A Journalist from Darfur… {reprint}

This is Awatif Ahmed Isshag.

She’s been a journalist for the last ten years.

She lives in Darfur.

When events like the ongoing crisis in Darfur come to the attention of relatively secure people like me (resident of the USA, not starving, and not seeing death and destruction every day), we feel particularly helpless.

It’s going to take more than the combined efforts of all the aid organizations there are to help people in that country [not to mention the horrible happenings in other countries].

It’s going to take a massive change of heart–massive change for each individual who could help in any way and massive change for every government and political person who has any influence on secular happenings–a thorough spiritual transformation.

Can you hear it?

The world is crying, screaming for change…

The Dynamist Blog carried a short article about Awatif Ahmed Isshag. Here’s just a taste:

“Nearly a decade ago, at 14, Isshag started publishing a handwritten community newsletter about local events, arts and religion. Once a month she’d paste decorated pages to a large piece of wood and hang it from a tree outside her family’s home for passersby to read.

“Her grass-roots periodical has become the closest thing that El Fasher, capital of North Darfur state, has to a hometown newspaper. More than 100 people a day stop to check out her latest installments, some walking several miles from nearby displacement camps….

“Isshag complained that despite international attention, the suffering of Darfur remained vastly underreported inside Sudan. There are no television stations in the area, and most newspapers operate under government control or are based hundreds of miles away in Khartoum.

“‘The local media don’t cover the issue of Darfur,’ she said. ‘We hear about it when one child dies in Iraq, but we hear nothing when 50 children die’ in Darfur.”

She is, in a way, blogging without a computer.

If you need some background on the bigger picture, the BBC News has Darfur: Little hope five years on and Wikipedia has Darfur Conflict.

A more complete story on Awatif Ahmed Isshag is archived at the Los Angeles Times. Here’s a telling detail from that article:

“An advocate for women’s education, Isshag credits her parents for allowing her to avoid being tied down by housework and pursue her interest in writing.

“But she occasionally uses her columns to lecture other women on pet peeves. A recent ‘For Women Only’ article lambasted those who took off their shoes on the bus. ‘It’s wrong,’ she said with a laugh.”

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2 thoughts on “A Journalist from Darfur… {reprint}

  1. It was SO heartening to see you at my site this afternoon after my long absence. Your words touched me. I must read this book you speak so often and fondly of. The quote you left reminded me much of Father Thomas Berry…now in his ninties. He too believes Earth is the soul of us. Thank you for knowing this.

    Also, this post I just read about Awatif Ahmed Isshag brought tears to my eyes, as it should. I applaud you for your words: “Can you hear it? The world is crying, screaming for change…” It reminded me of a line I wrote in my book: “The world cries out like a frightened child in the dark of night.”

    Yes, I will take time to check more thoroughly the links in this post. I can’t tell you how proud I am of you for sharing this vitally important message. Thank you Alex. Thank you.

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