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Author: John Norris

The Big Speech

The Big Speech
On Thursday, President Obama will deliver a much anticipated speech in Cairo. What he says, or does not say, about the situation in Sudan will rightly be seen as a barometer of his commitment to the issue not only by those in the Arab world, but also by activists here in the United States. President Obama has an opportunity to make a strong case that the Arab world must be part of an effective response to President Bashir – not just because Bashir is wanted for war crimes and has cut off aid for hundreds of thousands of people, but ...
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Paging the Fourth Estate

A great statement from Congressman Donald Payne today on his committment to the Darfur Fast for Life: "On Monday, I joined the Darfur Fast for Life because I wanted to stand in solidarity with the people of Darfur and to express my outrage at the ongoing crisis in the Sudan. In addition to my personal fasting, I am launching a Darfur Fast for Life Campaign on Capitol Hill to urge my colleagues to join me in voicing opposition to the mass atrocities al-Bashir and his regime have orchestrated against the Darfuri people. It is my hope that our fasting will ...
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Peter Gabriel Joins the Fast for Life

An amazing and eclectic group of people continue to stand up with the Darfur Fast for Life. [Learn more here]. The latest: Peter Gabriel. Not only an incredible musician and humanitarian in general, Gabriel also had some very thoughtful comments on his motivation in fasting: The people of Darfur have suffered horribly in the last six years and despite many campaigns, protests and the judgment of the International Criminal Court, there has been insufficient international response to stop the suffering. For that reason, I really hope that the Darfur Fast for Life campaign puts the plight of the Darfuris back ...
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A Fine Line in Sudan

A Fine Line in Sudan
Arriving in Khartoum yesterday, the head of U.N. humanitarian operations, John Holmes, sounded cautiously optimistic about the return of some key humanitarian relief groups to Darfur. Sudan continues to insist that having any of the 13 existing expelled groups return is ‘non-negotiable,’ but this looks largely like posturing. The ‘new’ groups would likely be some of the old groups operating under new names. While international diplomats and aid groups all continue to negotiate within the framework of the government’s ‘rebranding’ efforts – since it looks like the easiest way to resume much need aid shipments – such rhetorical posturing certainly ...
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Adrift

Just a heartbreaking account of refugees fleeing the fighting in Sri Lanka in the New York Times today. This extended family spent 9 days at sea before making landfall. Terrible stuff. I would also recommend the NYT editorial on Sri Lanka from last week. It can be found here ...
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100 Days

100 Days
You probably won’t be able to make it through your day without encountering one of the many 100 day report cards being offered up for President Obama. We haven’t done a formal analysis, but here are a few thoughts on how the president has done on the issues we care about here at Enough during the first 100 days. There are a number of important positives. We now have a special envoy for Sudan, and the President has reached out directly to organizations, including Enough, indicating that he is seeking a comprehensive approach to Sudan’s multiple conflicts. Many of the ...
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Mini-Cooper Diplomacy?

Washington Post columnist Al Kamen took note today of Special Envoy to Pakistan-Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke's "Growing Orbit," a reference to plans to hire around 50 new staffers for the envoy's team. While some might question the size of that staff, Holbrooke's diplomatic task is immense, and ultimately it is worth investing Holbrooke with significant staff if he can successfully navigate the treacherous diplomatic shoals involved in bringing peace to both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The article also notes that, in sharp contrast to Holbrooke, Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration has a dedicated staff totaling four. Four people? Do we really ...
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Developments in Sri Lanka

The situation in Sri Lanka continues to unfold in interesting ways. With the visit of the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator, John Holmes, the government announced that it would not use heavy weapons and airstrikes against Tamil Tiger rebels and civilians trapped in a small sliver of territory in the north of the country. The government was, however, also quick to reject a unilateral ceasefire from the Tigers, dismissing it as a “joke.” It wants full surrender from the Tigers in the enclave. The government is trying to be on marginally better behavior this week not only with the visit of Holmes, ...
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Final Reckoning in Sri Lanka?

Final Reckoning in Sri Lanka?
The situation in Sri Lanka continues to unfold rapidly and with tragic results. As we noted recently, more than 140,000 civilians were trapped in a small strip of land the size of Central Park – under heavy fire from the Sri Lankan military and essentially held captive by Tamil Tiger rebels. Government forces continue to push into the enclave. According to the U.N., close to 5,000 civilians have been killed since January. Both U.N. and Sri Lankan military officials agree that as many as 60,000 civilians fled from the enclave during the last day or two as the army pushed ...
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