In follow-up to their bestseller Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond (2007), Prendergast, a human-rights activist and co-founder of the Enough Project, and actor Cheadle urge ordinary citizens to take action against genocide, the recruitment of child soldiers and the use of rape as a war weapon in African nations.
Hoping to galvanize readers, the authors trace the history of these “heinous and despicable” war tactics, which have resulted in some 10 million deaths in the last 20 years in east and central Africa, and tell the stories of U.S. and African activists who have worked to foster the political will and policies needed to put an end to these abuses. The authors demonstrate how individuals can reach the point where they feel “enough is enough” when it comes to human-rights outrages, and actually do something as a result. Examples include: An Ohio minister, moved by a newspaper story, got church members to participate in rallies and petition drives to help survivors of war in Darfur; students visiting Uganda witnessed an attack involving child soldiers of the Lord’s Resistance Army and created a group that involves hundreds of thousands of young people in efforts to end the child militia. An award-winning filmmaker met rape victims in the war-torn Congo, wondered why the world isn’t “tearing its hair out at the horror of this” and made the widely viewed film The Greatest Silence (2007), which sparked global action. Focusing on genocide in Darfur, child-soldier recruitment in Uganda and sexual violence in the Congo, Prendergast and Cheadle chronicle actions by diverse individuals, including survivors, teachers and journalists, as well as such celebrities as Sheryl Crow and Angelina Jolie. Noting that the Obama Administration’s strong stand against human-rights crimes makes this an opportune moment for activists to press for action, the authors suggest a comprehensive strategy for ending each wartime abuse. They list more than a dozen ways in which people can take a stand, from calling government officials to organizing teach-ins.
Sometimes overblown and repetitive, but an important, valuable toolkit that will inspire many.