It has become a regular occurrence for me to appear as a guest on BBC Radio’s World Have Your Say, a program which airs weekdays at 5 p.m. CT in the U.S. Today’s topic is the Crisis in Darfur, a project being tackled jointly by Google Earth and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (See news release).
In between writing posts on other topics this morning, I opened Google Earth, typed in “Sudan” and found a number of icons superimposed over the image of Sudan, a sign I had found the Crisis in Darfur site.
Below is a long version of the points I plan to make, if the opportunity arises, during today’s BBC broadcast:
Being only human, the information on this site made me feel badly for the people caught up in the strife of living that is Darfur. Likewise, it leads me to believe that anyone who has ever been inclined to contribute financially to rid the world of this type of human suffering will, after consuming the site’s information, feel obligated to give.
Being skeptical by nature, the result of my schooling as a journalist and years of experience as an Air Force public affairs officer, political campaign manager and nonprofit executive, I find myself not inclined to giving without learning more about the relief organizations whose names show up on “rollover” icons at the Google Earth site. Only when I learn how and where, exactly, the money will be spent — and if I learn that at least 80 percent of my gift will actually reach the people of Darfur — will I give.
Some people — myself included — are slower to respond than others, so it’s going to take a lot of immediate and prolonged exposure to generate for the Darfur crisis the same type of response generated by images from Thailand, Indonesia and other locations devastated by the 2004 earthquake-generated tsunami. Without an overwhelming and enduring effort, many will, figuratively, “change the channel” before the situation is turned around. After all, Darfur is competing for attention with the “social conscious” issues of the day, global warming and the War on Terror (If you want to know where I stand on those, take a look around this blog.).
Whether you or I give or not, there are other ways we can help the people of Darfur:
- Contact members of the news media;
- Contact your elected officials at the federal level;
- Volunteer to help relief agencies with missions in Darfur; and
- Share what you know about Darfur with others via your blogs, e-mails and web sites.
While a saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” comes to mind when I think about efforts like this, I offer a tip of my hat to the people at Google Earth, the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the relief organizations working in Darfur for their efforts aimed at bringing the atrocities in Sudan to the fore and, eventually, to an end.