Madison has been on a hunger strike since July 12. He is demanding an immediate end to the Sudanese government’s obstruction of humanitarian aid to victims of the Sudanese genocide.
The situation in the Darfur region of the Sudan continues to grow more serious. Over the past year and a half, More than a million people have been driven from their homes and over 35,000 people have been killed. Yesterday, the Sudanese government organized a rally of 100,000 people to condemn a UN Security Council resolution setting a 30-day deadline for Sudan to disarm the Janjaweed militias responsible for the killings in Darfur. At yesterday”s rally, the demonstrators accused Secretary General Kofi Annan of collaborating with the United States and Israel.
Although no Western government has threatened to invade Sudan, Annan has mentioned the possibility of intervention. In neighboring Ethiopia yesterday, the African Union said it would send 1,600 to 1,800 peacekeepers to Darfur, but it is unclear when the force would be sent. Meanwhile, daily protests continue in front of the Sudanese embassy in Washington DC, where a coalition of human rights groups and church groups are calling on President Bush to condemn the Sudanese government and to label what is happening in Darfur genocide. In late June, the coalition, which is called the Sudan Campaign, launched a campaign of civil disobedience at the embassy. Among those who have been arrested are: Rep. Charles Rangel, New York; Fmr. Rep. Bob Edgar, current President of the National Council of Churches; Rep. Bobby Rush, Illinois; Rep. Joe Hoeffel, Pennsylvania; Activist Dick Gregory and Fmr. Congressional Delegate Walter Fauntroy. Meanwhile, radio talk show host and civil rights activist Joe Madison is on his third week of a hunger strike. This week he was arrested for the second time in front of the embassy. Last night, we sat down with Madison at the UNITY Conference here in Washington DC.