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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Letter to the Editor: Other problems exist besides genocide

Published: November 3, 2006
Section: Opinions

You probably noticed the cardboard gravestones adorning the main path this week. At first I figured this was a Halloween ruse (although a bad one), but then I looked more closely and saw the DARFUR sticker on each, and everything made sense. STAND.

This happens every yearthe entire campus is nudged on a huge guilt trip about the genocide in Sudan. Before I say anything else, let me pre-empt my inevitable critics. I am against genocide. I do care about human rights, and I vote Democrat.

Don't get me wrong: It's great that we have so many caring students with an obvious political/social agenda. According to the Washington Post, the death toll in Darfur ranges from 60-160 thousand people according to the Bush Administration, with upper estimates by organizations private & public around 400,000 deaths. Total deaths in the Sudanese civil war are somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 million since 1983. A tragic and despondent number indeed. Anyone with a conscious and a brain will realize that this is a serious situation that needs to be ended very soon.

But here's my problem: Where is the STANAIDS (Students Taking Action Now for AIDS) organization? Or how about STANI (Influenza), STANTA (Traffic Accident), or STANAK-47 (AK-47)? All of these kill people, you know. In fact, (although I didnt bother to look it up) I would be willing to bet that AIDS kills more people than the Janjaweed militia every year. I hate to bring up the term misplaced priority, but instead of holding protests in Boston, why not donate money to AIDS research, distribute condoms in less affluent neighborhoods in Boston, or even vote for a congressman/woman that supports gun control. Something that you KNOW is actually making a difference.

At the very least, be sensitive to the other problems of the world and stop trying to guilt myself and others into action about an issue that, when you think about it, is no more or less important than a hundred others facing the world community. The next time STAND decides to go on an awareness campaign, I hope they figure out a way to do it that doesnt involve wasting cardboard or by acting like the loud kid in class that everybody hates. You are all smart peoplebe smart about how you convey your message.

Miles Ketchum '08