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Save Darfur goes “Bowie” and makes ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

June 22, 2009

Last week I highlighted the fact that activists “can still visit the Save Darfur Coalition’s website and sign the SDC’s petition/postcard ‘and ask President-elect Obama to uphold his promise to act in Darfur during his first 100 days in office.'” So imagine my surprise when, while sipping my morning coffee and nibbling on the most de-lect-able mini lemon cornmeal shortbread cookies, I happened upon the Save Darfur Coalition’s Take Action page. Here’s what I encountered…

Sign our petition and ask President Obama to uphold his promise of “unstinting resolve” to end the genocide in Darfur that he made as a candidate.

I very nearly spit out one of my delicious shortbreads (which would have been a real disappointment, you know…like being blocked from Pandora Radio at the office, as I only purchased three of the tiny tasties). No more “President-elect.” No more “100 days.” These cosmetic changes fall neatly into the “what-the-hell-took-you-so-long-to-make-basic-edits-to-your-primary-communications-medium” category. (Or, the “DUH!” category, for short.)

More interesting, however, is the fact SDC is apparently continuing a “campaign” that was kinda-sorta designed to kinda-sorta pressure the new administration to make Darfur a “priority” during the all-important (not really) first 100 days. BUT the “campaign” was just as much a product of the new organizational leadership under Jerry Fowler looking backward, mimicking the “good ol’ days” of the Save Darfur movement under his predecessor, and hoping to experience easy public success in the modern era. But even with the trusty assistance of M+R Strategic Services, lotsa cash, and the full-staff-press, collecting 1 million postcards was gonna be a challenge significantly bigger than the new leadership was capable of supporting. And the proof has been in the proverbial pudding. Not failure, just un-success.

We are now over half way through the second 100 days, and the coalition continues to promote what appears to be a failed advocacy campaign that now lacks any clear goals to be achieved over a non-existent time period. Unless, perhaps, the goals are to look busy, collect more personal contact information to bolster the “1 million person email list,” never be forced to admit the failure of a major organizational priority, and illustrate the continued decline of the Save Darfur movement until the capital (financial and/or political) eventually runs out…or until the Save Darfur Coalition morphs into a new permanent anti-genocide organization. (Apparently, Genocide Intervention Network and ENOUGH Project, which both have staff members on the SDC board of directors, don’t have the chops to hold down the anti-genocide fort?) Can you believe the gall of an advocacy organization, which is becoming less politically relevant by the day, planning for a post-Darfur-focused existence to “save” the next best “victimized” group? I’m sure “victims” the world over will be dancing in the streets when they get word.

Oh yeah, before I return my attention to the final shortbread, why do you suppose the Save Darfur Coalition made the changes to the postcard language and not to the out-of-step Dollars for Darfur language? Hmm…

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