Celebrities and Activists Rally for Darfur

Published: April 30, 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Thousands of people joined celebrities and lawmakers at a rally Sunday urging the Bush administration to use its political muscle to help end genocide in Sudan's Darfur region.

''Not on our watch,'' the crowd began chanting as a parade of speakers lined up for their turn on a stage on the National Mall, the Capitol serving as a backdrop.

''The personal motivation for a lot of us is the Holocaust,'' said Boston-based Rabbi Or Rose of Jewish Seminarians for Justice. ''Given our history and experience, we feel an obligation to stand up and speak out.''

The organizers' permit estimated a turnout of 10,000 to 15,000 for the rally, one of several planned in U.S. cities over the weekend over what the United Nations has termed the world's worst humanitarian disaster.

''It is the socially responsible, good conscience thing to do,'' said Ron Fisher, who took a pre-dawn bus from Cleveland with his 15-year-old daughter Jordyn to attend the demonstration. ''It' an opportunity to show my daughter what people do when they care about something.''
The U.S. Park Police, which does not issue crowd estimates, reported no arrests. ''It's a large crowd. I think they have a really good turnout,'' Sgt. Scott Fear said.

The event attracted high-profile speakers from the worlds of screen, athletics, religion and politics: actor George Clooney, just back from a trip to Africa; Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.; House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California; Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel; Olympic speedskating champion Joey Cheek, who donated his bonus money to projects in war-torn Darfur; and Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington.

Refugee Hassan Cober said he was forced to leave his family and flee Sudan four years ago after many were killed and raped in his village. He urged the U.S. and the United Nations to act quickly, saying he had no idea where his family was or if they were OK.

''We need deeds, not words,'' said Cober, who now lives in Portland, Maine. ''They need to come to Darfur today, not tomorrow, because what is going on is a disaster.''
Maybe the UN will act, but as far as Bush getting off his ass, So sorry. You don't have oil, and well lets just say your most likely going to fall into the list of things to do, when hell freezes over. Right after taking serious steps to help Katrina victims, and right before doing something to reform health care, social security, and education.

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