College Students Raise Money to Aid Darfur… With Mercenaries?

by Chris Borgen

Well, not really. The New Republic’s March 20 issue had a fascinating article on what happened when some well-meaning college students tried to raise money to provide assistance to Darfur. They didn’t want to just ship off some food aid but wanted to provide protection for women who were being preyed upon. They start a group called the Genocide Intervention Network and raise over a half-million dollars. What unfolds is a classic story of when the best of intentions meets bureaucracy after stultifying bureaucracy. And a few mercenaries. And, yet, some good might still be accomplished in the end. Here’s the opening:

Late last summer, Sam Bell set out to acquire an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). It was an unusual shopping expedition for a private citizen, much less a 22-year-old only a few months removed from his political science and philosophy studies at Swarthmore College. But, ever since graduation, and even while in school, Bell had been working to do what the U.S. government and the United Nations had so far failed to: stop the genocide in Darfur. He believed a UAV might help that goal, and so, one September afternoon, he put on his one-and-only suit and paid a visit to the Washington, D.C., offices of an aviation contractor called Evergreen International…

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