What Should Jews Do? Darfur Genocide Spills Into Chad

The conflict and resultant genocide in Darfur has now worsened and spread into neighboring Chad. The New York Times reports:

ADRÉ, Chad — The chaos in Darfur, the war-ravaged region in Sudan where more than 200,000 civilians have been killed, has spread across the border into Chad, deepening one of the world’s worst refugee crises.

Arab gunmen from Darfur have pushed across the desert and entered Chad, stealing cattle, burning crops and killing anyone who resists. The lawlessness has driven at least 20,000 Chadians from their homes, making them refugees in their own country.

Hundreds of thousands more people in this area, along with 200,000 Sudanese who fled here for safety, find themselves caught up in a growing conflict between Chad and Sudan, which have a long history of violence and meddling in each other’s affairs.

"You may have thought the terrible situation in Darfur couldn’t get worse, but it has," Peter Takirambudde, executive director of the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, said in a recent statement. "Sudan’s policy of arming militias and letting them loose is spilling over the border, and civilians have no protection from their attacks, in Darfur or in Chad."

Indeed, the accounts of civilians in eastern Chad are agonizingly familiar to those in western Sudan. One woman, Zahara Isaac Mahamat, described how Arab men on camels and horses had raided her village in Chad, stealing everything they could find and slaughtering all who resisted.

The dead included her husband, Ismail Ibrahim, who tried to prevent the raiders from burning his sorghum and millet fields. Like so many others in this desolate expanse of dust-choked earth, she fled west with her three children, much as people in Darfur have been forced to do in recent years.

"I have lost everything but my children," she said, her face looking much older than her 20 years. She is now a refugee, with thousands of other displaced Chadians, in Kolloye, a village south of here.

"We have three bowls of grain left," she said. "When that is gone, only God can help us."

American Jewish World Service has done good work during this crisis. Donations can be made securely online. Edah, the Modern Orthodox breakaway from the ever-calcifying Yeshiva University-inspired ‘Centrist’ Orthodoxy, has made this a front burner issue as well.*

On the other hand, haredim of all stripes and YU’s ‘Centrist’ Orthodoxy have been silent. It is exactly these people who are the first to claim antisemitism and condemn non-Jews for failing to help Jews.

But I wonder – if the Nazis had only killed Gypsies, had set up Auschwitz only to gas and burn them and not us, would Jews have done anything to save them? Should we have? If not, why not?

* [More ideas to help bring security to Darfur can be found on the SaveDarfur.org website.]

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9 Comments

Filed under Darfur, Haredim, Jewish Leadership, Modern Orthodoxy

9 responses to “What Should Jews Do? Darfur Genocide Spills Into Chad

  1. I think Jewish people have an obligation to help any people that are in trouble, regardless of affiliation.

    However, in the case where Jews also need help (such as the recent natural disasters) I believe we have an earlier obligation to help our fellow Jew. (Similar to the laws of Tzedakah “B’nei Beischa K’batichilah” you first help out your own family, then your neibourhood, city state country etc.

    This is not to say that you can only help Jews, we have to help everyone.

    Shmarya, right after Katrina, you posted a link to a music charity, why?

  2. Because New Orleans is the home of dozens, if not hundreds, of world-class Jazz and Blues musicians. Most earned meager livings before Katrina, and the storm destroyed their instruments and livelihood. And because, more than anything else, New Orleans is known for its music, and as the birthplace of Jazz.

    But I suppose the average Orthodox Jew would have prefered I limited my Katrina links to Jewish-only charities, even though those charities were and are awash in money, and few, if any, have ever given an acounting of their Katrina relief.

    And I suppose, in your eyes, since there is always some Jew somewhere who needs help, non-Jews should never be assisted. (This even though most Jewish orgs appear to have very sticky fingers. So I should give money to Rabbi ploni’s charity, even though rabbi ploni refuses to give a true public accounting of how that money is spent.)

    I propose the following: Orthodox Jews help only Jews. Non-Jews promise never to help Orthodox Jews. Sound like a good deal to you?

  3. Our fellow Jews fared rather better in New Orleans than most, and regardless of the financial shortfalls, the Jewish community will recover perhaps faster and better than many other demographics. Kudos to you for supporting musicians.

    To be completely honest, as good as it was to be deployed to immediately help Americans, I would rather be deployed in a capacity in which we’d prevent or halt genocide. I suppose I’m not speaking as a Jew, but as a soldier on that one.

  4. Ploni

    Typical guilt ridden jew. The Negroes in Africa continue their usual tribal genocides and Shmutzy foams and rave about how much Jews are doing or not doing about it rather then asking why Jackson and Sharpton and all the American Negroes who made such a to do about South Africa and fre Mandella and all that crap arent protesting in the streets.

    So he postulates if the Holocaust was against the Roma wether or not Jews would have done anything avoiding to ask if it was Caucasian people in Darfur wether or not everyone else would be so complacent.

    I tell you what Shmutzy, why dont you put your money where your lazy ass blog is and go down and show real charity and stand in front of innocents in Darfur, put your hand up towards those murderes and say “Halt”?

    You want analogies with the holocaust, why dont you go down and “liberate” those prisoners that are being held and then come back and lecture everyone else.

  5. Pretty psychotic of you, Ploni.

    Put up or shut up:

    1. What should Jews do in response to the genocide of non-Jews?

    a. Nothing.
    b. Nothing until every yeshiva in the world has enough money “not to worry.”
    c. Everything we can to prevent more killings.
    d. I don’t care. They’re goyyim.

    2. If the Holocaust had only been against Gypsies, and only Gypsies were being gassed and burned at Auschwitz, Jews would have?

    a. Done nothing.
    b. Done nothing until every yeshiva in the world has enough money “not to worry.”
    c. Tried to stop the genocide and save lives, even if this meant doing work on Shabbat or limiting Torah study.
    d. Done nothing because Gypsies are goyyim.

    Put up or shut up.

  6. Neo-Conservaguy

    “I tell you what Shmutzy, why dont you put your money where your lazy ass blog is and go down and show real charity and stand in front of innocents in Darfur, put your hand up towards those murderes and say “Halt”?…”

    Isn’t that what the United Nations troops (aka the Baby Blue Berets) are supposed to do?

  7. Shepard

    Back to topic – its a question for the ages. I think its good to help other people, people in need. If one individual takes it upon himself to help ‘stupid Africans throwing spears’ or whatever (I’m sure the kefirim felt the same way about those silly European Jews getting paid back for their laziness via being rounded up in camps), and leads his entire community to help them, its a good thing. Is it an obligation? Not unless your failure to act is equal to enabling the tragedy. Anything else is charity.

  8. Dovid

    When I said that we have an obligation to the Jew first, I did not mean that no money should go to the non-Jewish orginisations such as the Red Cross, and so on.

    Regarding the music charity; I just wanted your reason, you gave it, thank you.

    Let me quote the first line of my first post just so you know what my position is:

    I think Jewish people have an obligation to help any people that are in trouble, regardless of affiliation.

    That being said, if the holocaust would have been only to Gypsies, the Jewish people’s proper responce would have to be to try rescuing as many as possible! Certain Yeshivahs woulden’t get involved, of course, but as we have to be a light unto the nations, we always need to help our fellow man in sorrow.

    Just to quote a pasuk from last weeks parsha: כי תראה חמור שנאיך רובץ תחת משאו וחדלת מעזוב לו עזוב תעזוב עמו, if you see even your enemeys donkey in a difficult situation you have to help according to Torah, how much more so with regards to human life!

  9. “I tell you what Shmutzy, why dont you put your money where your lazy ass blog is and go down and show real charity and stand in front of innocents in Darfur, put your hand up towards those murderes and say “Halt”?”

    So, you only get moral credibility on this issue by physically standing between janjaweed and the unfortunates who are being murdered, raped and unhomed?

    And who says the African-American community is staying silent on Darfur? And even if they were silent, why does that mean we should have to be?

    You get so many posters with such dark little hearts!

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