Sitting in the heart of the Jordaan this evening, as boats sailed by, bikes rattled past, and drunken teenagers hobbled from bar to bar, I spent some quality time with a very special girl. She graduated, as did I, from the U of Amsterdam, and during her studies went off to Darfur to do field work related to displaced people and the genocide that happened and is beginning to happen again.
She’s been travelling alot lately, and so I updated her on things like Spike Lee’s documentary, conspiracy theories, and who’s been on Bill Maar’s show lately. As we sat there talking about all the death and destruction in the world, she began to go into detail about her experience in Darfur and how everything is unfolding with the world’s full knowledge and yet nothing is done.
Among the things she talked about was the hospitality she received there, how people were so unbelievably welcoming to an American girl from Georgia. They even knew I was Jewish, she said, to further emphasize how kind the people of Darfur are. We went on to speak about the oil deals and other interests, especially those of China and Russia, that further help to halt any and all efforts to intervene in the mass murders.
At some point, she puts her empty glass on the table and says something like
“It is almost like, the nicer a culture or a population, the more likely they are to be victims of mass murder.”
I thought about that as I rode home. I thought about her travels and how eventually, she’ll likely end up back in Sudan, trying to do whatever she can, her small part in the face of so much complacency. As sad as the conversation sometimes seemed, it is inspiring to spend time and share ideas with someone of such intelligence and understanding of the world around us.