Al-Jazeera has been doing some interesting interviews lately with rebels from the Sudan region who wanted to get something off their chests. They want to let everyone know that they are liars who exaggerated the death and rape tolls among the women and children in the Sudan, in order to get free stuff.
No, no, really, they're not lying now, and there is no new deal to get more free stuff. This time, they want to do the honorable thing and help end the conflict. There's just one big, glaring problem with that statement that points out what an obvious and outrageous lie these new lower numbers represent. The victims in this fight aren't shooting back.
They aren't burning down entire villages, sometimes with the victims still inside the huts. They aren't gang-raping women, maiming children or slaughtering people by the thousands. If the rebels wanted the conflict to stop they're actually the ones who could stop it any day they choose by putting down their weapons and walking away.
But then there would be no more free stuff from foreign governments, such as China, who has supplied a lot of the weapons and transportation in the hopes of a land grab. That's what a maimed child is worth these days. A parcel of land.
If that sounds a little overly-dramatic, consider the idea that a woman who lives in these refugee camps, which does not have the infrastructure of a village, has to go out and gather wood, farther and farther away, and her chances of being gang-raped are a certainty, not a possibility. And, this has now been going on for years without global intervention of any meaningful size or power.
One of the bigger problems with being poor, displaced and slaughtered for the sake of land rights is that anyone can come along and adjust the numbers of dead downward to what they decide is an acceptable death rate. It's good to know that in some parts of the world there are acceptable murders and inconsequential rapes.
In 1994, during the nearby Rwandan holocaust, the Clinton administration hesitated, saying the slaughter didn't rise to the level of genocide even though satellite photos would have told Clinton otherwise. The rivers were clogged with the 800,000 bodies, and it was widely reported that the water had turned red even miles downstream. It was another case of our own government calling us stupid.
It's as if Al-Jazeera would now like us to pretend that technology is hovering somewhere around 1950, and we can't all see exactly what's going on in the Sudan. Apparently, we're also supposed to forget what's happened to relief agencies who've seen some of their own members murdered and have had to pull out because of the danger in the region.
We're supposed to believe the rebels instead, and stop trying to help the victims.
There's an old saying that says, "Set the truth free and it does its own work." The truth is there are an estimated 400,000 murdered African farmers and their families, so far, with 2.5 million displaced, and thousands upon thousands of rapes. If you'd like to make a difference go to www.genocideindarfur.net.
It is a clearinghouse for several different groups made up of average citizens from all over the world who know that a million outraged voices banning together is always heard.
We were successful when we stood up against apartheid in South Africa with an economic ban, and we were successful on our shores when we marched in support of voting rights for every citizen. That's democracy taken out of the theoretical and put into action. It's something we're very good at in this country, and it's an opportunity to show our youngest generation how it's done.
There have been plenty of times in the history of America where those who chose to band together in support of others have changed the world. It's how our country started. We can do it again for those who have been sold out for a handful of silver and a few casual lies.
Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate.
She can be found on Twitter at MarthaRandolph, or e-mail at Martha@caglecartoons.com, or visit www.martharandolphcarr.com.