66 Artists, Nearly Half a Million Signatures for Darfur
By Steve Ruhl
Six months after the launch of Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur, hundreds of thousands of people have taken action to stop the human rights crisis that has claimed hundreds of thousands of Darfuri lives and forced more than 2.5 million others from their homes. On Oct. 24, AIUSA delivered its Darfur petition— nearly half a million signatures strong—to Bush administration officials (photo below). The petition urges the administration to do all it can to help bring security and human rights to the people of Darfur by setting timelines and benchmarks for the deployment of peacekeepers and providing adequate support for the mission. The United Nations’ recent commitments of peacekeepers in Darfur,eastern Chad and the Central African Republic follow four years of sustained advocacy, grassroots campaigning and reporting by Amnesty International and the larger human rights community.
AIUSA launched Instant Karma in June with the release of a two-CD set featuring 23 of the world’s top artists singing songs penned by John Lennon. The project began when Yoko Ono (inset, right) generously donated to Amnesty International the rights to Lennon’s entire solo songbook, and 66 artists from around the world answered a call to re-record a song for the campaign. Thanks to Ono, Warner Bros., Artists First and iTunes, the concept became an album that has gone platinum in several countries and is now available on iTunes. The Instant Karma message has appeared on national TV, city streets, stadiums and magazines. Now it is critical to keep the momentum going. Although the United Nations, its member states and the government of Sudan are moving forward toward security in Darfur, we must keep the pressure on to hold them accountable. Indeed, recent attacks on humanitarian workers, civilians and African Union peacekeepers, and the violence spilling across borders into Chad and the Central African Republic, all demonstrate that conditions are still extremely volatile and require our sustained action.
Please visit www.instantkarma.org and www. amnestyusa.org/darfur to learn more and get involved.