Darfur Benefit Concert

The Problem

The ongoing conflict of Darfur in western Sudan was started around February of 2003 and has had a destructive effect on the area. This conflict is based mostly on the lack of tolerance people have for other backgrounds and beliefs. The aggressors comprise of the Sudanese military, the Janjaweed, whom are supported by the government. While the Sudanese government publicly denies supporting the Janjaweed, it has given money and assistance to this militant group. The government has even participated in attacks against Sudanese Muslims and other groups. The attacks on the Sudanese people have created a humanitarian crisis which has, as the UN estimates, left as many as 450,000 dead from violence or disease. As of October 2006, 2.5 million Sudanese people were estimated to be displaced due to this conflict. The Sudanese government has also proceeded in suppressing information from the public by jailing and killing witnesses, tampering with evidence and eliminating forensic values. Although there is violence and possibly even genocide in the area there is some hope. There are rebel groups that oppose the Janjaweed, including the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement. Furthermore, the UN has passed several Resolutions but none of these have been upheld or enforced. Although there have been some attempts at resolving this problem, these diminutive efforts are not improving the situation in Darfur; but something must be done.

Plan of Action

Much careful thought was put into creating this benefit concert. The first thing I did was draw up a proposal of when the concert would be target the amount of money we would raise, and how to go about creating a difference. Then, with much consideration I picked out repertoire for the concert that would showcase the despair and hope in the Sudanese people. Afterwards, I asked certain artists to help me in my benefit concert. Also, I contacted a Sudanese artist, Khalid Kodi and informed him of the benefit concert and its goals. He agreed to help by allowing us by displaying his art in the art center during our concert. Furthermore, I then decided to ask many local businesses to endorse our concert and give donations. In turn I would put ads in the program. For the concert's success, the most important thing for the musicians was to practice. Since we were playing several chamber music pieces we had countless practices to ensure the quality of the concert. Although it is obvious that everyone put a lot of effort into this project, we did meet some difficulties. These arose in that many businesses were unwilling to donate. I had to learn to really educate others of the problems in Darfur so that they would be willing to cooperate. Also, I had to show others that they really could make a difference by any small step. Another problem I encountered was that a few musicians I asked to join the concert were very unaware and thus, indifferent, to the cause. I had to really educate and make them comprehend the terrible conditions in Darfur. In the end though, I was able to really find and work with those who truly cared about the outcome of not only the concert, but also the situation in Darfur. I feel that we made an impact that we were able to raise money to relieve at least some people in Darfur. Also, through this concert, I was able to bring together people of all different races, backgrounds and beliefs to aid a common cause. This then not only helped those in need but also tore down the walls of any semblance of intolerance in my own community. I feel that this is a great accomplishment because while we were promoting acceptance in other parts of the world I also helped promote open-mindedness in my own community.

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