UCSF student newsletter
March 17 2006
Opinion: Your Chance to Stop a Genocide
By Adam Greenwald and Jeannie Biniek
Sixty years ago, the world stood silently by as six million Jews were
consigned to flames in Auschwitz and other factories of death. In the
aftermath of the Holocaust, humanity pledged never again to be
complacent in the face of genocide. Sadly, we failed to keep that
promise in Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda. In our own day, we have
allowed the genocide in Darfur to rage unabated for three agonizing
Since February 2003, the Sudanese government has sponsored militias
who have carried out a systematic policy of massacre, rape and forced
displacement against the black population of that country’s Darfur
region. To date, 400,000 people have been brutally killed and 2.5
million more have been forced to flee for their lives. Ninety percent
of all Darfur villages have been destroyed. The U.S. government has
declared this staggering human catastrophe to be genocide.
Today, UC students are leading the fight to end Darfur’s nightmare.
Because of student pressure, the Regents of the University of
California agreed to establish a task force in late-January
responsible for creating a substantial, targeted divestment strategy
from certain companies doing business in Sudan. The task force’s goal
was to make exactingly sure that divestment efforts would only target
those countries that are contributing to government revenue, but are
not provide any benefit to the country’s population. The task force’s
findings and recommendations will be presented to the UC Regents for
a vote at their March 16 meeting on the UCLA campus.
If such a targeted divestment strategy is adopted, the UC will send a
powerful message that the world will not stand idly by while the
Sudanese government murders its citizens. However, this is no mere
symbolic action. We know that Sudanese military expenditures are
closely linked to foreign direct investments; by divesting, we can
limit Sudan’s ability to buy the guns and bombs that they are using
to butcher innocent civilians. By targeting divestment to only a
subset of companies, the UC avoids hurting more innocents.
A broad coalition of leaders support divestment. To date, 23 U.S.
Congresspeople have added their names to this effort, as have more
than two-dozen state legislators. They are joined by scores of
activists, clergy, union representatives, faculty and thousands of
students. Please add your name to this coalition by signing our
On March 16, the UC Regents will decide, once and for all, whether
the UC take the lead in fighting genocide.
The world remained silent through the Armenian genocide, the
Holocaust, the killings by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the
genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda. The genocide in Darfur is still
ongoing. Millions of people remain in imminent, mortal danger. We
have a chance not to repeat the mistakes of the past. We dare not
miss the opportunity. Support targeted divestment of UC investments
For more information see our Web site, Adam
Greenwald is an Executive Member of the UC Sudan Divestment Taskforce
and President of the Progressive Jewish Student Association of UCLA.
Jeannie Biniek is External Vice-President of the UCLA Undergraduate
Student Association and an Executive Member of the UC Sudan