Monday, February 26, 2007

John Conyers Dishonored Himself This Week-End

Congressman John Conyers, who is a hero of the netroots, frequently posting on Daily Kos, attended the rally of Louis Farrakhan this week-end in Detroit, calling it an appearance of "great historic signifigance".

At the rally, Farrakhan called on Bush to be impeached, which is something near and dear to Conyers heart, but also piped into this rally was a truly disgusting dictator, whose role in the event was well known in advance.

Louis Farrakhan has traveled to the Sudan before to meet with Omar Al-Bashir, the strong arm dictator of Sudan, who is the chief culprit of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Al-Bashir has been listed as the worst dictator on the planet, and for good reason. Well over 200,000 people have been killed by his forces. It's also estimated that over 5 million people have fled their homes against his brutal genocidal campaign.

In November, he argued that war-related deaths in Darfur were less than 9,000. Despite agreeing to a 60-day ceasefire last month, he has been accused by his people of ordering troops to continue their attacks.

The dictator Al-Bashir gets the invite to Farakkhan's rally, and through a satellite hook up tells a crowd of african-americans again this week-end that only 9,000 people have been killed in Darfur. The rest is lies.

I am not about to get into a long detailed rant about Farakkhan's anti-semetism, or even to look at the other side of the positive things he has done. This for me is about Representative Conyers by attending, by endorsing this conference has shamed himself in my eyes.

While we in the West are ignoring the rape, the murder, the genocide it makes it hard to get anybody to care about Darfur when our representatives hang out with kooks who want to lie about the unspeakable brutality that is going on in a part of world that sadly has no oil, or we would respond.

As somebody who admires John Conyers, I want to say shame on you. Shame on you. You have lowered yourself down to the level of Farakkhan and Al-Bashir and you don't wear it well.

Update:Al-Bashir denied the genocide on Friday. Conyers spoke on Sunday. I find this worse. A dictator is denying the crisis in Darfur he created, and John Conyers was aware of that when he came on Sunday. He didn't refute what Al-Bashir stated, although I am certain that Conyers knows better, proven by his track record with Darfur. One problem I have is the hypocrisy. Most liberals wouldn't tolerate a conservative Republican hanging out at a conference with a genocidal madman as a keynote speaker denying his actions. Yet, Conyers likely will get a pass on this.

Just because this was Farakkhan's final public appearance, it in no way should have stopped Conyers from telling the thousands of people, who heard the denial of events in Darfur, the truth. Speaking truth to power can be frightening. But a member of the US congress should feel obliged to not let a dictator get his say without rebutting it when he has the opportunity.