Imagine being a thirteen year old girl, knowing you have been raped by ten soldiers. Then, imagine realizing another one is about to take his turn.
Imagine sneaking out of your house at night, walking for hours in dangerous lands to bring heavily protected water home to your family. Then, imagine realizing the water you worked so hard for has been poisoned and everyone will die in a death that will be drawn out and messy.
Imagine watching your brother shot. Imagine watching your grandmother kicked. Imagine fire falling from helicopters, burning everyone in your village to. The mud walls you set up for protection only contain the licking flames, and the smell of burning human flesh fills the air as your entire kin dies out and falls into ashy graves. For some people, this is not their imagination. This is real.
THIS IS THE GENOCIDE IN DARFUR.
What is it about the number hundred that is so magical, that makes it seem like there's all the possibilities in the world? Last time I posted 100 things, I just gave general advice, but the world is full of hundreds, and I hope you take advantage of realizing how many possibilities there really are out there, especially when it comes to solving a complex situation like Darfur.
The answer is there, you just have to believe it is.
1) Read my very first post about Darfur and get a basic understanding of the genocide that is happening in Sudan and causing everyone so much suffering.
2) Understand that although the people may change, The Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, Rwanda, the Sikhs, Poland, China... and many many more are all very comparable to Darfur and all equally deserve attention because at the end of the day, they are ALL HUMAN LIVES at stake, no matter what skin colour or religion.
3) Read this, this and watch this (I'm sorry, midly monotone voice but worth it, and it's only 9 minutes) to get some varied views.
Once you understand, only then can you take actions that will make a difference.
4) Talk to your family and friends about Darfur and educate them about the humanitarian crisis that is happening overseas. It is fairly easy to bring up in conversation, "I was reading this book today..."
5) Make random strangers aware by decorating a bag like Rachel of In an English Accent, pictured above, did to grab people's attention.
6) Carry pamphlets with you so you can inform others even if you have to dash.
7) Buy vintage clothing from Tavi's incredibly giving and thoughtful store, which donates all money raised to STAND. You get clothes, and social conscience! People overseas get food and not death! WIN-WIN!
8) Visit the STAND website, both Canadian and American. I love this group with all my heart and hope you'll consider helping out.
9) Start a STAND chapter at your school. Easier than it looks, you can hold informational sessions and keep everyone educated about the genocide.
10) Sell cupcakes for Darfur. Bonus points for little green (the official colour) frosting ribbons on top!
11) Sell books for Darfur.
12) Sell old toys, collect refundables, bag groceries, wash cars... You have a talent (once again, hi Tavi!) and you can use it to raise money to donate to a great number of charitable organizations that will make a difference.
13) Ask your local library if they would accept donations of books about Darfur. Sometimes libraries reject donations from interest groups because unfortunately neoNazis exist and hate literature can be easily passed off as a novel, but if you prearrange it maybe you & your local chapter could fundraise for the library.
14) Put in a request for specific books and DVDs about Darfur to be bought for the library. Many times your wishes will be granted!
15) Try to organize a display in the library that features pictures and recommended reads that draws attention to the rape, the fires, the death... the genocide.
16) Buy the DVD Darfur : Now. Watch it.
17) Have a movie night with your friends and watch said DVD over popcorn. Discuss it afterwards.
18) Hold a rally!
19) Hold a letter writing campaign and target politicians at both local, national, and international levels.
20) North Americans, call 1-800-genocid(e)! It is SO SIMPLE and you can leave as many messages as you want!
21) When political figures hold public meetings, ask them their stance on the genocide.
22) Ask your teachers if they would consider laying aside one class to talk about the genocide in Darfur, especially in social studies and arts related courses. Assemble a small curriculum for the class so they don't feel alone in it.
23) Make a powerpoint and carry it around with you on a USB stick. I have given so many impromptu presentations infront of total strangers in my history of activism... visuals really do the trick.
24) Put up posters. Don't fear monger with disgusting images of partially decomposing bodies, no matter how true they are, but feel free to show the suffering of starvation and fear, and perhaps even skeletons.
25) Bring up Darfur any time someone mentions the Holocaust or Rwanda. There is a myth that genocide is over. This is not true.
26) Buy a t-shirt!
27) Don't be afraid to get creative; get a group of students to lie dead in the gym for a lunch and have each student represent a hundred people. Trace around the bodies with chalk and see the 400,000+ death count.
28) Write letters to the editor. Ask why Brittany Spears gets on the cover by not those suffering in Sudan. (Hint: The answer is money but maybe they'll feel guilted into publishing your letter?)
29) Blog about Darfur.
30) Follow people on Twitter to get updates about what's happening. It's like a Darfur centered newspaper!
31) Read stories about individuals in Darfur. People don't respond well to numbers; they need to attach a specific story to an attrocity for it to register some times.
32) Don't waste water. It's such a slap in the face to the entire situation.
33) Buy the CD Instant Karma. A bunch of people singing John Lennon songs? I love it, and some which you might not think you'd be into are actually really good. (Fergie.. singing.. John Lennon..?!)
34) Go to lectures. A lot of them are free, check local libraries and universities!
35) Activists are people too; write to great ones and let them know you admire them!
36) Maybe don't pull a Mia Farrow, but pledge to give up something (a coffee, run at home instead of at the gym) for a week and donate the money to Darfur.
37) Do number 36 as a group.
38) Instigate Darfur related projects at a youth or church group.
39) Watch media like the newspaper and television. See when they mention Sudan but not the genocide. Peace keepers are killed over there, which is disgusting, but they don't even mention why. Get mad about this.
40) Ask people to donate to STAND instead of giving you birthday/Christmas/large events presents. May 8th I turn 19, and all the money is going to Darfur!
41) Talk casually to your grandparents about including Darfur related charities in their will. This can be a little creepy so proceed with caution, but if you're close with your grandparents it's easy for them to share your passion to help others.
42) Divest from Darfur. Don't invest in places that buy Sudanese oil and fund this genocide; demand more accountability from who you, your family, your school, and the places around you invest in.
43) Invite a speaker to your school: many refugees or activists are willing to get the word out and would love your invitation. Shoot off a polite email and welcome them in to your community.
44) Hold a vigil, especially at a local church, for the souls lost to the Genocide. Etch names of victims into candles. Personify it. Make people see the lives lost.
45) Hold a concert or dinner. This can be super tricky, but with a big enough team these can generate a LOT of money and a lot of fun too!
46) Make a small but regular donation. 10$ a month really can make all the difference. Mine is automatically withdrawn every time a paycheque is deposited, so I don't even miss the money!
47) Realize that when you speak of Darfur, people look at you as a figure. When people try to disagree (it happens!), resist the urge to laugh at them... although it can be hard not to patronize. I sometimes fail at this. Just re-explain it's not about politics, it's about people.
48) Write to Washington and tell them that the information exchange that is keeping the States silent is disgusting and morally wrong. Sudan's information keeps the US from doing anything about them, and this is wrong.
49) Volunteer at a local refugee shelter; sometimes putting together small welcome baskets with English dictionaries can make all the difference to someone recovering from the terror of a destroyed homeland.
50) Get on the emailing list for information straight to your inbox!
51) Do your class projects get displayed on walls? Do you read your poetry out loud for other students to hear? I did a speech on Darfur for a class of mine and it was an ideal audience because they all knew me already. It became a goal instead of a problem, and goals mean action.
52) As important as education is, when you have meetings, make sure you have a goal for the year. Some people will drop out if they feel the group is too passive.
53) Make banners and get people to sign it. Display it in a prominent area, like a school.
54) Have petitions, both online and on paper. Make them FOR the victims of genocide instead of AGAINST the government.
55) Have answers. Research solutions. When people ask you "Well, what do you want them to do?" be prepared. It's one thing to support a cause through empathy, but another thing to actually support a cause.
56) Support anti racism initiatives in your community. We all ask how genocide starts... well, it is much easier prevented than stopped.
57) Ask your favourite celebrities and those with a lot of followers to drop links for Darfur in their updates!
58) Give out cupcakes with the STAND website iced on them.
59) Host Green Dances for Darfur at high schools. Charge a dollar extra as a donation.
60) Coffee houses are pretty much the best things ever, because people who like acoustic guitar usually end up liking social activism as well. DON'T ASK ME HOW, but there is a definite genetic connection there.
61) Send this out to your friends. Evan is a super charming sweet heart so it's kind of a visual and morally rewarding video. YEAAA.
62) Host an art attack, where you put up hundreds of posters in one concentrated area at once.
63) Make wristbands, pins, or other small things you can wear.
64) Screen your investments using number 1 on this list to check if the companies you're supporting with your money are clean!
65) Have tee shirt days where anyone who makes and wears a T shirt for Darfur can come to the cafeteria to get a cookie.
66) Call 1-800-genocid(e) as a class. Take turns with who stands up at the front each class/week/other day (whatever you can convince your teacher of) and call a different rep each time.
67) Have a 1-800-genocid(e) day where a phone in a classroom is made availible to students to call 1-800-genocid(e).
68) Swamp the lines. Have everyone with a cellphone in your class call the number and stay on hold until many lines in Ottawa/Washington have someone talking about Darfur in them.
69) Outline chalk bodies in the sidewalk and write the Stand website in them.
70) Read the Stand Canada blog.
71) Add it to your blog list.
72) Stand for the Dead
73) Host a battle of the bands.
74) Host a bike a thon.
75) Host a walk (What? What a crazy idea!) Holy vintage Mary....
76) Provide well written sample postcards that students only have to sign and can then mail themselves.
77) Scroll down to the Be A Witness campaign on this here, and arrange something similar.
78) Hold screenings of genocide related movies like "Hotel Rwanda" at local independant theaters and raise profits for a current genocide while learning about a past one.
79) If you believe in praying, pray.
80) If you belong to a prayer group, encourage others to pray.
81) Buy a pack of post cards. Mail them to those who need to see them.
82) Sign an online post card!
83) There are a number of podcasts (how do you link to a podcast?) that will give you free, weekly shows and keep you up to date just by listening to your ipod! Search for "Save it Now: Darfur."
84) See what other people have to say about Darfur.
85) Download the Boston Legal episode where Allan, Lori and Denny try to fight the United States government. My dad showed me... I laughed and laughed but it was VERY well done.
86) See what the youngest victims of genocide have to say. Show others.
87) Make a video. Put it on Youtube.
88) Invite people to join Facebook groups to support Darfur. I have to clarify, as I think Facebook is the most apathetic form of activism and merely joining a group does crap all, but if it gets them to actually read the message and learn a bit, it can be useful.
89) In the same spirit, post news stories so they will pop up in your friends feeds.
90) Twitter is also good for this from time to time.
91) Hold a Wii or Guitar Hero tournament over lunch at school! Hillarious and raises money fast!
92) Same applies to dunk tanks.
93) Learn the definition of what a genocide is.
94) Learn how the United Nations works.
95) Make an actual connection with the stories you read. Feel for them and think of them until you cry. Channel this passion.
96) If you're in Nova Scotia towards the end of May, SHOOT ME AN EMAIL and see what exciting events you can get in on!
97) Express and demand that the people responsible for this do not get off easy; they have to pay for the countless lives that they took. Make sure other leaders are quaking in their boots so they understand that the PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER, and we will not tolerate the gruesome murders of our brothers and sisters.
98) Show other people this post. Pass it on.
99) Stop seeing human life as a privilege. Life is a right. These people deserve to live just like you and I. Get over your superiority complex as someone who doesn't live in a developing country (we all have one) and start to truly love humanity.
100) Care, and show people you care. Love will win this, understanding will end this.
Do some of them. Pass it on.
2.5 million refugees can't wait much longer.