John Prendergast is Co-Chair of the Enough Project, an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity. During the Clinton administration, John was involved in a number of peace processes in Africa while he was director of African Affairs at the National Security Council and special advisor at the Department of State. John has also worked for members of Congress, the United Nations, humanitarian aid agencies, human rights organizations, and think tanks, as well as having been a youth counselor and basketball coach.
He has authored eight books on Africa, including Not on Our Watch, a New York Times bestseller and NAACP non-fiction book of the year that he co-authored with actor Don Cheadle. John is now working on two new books for publication by Random House, one that focuses on his 25 years in the Big Brother program, and the other on human rights and peace activism.
John has helped produce a number of documentaries and he consults on scripts for movies and for television shows, including an episode of NBC’s “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” which focused on child soldiers. He also has taken a number of television news programs to Africa, including “Nightline” and “The Lehrer Newshour,” and has been part of a series of episodes of CBS’ “60 Minutes” which earned an Emmy Award for Best Continuing News Coverage. With NBA stars Tracy McGrady, Baron Davis, and Derek Fisher, he co-founded the Darfur Dream Team Sister Schools Program, which connects schools in the United States with schools in the Darfurian refugee camps. He also helped create the Raise Hope for Congo Campaign aimed at ending violence against women and girls in the Congo, and is currently helping to produce a series of videos highlighting the issue of Congo’s conflict minerals.
His op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the International Herald Tribune, and he has been profiled in Vanity Fair, Men’s Vogue, Entertainment Weekly, GQ Magazine, Oprah Magazine, Capitol File, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. John travels regularly to Africa’s war zones on fact-finding missions, peace-making initiatives, and awareness-raising trips. He is a visiting professor at the University of San Diego and the American University in Cairo.
I’m joining this fast today in solidarity with the people of Darfur, who for six long years have borne the brunt of violence and suffering orchestrated by their own government. As if the brute violence wasn’t enough, Khartoum now is inflicting further trauma on civilians by expelling the aid agencies that were providing life-saving food, water, and medical supplies. President Bashir’s retaliatory move, which came in reaction to the International Criminal Court’s warrant for his arrest, is further evidence that the government of Sudan thinks it can treat its own citizens as pawns. This is unacceptable.
As we fast to draw attention to this latest devastating situation in Darfur, we must also look for ways to press our leaders to develop a strategic vision for U.S. policy aimed at ENDING the cycle of war and famine in Darfur, rather than simply managing the genocidal consequences. What’s needed is for the U.S. to commit to leading the international effort to build a credible peace process in Darfur and to rebuild a viable mechanism to oversee the implementation of the North-South deal.
There will always be immediate crises to address. As activists, we must, of course, press our government do everything it can to address these crises of the day. But we must also keep our eyes on the longer-term prize: a peaceful, democratic Sudan. That should be President Obama’s top priority, and his envoy to Sudan, General Scott Gration, should organize U.S. efforts and work multilaterally to achieve this objective.