us at midday at the Chinese Embassy, 2201 Wisconsin Ave., NW, to hold signs which say, “China’s Support for Sudan is an Olympic Mistake” and “STOP THE GENOCIDE IN DARFUR NOW.” Some of these signs have enlarged photos of victims in Darfur. We will have a limited number of t-shirts available with the same message for those who wish to join the rally and 1.3 mile march to the Sudanese Embassy at 2210 Massachusetts Ave. NW.

Please contact us now for details and for information about rides from Massachusetts (leaving at noon on May 19th), as well as about lodging in Washington, DC for the night of the 19th. With the Olympics less than 100 days away, the media and Chinese government are paying greater attention to the Darfur issue. For the sake of those Darfurians whose lives are still risk, please consider spending a half a day in the nation’s capital. RSVP ASAP!

Scott Schaeffer-Duffy
Saints Francis & Therese Catholic Worker
52 Mason Street, Worcester, MA 01610
508 753-3588


Greetings from the Mid-Ohio River Valley, where the excitement never stops.

Bunnie Huang, on China: “It’s also obvious (to an outsider) that the press is government controlled and biased. The writing style and headlining of the China Daily reminds me a lot of The Onion.”

The Parkersburg News isn’t government controlled, but it’s a lot like The Onion, too:
Electronic billboard placed
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WoMag blog? is listed in the blog log this week, but it doesn’t exist. In fact, the name is still available! What hoodlum will grab it first?

Update: Two seconds of sleuthing reveals it shoulda been Typos in URLs are serious things.

Next SMOC meeting: Monday, there’s another public meeting with SMOC about the June Street program. A judge will be the moderator.

You’ll recall that this June Street dispute prompted the classic line: “I will be the neighbor from hell.

You gotta ask yourself: is being the neighbor from hell going to accomplish your goals, or just make your neighborhood more hellish?

Downtown Worcester: The Worcester Regional Research Bureau is sponsoring an online survey about Downtown Worcester.

Winslow Street Park: Note that the future Winslow Street Park is right next door to Ed Hyder’s market, one of the finest groceries food stores in the city.

Ed Hyder's & the Winslow Park Site
It’ll be so sweet to grab some olives and baked goods and sit in the park with a young lady snacking and watching the passersby on Pleasant Street.

When Clive McFarlane sees this, he thinks:

. . . it is difficult to see how a park of leisure and peace can long endure in a neighborhood where many people live lives patched together by welfare, drugs and alcohol, and to which those who are lucky to escape with a college education seldom come back.

I think: “Picnic heaven.”

China slaughtering dogs over 35cm tall: Part of their one dog policy. Washington Post:

Keeping pets has been controversial in China for decades. Banned as a middle-class habit during the radical Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and ’70s, dog-raising surged anew with the introduction of free-market reforms.

The government line is that this is about stopping rabies. Are bigger dogs bigger rabies risks?

Chicago enacts living-wage ordinance

Here’s the article.

It only applies to employers with over $1 billion in annual sales and stores of 90,000 square feet or more. It’s aimed at Wal-Mart, but I’m not sure who else would fall into that category; the article doesn’t say if it actually applies to any existing businesses in the city.

The wage under this ordinance is $10.00, plus $3.00 in fringe benefits. Much better than minimum wage, but still under the $15.00 (under the table, presumably) that day-laborers in Agoura Hills, California are getting.

Also, of course, it only applies within the city limits; the article notes that Wal-Mart recently opened a store just outside the boundary of the city.

Incidentally, I had no idea Chicago had 50 people on its City Council. Wow!


Darfur on TV: An old interview with me about Darfur airs on WCCA‘s “Flipside” Monday, May 1 at 7:30pm. Reairs Tuesday, May 2 at 11am; Wednesday, May 3 at 9:30pm; and Thursday, May 4 at 1:30pm. This was taped a month ago, just before our last Darfur civil disobedience. Some parts of it, like my appeal to Jim McGovern to do more on Darfur, are a bit out of date.

Collapsing Iran: John Robb predicts that the US will use air power to destroy Iran’s infrastructure, with the goal of driving the country into chaos. This is different from terrorism how?

Saint Kermit: The Worcester County podcasters interview some of the candidates for Lieutenant Governor, including Worcester Mayor Tim Murray.

Zack in China: A “taxonomy” of vegetarian restaurants.

Rocketboom: This episode is downright Warholian. Right out of Warhol’s screen tests.
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Democracy Now! and other items

Democracy Now debuts in Worcester, April 3, 2006Television: A few dozen people gathered outside the WCCA TV13 studios downtown this morning to watch Worcester’s first cablecast of Democracy Now on the TV in the window. It was pretty fun. Not surprisingly, there was an interview with Noam Chomsky.

Mark Dixon speaks: The Wal*Mart king clarifies some of the details around his 49 hours at Wal-Mart.

Holy Cross: Some Holy Cross students made a monument to American and Iraqi war dead. Of course, it was vandalized. Taryn Plumb:

Perpetrators pulled or kicked the green stakes from the ground and chucked them around the surrounding area. Signs signifying what the stakes represented were torn up and replaced with an American flag and a sign reading, “Freedom is not free.”

Worcester County college students: If you need 2,000 crosses for a war dead memorial, contact me at
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