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Finegold Speaks at Harvard's Dafur Forum

State Representative Barry R. Finegold spoke at Harvard University on Saturday at the school’s forum on the Darfur Genocide. The forum was a combination of efforts of students from surrounding colleges and universities, and included participants from universities as far away as Michigan and California. The student organizers had invited Representative Finegold to speak after one of its organizers, a Brandeis University sophomore, read an editorial authored by Representative Finegold in a local newspaper.

“Where were my grandparents when the Nazis were killing thousands of European Jews, where were my parents during the Cambodian Genocide, when 1.7 million Cambodians were slaughtered, and where was I in 1994 during the genocide in Rwanda,” Representative Finegold rhetorically asked the 200 students and community members in attendance at Fong Theater on the Harvard campus.

“I did not want to sit back and do nothing this time, as every day hundreds of men, women, and children are massacred in the Darfur region of Sudan.”

A civil war is brewing in Sudan in which attacks are carried out by the government and its allied Janjaweed militias. More than two and a half years into the crisis, the western Sudanese region of Darfur is acknowledged to be a humanitarian and human rights tragedy of the first order: as many as 5,000 people, overwhelmingly civilians, are dying every month. The situation continues to deteriorate as people are still dying in large numbers of malnutrition and disease, although humanitarian access has improved.

Darfur has only recently received attention from political leaders and major media, causing some to question the slow response and little outrage. Only recently has Massachusetts adopted legislation that calls to remove pension fund investments from all companies doing business with Sudan, a bill that Representative Finegold has co-signed.   “For those of you who think, it is too far away, they do not matter, I am too busy,” commented Representative Finegold, “remember, you still go home every night without having to face the fears facing the Sudanese people.”

Representative Finegold issued a call-to-action to the students in attendance and implored them to contact their local officials and ask them to sign onto and to support the legislation before the Massachusetts House of Representatives and similar legislation in other states.

“It is time for action,” commented Representative Finegold.


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