From Peyton Place to the Darfur Region
Published April 12th, 2007
Actor Mia Farrow visited North Central Florida Wednesday, but not to promote a new movie. The UNICEF Ambassador spoke at the University of Florida about the atrocities she witnessed in the Darfur Region of Sudan and the Florida Senate Bill she hopes will help end the suffering there.
The United States placed an embargo against Sudan under President Clinton, but there are still concerns linked to investments in some companies that support the government there; Senate Bill 2142 would dissociate the state of Florida from those moral and financial concerns, and it is a bill Farrow wholeheartedly supports.
Farrow said the mantra of her family is "with knowledge comes responsibility," and that mantra has led her to Sudan four times to acknowledge the horrors occuring in the Darfur Region.
"UNICEF first said, 'no, no it's too dangerous.' Then they let me go," Farrow said. "I got in, and I was a changed person. I left Darfur as a witness."
According to Farrow, China could play a major role in ending the suffering in Darfur, if the government elects to help. China could use its business dealings with Sudan as leverage to help bring a peace keeping force to the region. Until a solution is found, however, Farrow wants to spread the word about her visits to Sudan by speaking out against the Janjaweed militia.
Some University of Florida students attended the seminar to increase their own knowledge of the situation.
"In high school, I heard it mentioned, and I heard that a lot of people were dying, but I didn't really hear people talking about it," Freshman Will Fleet said.
Others were just learning of the situation and wanted to get the point of view of someone who has had her feet on the ground.
"We wanted to come and get some introspection from somebody that's been there a few times and get an idea what's really going on there," said Sophomore Will Lindberg.
And most realized that they would not find all the answers to the problem, but in a perfect would, the audience would at least leave with the desire to increase their own and others' awareness of the world situation.
"I would love to think that people would walk out of here and just question a little bit more," the Civic Media Center's Joe Courter said.
Farrow said she hopes to inspire the Gator nation to seek change, and that journey starts at home.
"The students here are so impassioned and properly outraged and angry and galvanized to do something that I feel the world and the future belongs to them."
By Ted Latiak, WCJB TV20 News
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