September 26, 2008

"Not On Our Watch" by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast

This book gives a lot of information on how to become more active in the fight against Darfur. The beginning of the book sets the stage on how Don Cheadle became an activist for Darfur after the filming of Hotel Rwanda, which is the movie about the Rwandan Holocaust. Somewhere in his journey, Don is introduced to John Prendergast, who is as long time activist for Africa. Together they travelled to Sudan, met with refugees, talked with U.N. members, joined ralleys, and fought genocide in Darfur.

This book gives a very detailed history on the wars in Sudan and how it became genocide. In fact, there was so much information in this book, it was almost too many facts to take in. Aside from that, there is a big push for people to do their part.
Here are some of the reasons the government isn't doing anything about Darfur.

  1. The "Law of the Tool." We have most of our resources dedicated to the war in Iraq. After that, there is not much left to attack other issues.
  2. "New Cold War." Counterterrorism is America's most important foreign policy framework, where it used to be the Cold War. Since Sudan has become a supporter of anti-terrorism, which means they provide information they have on terrorist activity an don't harbor terrorists in their country, the USA is looking the other way on these same government officials that are responsible for genocide. Cleary stated, the USA chooses counterterrorism over genocide when it comes to foreign policy.
  3. "The Samantha Power Principle." Samantha Power is an activist and author of A Problem from Hell. Basically, the government will do nothing unless the citizens demand something be done.
So what it all comes down to is that the citizens of America (that's us) need to make our voices be heard. The book lists 6 ways we can become activists.
  1. Raise Awarness - write letters to your local news stations letting them know you want more coverage on Darfur. Hand out flyers, postcards, blog about it, put up posters--spread the word.
  2. Raise Funds - Basic fundraisers, bake sales, t-shirts, charity concerts, anything you can think of or pull together to raise funds to help Darfuri refugees.
  3. Write a Letter - Let your congressman know that you want the government to act. You can encourage other people to write letters as well, or have a petition signed.
  4. Call for Divestment - try to get your school or company to divest funds and assetts connected to the Sudanese government.
  5. Join an Organization - there are many organizations out there fighting for Darfur. The ENOUGH organization is one of the most referenced in the book.
  6. Lobby the Government - Beyond writing letters and signing petitions, make an apointment and have a personal meeting with elected officials.
Other websites to view are or
Overall, this book is a really good view of what is happening in Sudan, and what we can do to help.


Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Great review Amy! I agree that this book is one that people who ask "what can I do?" are given very clear and simple steps in the right direction. That's what I really liked about this one, a no excuses approach.