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Dream for Darfur Olympic Torch Relay

December 9, 2007, Savedarfurspb, Dream for Darfur Olympic Torch Relay, by Andrea Schuver.

Dec 9,'07 (Sun) — Dream for Darfur Olympic Torch Relay  —  map to First UMC of Boca Raton  —  1-4 PM, Downtown Boca Raton.

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Dream for Darfur Olympic Torch Relay, speakers, entertainment. Join many elected officials, clergy and others

In less than a year, China will host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, one of the world's most powerful symbols of peace. Meanwhile, it is failing to help end genocide in Darfur, one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. China has tremendous influence over Sudan. It can do much more to end the suffering. To remind China of its responsibilities, Dream for Darfur launched its own Olympic torch relay in Chad. The torch will tour the world, including the U.S., until it reaches China in December. The message is simple. China please: Bring the Olympic dream to Darfur. Contact us at SaveDarfurSPB> to get involved in our local event. Read more about China and the Dream for Darfur Olympic Torch campaign at About the Olympic Torch.

December 19, 2007, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Small groups push to end Darfur genocide, by Forum Publishing Group.

The 2008 summer Olympic Games in Beijing are what prompted more than 250 people to come out on a recent Sunday – and it wasn't to honor China or oppose the Olympics.

Instead they were there trying to publicize China's involvement – or more precisely, its lack of involvement – in halting the genocide that's been occurring for years in the Darfur region of the African country of Sudan.

The Darfur Olympic Torch Relay and Rally was organized by the Save Darfur Coalition of South Palm Beach.

"We do not choose to boycott the Olympics," said Fran Steinmark, co-chair of the group. "[But] China is funding so much of the genocide taking place [in Darfur]. We don't want them to take their role in their Olympics lightly. They could be doing so much more in stopping the violence that's occurring."

Similar torch relays already have taken place in 28 states and seven countries, with the first organized in the African country of Chad, where Steinmark said 2.5 million Darfur refugees are living.

She said China has a strong relationship with rulers of the oil-rich country of Sudan, and that's why China isn't doing anything to stop the violence, and is indirectly funding it.

Fourteen people participated in the relay portion of the event that started at First United Methodist Church in downtown Boca Raton.

One of the those participants was 18-year-old Brittany Linden, a senior at Boca Raton Community High School. Vice president of Students for a Better Tomorrow at the school, she carried the torch during one leg of the relay. The club's purpose is to raise awareness about the genocide and help raise funds to halt it.

Both Steinmark and Linden said they were disappointed with the small number of people who showed up for the relay and rally. Steinmark said she was hoping for thousands, but attributed the low turn-out to people being busy during the holiday season.

She said it is also getting harder for people to relate to the genocide that's taking place.

"If it were happening to a child we knew, we'd break down and sob," she said. "We're all a part of the human race. [But] getting people to connect on that level is just very, very difficult."

Linden said many teenagers she knows are aware of the genocide, but they don't think there's anything they can do that will help.

"They don't realize how much they can make a difference," she said.

Rose Gatens, director for the Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education at Florida Atlantic University, said there is a lot that individuals can do. Grassroots organizations all over the United States and Europe, she said, are making a difference in Darfur. She said this is the first time since the first United Nations genocide conference 50 years ago that grassroots organizations have made such an impact by raising funds, awareness and pressuring governments to act.

She said that in light of what is known, what strikes her most about the genocide is how "other interests are being put above the lives of people."

Jason Parsley can be reached at

Copyright © 2007, South Florida Sun-Sentinel,0,5083179.story

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