Harry Potter Fans Unite to Save Darfur: Special Podcast, Activities and More

Jul 10, 2007

Posted by Melissa Anelli
Uncategorized

We have a very special announcement today, one we hope you’ll pass on to as many of your friends and colleagues as you can. As we approach the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and fans around the world come together to celebrate, fans are yet again teaming up to make a difference. We’ve talked about the Harry Potter Alliance before; this group encourages fans to use the messages in the Harry Potter books to help make a difference in the world. And now there’s a concrete way to do just that.

As many of you know or have read, Darfur, a region in Africa, is currently under a horrendous regime of genocide and brutality. It is, to quote HPA founder Andrew Slack, probably the worst thing happening in the world right now. It’s allowed to continue for many reasons, a chief one among them being the willingness of leaders to do virtually nothing about it. That’s where Harry Potter fans come in.

Many Harry Potter webmasters have spoken out about this before. MuggleCast‘s Laura Thompson runs Operation Sudan, which has raised thousands to aid the region. Veritaserum.com‘s founder, Matthew Vines, a teenager, has successfully advocated in his local area to divert more than $38 million from the corrupt regime, an act of tenacity that has probably saved thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of lives.

We’re asking you to join in the effort today. Through the Harry Potter Alliance, Harry Potter webmasters are helping fans educate, inform and act, if they wish.

Shortly we will be putting out a special podcast, released through PotterCast‘s feed, that will feature interviews with world leaders on this subject, including leading human rights activist John Prenderdergast, and retired diplomat Joseph C. Wilson (author of The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife’s CIA Identity: A Diplomat’s Memoir).

It will feature appearances by wizard rock bands Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys, The Remus Lupins, and more. Matthew Vines will be talking about his experiences fighting injustice in the Sudan. It will explain what’s happening and what you can do about it, and we’re very excited to bring it to you. Each uncut interview will also appear online later, if you would like to hear more.

We also have information for you about how to get involved right now, by having or attending a house party leading to DH. At these house parties, themed around Harry and the messages of love and hope within them, there are several activities you and your friends can take part in to help raise awareness and have fun while doing it. They range from lighting a candle, to sending an email, to writing a letter, to calling special awareness hotlines.

You can read all about these efforts and what you can do to help out here. For more information about the house parties, visit this page.

We will have much more about this in the coming days. In the meantime if you would like to join the effort, host a house party, or simply send messages of support, please contact Jenn at jenn@thehpalliance.org or visit the Harry Potter Alliance web site and MySpace.

More soon!





90 Responses to Harry Potter Fans Unite to Save Darfur: Special Podcast, Activities and More

Avatar Image says:

FIRST WOO!!

Avatar Image says:

Thanks for the info on such an important topic. It is important to get involved and do what you can to make a difference. I glad that thos of us who love Harry Potter are willing to stand up and help make a differenc.

Avatar Image says:

The church I work for in the summer has been raising money to help with this atrocity for the last 3-4 years and it is sad that it is just now coming to light (it seems the US govt has been more worried about Iraq than a true area of genocide). Anyways, it is great to see that the word is going out about this. There are many foundations now for this, so if you are looking to help financially as well there are many opportunitis out there.

Avatar Image says:

Thank you so much for doing this. I have been concerned about Darfur for over three years at a summer camp that I went to, and I think that this issue is so important. It is so cool that the main theme of Harry potter (love) inspires us to help others. I can’twait to hear the podcast! I just can’t put into words how awesome this is that people want to help others in a time wher this rarely happens. Thank you so much.

Avatar Image says:

Strong work Potter peeps, and kudos for bringing awareness to the atrocities in Darfur.

Avatar Image says:

Dear Melissa -

I appreciate the effort, really, and also your willingness (and that of the other multipliers in the HP world) to use the power of the fandom for good. Just two things:

First, very important: I sincerely hope that you make every effort to coordinate whatever means you raise or whatever other actions you undertake with those professional international aid organizations and activists who work on Sudan and know what they’re doing. I’ve had opportunity to witness, in Kosovo, the many ways in which well-meaning but ultimately clueless efforts from abroad can contribute to make life for everyone involved harder, if they’re not coordinated accordingly. I’m just an analyst, so I cannot claim hands-on expertise for myself, but I have observed first and second hand the dangers that lie in this. But I am sure you’ve heard this before (even perhaps from the people still working in New Orleans?).

Second, Sudan is a country, not a region (presumably you meant the Darfur region in Sudan?). Again, I am sure you know this, and it was an inadvertent mistake, but it is the sort of mistake that makes especially us rich Westerners look superficial and too arrogant to care or to get it right. Not saying you are in fact any of these things; just that the impression is too easily created.

Also, Sudan is a rich country – Khartoum, the capital, is quite the boomtown, in fact. The problem is not so much that they don’t have any money, or that the country does not have plenty of potential wealth. It is much more a case of political oppression and cronyism, that is, the money goes into the wrong pockets.

So – in short, I am not sure fundraising for Sudan would be the right way to go on this one. I am curious what else you have in mind … Again: thanks for the initiative.

Avatar Image says:

this is amazing, I’m so glad that harry potter fans are helping with such an incredibly important cause. it gives fans an even more important reason to unite.

Avatar Image says:

No one’s raising money for the country – this is an effort to divert money away from the government funding the genocide. Pleaes read the pages we linked to for more information, for more information.

Sorry for the country/region mixup; lots of info and edits, things get switched around.

Thanks guys!

Avatar Image says:

Hey Artemisia,

You know your stuff! Just to let you know this effort is being coordinated with leaders of the Genocide Intervention Network, STAND, the ENOUGH Project, and Fidelity Out of Sudan. So we are making sure that all of our efforts are being done as effectively as possible to stop the genocide in Darfur. Also, the fund raising done on this issue generally goes toward protecting refugees from continual attacks as well as food, shelter, and medicine to people in Darfur or neighboring Chad who need it. Most of the efforts of this house party, however, will go toward supporting our leaders and businesses to take an effective stand against the genocide.

I hope you can join us in our efforts!

Andrew

Avatar Image says:

Hey Leaky -

Any update on the money raised for Book Aid?

Avatar Image says:

Lets not get political. There is absolutely nothing that we say or do that will make any difference. We raise money and instead of it makeing it to the people it was raised for, it goes into some middlemans pocket. It just makes other people rich. Lets keep Leaky just for the Harry Potter books and enjoy it for as long as it lasts. Get off of the soap box.

Avatar Image says:

“Lets not get political. There is absolutely nothing that we say or do that will make any difference. We raise money and instead of it makeing it to the people it was raised for, it goes into some middlemans pocket. It just makes other people rich. Lets keep Leaky just for the Harry Potter books and enjoy it for as long as it lasts. Get off of the soap box.”

That is the easy choice not the right choice. I’m gland the harry potter community is doing this.

Avatar Image says:

Personally, I don’t think this is about being “political” it’s about choosing what’s right over what’s easy. I think Hermione would be proud of us all. :-)

Avatar Image says:

Whoa, emerald. All respect due, but the attitude that nothing we do makes a difference is pretty heavily disputed in HP, and, well, just in general. The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing, a wise person once said. (that’s a paraphrase, however.)

Anyway, every little bit does help.

Avatar Image says:

Guys -

glad to hear it. Currently, I’m on the road again in Europe, but I’ll definitely be checking out in more detail what you’re up to … I’ve never looked at the effects of grass-roots lobbying on transnational financial interactions, that sounds quite intriguing. Nor have I visited the HP Alliance before … you turn your head, and the fandom’s expanded into a new dimension, again.

Cheers, A.

Avatar Image says:

I hope everyone gets involved as the HP Alliance have set out some really simple and effective things for us to do. Even if it wasn’t easy, we should all do it anyway just because it’s right. We’re a big fanbase, and we have power in numbers, emerald. Those numbers of people is what will make politicians etc. pay attention, so why don’t we make them? I don’t see the logic in saying that TLC or anyone for that matter is “standing on a soapbox” per se if good will come out of it.

Avatar Image says:

Thanks for this.

I don’t see anything in this post about fundraising so I don’t really understand the posts questioning that. As your links show this particular issue is about speaking truth to power, not about raising money.

The idea that all groups that attempt to do good in the world are corrupt and that all the money raised for good causes just goes to make a few people rich is simply not true. I have worked in the non-profit world much of my adult life and while I certainly have seen MUCH imperfection I have also seen a lot of good done. I have seen better and worse uses of money—but I have not seen anyone getting rich. If you do give money do your research and be smart but please don’t write off the whole idea just because you hear a few disheartening stories.

As far as “not getting political”... well. Everything we do is political. One can not be alive and living within any society without committing political acts everyday. I have a hard time imagining what sort of reading of the HP books could result in the attitude of “nothing that we say or do that will make any difference”—wow.

I am not saying that I think everyone has to get involved in this issue - of course not. If you are not into this just move along - nothing for you in this post. I don’t see the need to try and convince others not to try and make a better world.

Avatar Image says:

One thing I’ve always appreciated about J.K. Rowling is that she uses her influence and money for genuinely good causes. I like that Leaky is doing the same thing. I’ve been passively concerned about Darfur, but I think I’ll use this opportunity that The Leaky Cauldron is providing to get more involved.

Avatar Image says:

Um… Wow, emerald. Exactly Melissa. Go Edmund Burke. And this isn’t about politics—it’s about saving people’s lives. A genocide is going on, and the more we do to help the victims, the quicker the genocide can be over. Also, there really is no way to help the victims without going through middlemen, because of the Sudanese government. Furthermore, the middlemen you speak of are organizations who are also dedicated to end the genocide in Darfur, and businesses that can do more than we can. Like Melissa said, every little bit helps.

Avatar Image says:

I applaud the Leaky Cauldron and all parties of importance involved in the Harry Potter fandom for devoting their time, energy, and resources into bringing attention to and confronting the crisis in Darfur. American culture, overall, presently seems apathetic at most to what is happening overseas and that is highly alarming. Hopefully this campaign can begin to rectify that problem.

Dumbledore would certainly want to thank you for doing this.

Avatar Image says:

I don’t know how many people know the history of Darfur, but this is the fourth year running of this genocide. That is definitely four years too long. I encourage everyone to go take a look at www.savedarfur.org, and sign the online petitions, and take a look at this video ad that will be airing on TV starting tomorrow. http://ga6.org/campaign/enough_ad/forward/ixwk3db2fwent6t?

Please take a look at the video and pass it on to your family and friends. The more people know about it, the better.

Avatar Image says:

Inaction and apathy are political choices. They are the political choices of Cornelius Fudge and those in the real world who have stood idly in the face of atrocity. The wish to be apathetic is one of the most powerful and political choices a person can make…for it contributes to the death of the innocent. Our love for Harry Potter can help remind us that our love is the most powerful thing in the world. And we Harry Potter fans can be a real Dumbledore’s Army. I am so sad that the last book is coming out. But what better way to send Harry off than joining him in the fight to raise awareness and battle the Dark Arts in the real world? Thank you for posting this Leaky!

Avatar Image says:

Are all harry potter fan sites involved, like the snitch.com and harrypotterfanzone.com, and all others?

Again, thank you so much for doing this. I’m proud.

Avatar Image says:

In the words of one Alfredo Linguini:

“LET’S DO THIS THING!!!!”

Come on, Jo’s Army!!! We can DO IT!!!

Avatar Image says:

Opps. Did not mean to strike through in my post above. Sorry.

Avatar Image says:

This is fantastic! Thank you, Leaky!!!

It is easy and sanitary to stick to HP content and keep this site fun. But it ignores the tremendous impact this group could have on an incredibly important issue. Well-meaning, well-organized groups can speak volumes to leaders about what they want and don’t want.

How many years did the world stand by while the Nazis committed genocide?  What was the world spending their time on instead of stopping genocide then?  Did they choose the easy path because they wanted to keep their lives free of the messy reality of life?

Jo herself has set the tremendous example of how one can positively use his/her power to focus attention on issues that need attention.

“Every great wizard in history has started out as nothing more than what we are now. If they can do it, why not us?”

Avatar Image says:

Thank you Leaky for doing this. It looks like a well organized campaign and I’m happy to support it. I especially think the campus collaboration is important. Student activism played a major role in ending the apartheid regime in S. Africa and I think organizing on campuses is a very effective strategy. I have been supporting organizations like Oxfam on this issue, but I’m thrilled to support through my Harry Potter community as well. This is yet another reason to be proud of my membership in the Harry Potter fandom.

Peace, love, & justice, Tanya (a.k.a. wemoonwitch)

Avatar Image says:

“There is absolutely nothing that we say or do that will make any difference.”

Sorry, but that is a terrifying attitude. And I am quite sure that was the attitude of the Allies whilst the Nazis were carrying out there own horrific brand of genocide. Just, wow…

Thank you for this TLC.

Avatar Image says:

Poster “dumbledore”’s comment (above) sums it up beautifully. I’m proud belong to a fandom that strives to defeat the Dark Arts in the real world.

So, I look forward to learning more about the details of this particular effort, and I applaud the organizers for taking the initiative.

Avatar Image says:

I am really proud that Leaky and the HP alliance are making this huge and historic contribution to wiping out this atrocity. And really glad that ignorant twits like Emerald, and anyone else who thinks this is a “political” issue and not one of HUMAN LIVES, has been put in their place.

Avatar Image says:

We appreciate the effort for Dafur, but until the corrupt governments of Africa leave, it would be a waste of time and money for over there.

Avatar Image says:

This is something everyone needs to get into. I am 13 and I would be so scared if these things happened to me. Like what Mellisa said,”Every little bit does help.” And it does. Those people need help and on the world people try there best to help and do every little thing they can. I think it is great to forget about Harry Potter for a while and forcus on these people that need help.

Avatar Image says:

It is absolutely wonderful that Leaky is supporting this. While we DO have to be careful on whom we give our money too because some people do use charity to get money, I do trust Leaky for allying with those who have good intentions.

Like many said, every small bit counts as helping because some politicians aren’t doing anything. And I’m so glad that the HP fandom is part of this. Jo Rowling, herself, supports many charity. She’s all about giving back and to not do something this would be shameful of a fandom.

Avatar Image says:

Just to point out, this event that the HP Alliance and Leaky are putting together seems to applaud giving money, but if you read what they are doing, it’s more than giving money. It seems that they are asking people to call their leaders and ask them to care about this most important issues. This is a surprisingly effective tactic. Also, the frightening truth of the matter is that the government of Sudan is not paying for genocide out of thin air. It’s costing them a fortune. And they are getting the money from Chinese oil companies who are getting their money from a Boston based company called Fidelity Investments. People all over the world are astonished to find out that their well intentioned investments in Fidelity Bank is actually being funneled to eventually end up in the hands of those who are committing this genocide. But the world is responding. FidelityOutofSudan, the Sudan Divsetment Task Force, and Save Darfur Coalition are pressuring Fidelity to stop investing their money in genocide. As they say, “genocide is a bad investment.” There are very real things that each of us can do, like going to Fidelity Out of Sudan and signing a petition, or calling 1-800-GENOCIDE and talking to our leaders. These things can help change the world and end this genocide.

Avatar Image says:

my friend at school only ate what people in Dufur and Sudan eat and passed around papers and asked for donations it was really cool of him to do it. He got over $100 just from school. $100 wont stop the genocide but evey little bit does help and i will do as much as i can to help. Why shouldnt America help we went to war and now were helping that country why not help people who really need it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Avatar Image says:

The good news is that there are very effective things that the US and other governments can do to end this genocide without engaging in a serious war.

Avatar Image says:

I am so proud of my fandom!

Avatar Image says:

The only thing to be done in these regions is a REGIME CHANGE! We did it in Iraq and the media of America went insane about it, and still is. Heck, probably most of you on this site are against the war in Iraq, but now you’re calling for something similiar in Darfur? Make up your minds.

And yes, this is political. Spreading awareness does nothing, as everyone already knows about it, and even if they don’t, what will knowing about it help? Wearing a ribbon is useless. The only thing that can be done to solve this problem is war. The leadership must be taken out, since that is where the problem is. How do you remove a horrendous government other than war?

Peace comes after victory. History has proven it time and again. Talking didn’t stop Hitler, it didn’t stop Hussein, Stalin, anyone. Awareness is only useful if it demands action, and action isn’t diplomacy. Action is war.

And Leaky, in the future, if you want to do something that is worthy of Dumbledore, why not raise awareness about Abortion, since no one is talking about that. Oh what, it’ll open a can of worms? Oh, is it controversial?

It’s your site so you can do whatever you wish with it. But I’m so sorry to see you go political. Stick to Harry Potter and Jo Rowling. Don’t push agendas of ANY kind, right or left wing. That isn’t what this site was supposed to be about.

Avatar Image says:

I won’t try to express what others have already said much better than I could have.

MANY THANKS to Leaky and the Harry Potter Alliance!

I’m with you.

Avatar Image says:

“Peace comes after victory. History has proven it time and again. Talking didn’t stop Hitler, it didn’t stop Hussein, Stalin, anyone. Awareness is only useful if it demands action, and action isn’t diplomacy. Action is war.”

This is a ridiculous statement. Just the line “History has proven” shows your lack of understanding of history. There have been plenty of examples of non-violent responses to oppression that have been effective. Granted none have been without cost, but war isn’t without cost either.

Stop generalizing and creating laws of action about how the world works from a few examples of partial history. For every example of a war that brought about positive social change (American Revolution), there are examples of similar actions making things worse and deteriorating the situation further (French Revolution). In fact, resorting to violence to achieve change can sometimes lead to further oppression as people look for anyway to stop the violence.

Ultimately, foreign relations are a complex thing that we must think carefully about. I don’t see Leaky encouraging anything else. If Melissa and these other webmasters feel strongly that they must act, then more power to them, as long as they act responsibly and carefully, which it seems that they are.

Avatar Image says:

Interesting: “Stick to Harry Potter and Jo Rowling. Don’t push agendas of ANY kind, right or left wing.”

Ah forgive me, but I am afraid that I do not see how this has any thing to do with left or right politics. Indeed, in the US politicians on both sides of the aisle agree that something needs to be done about the genocide in Darfur. Though many of them are too afraid to act on that because they have not heard from their constituents.

Which brings us to this question of Harry Potter fans and what this has to do with Harry and Jo Rowling. I believe that waking our Ministries and Daily Prophets up to the genocide in Darfur is something that Harry would do. In fact, if I am not mistaken, the book that I read involves a young man named Harry Potter waking the Ministry of Magic up to Voldemort’s return. It appears that you feel frustrated just as the rest of us that there is such suffering in the world and look to Harry Potter as an escape.

But Harry does not shirk from the world. Why should his fans? Harry Potter changed the world. Why can’t his fans?

And why wouldn’t we, when we have the numbers and we have the heart to do it? We can do it.

As for this idea that nothing can be done other than regime change, this is not accurate. The current regime in Sudan has stopped human rights abuses twice in the last twelve years due to economic pressure. All we need to do is cut off their supply of money and they will most likely stop the genocide. Peace keeping forces from the UN will help protect the people there as well.

It seems like an amazing thing when the fans of a hero take a page from that hero and start acting like him. Hermione and Dumbledore would be beaming at the Harry Potter fandom right now.

Avatar Image says:

AgainstTheNannyState,

after all that blah blah blah, I still don’t get you. you actually think that stopping genocide is republic or democrate thing?

Avatar Image says:

Sorry, but have to agree with AgainstThe NannyState. Physical force will be the only way to effect a change in Sudan and who (i.e. what country) wants to be the one to go over there and do that?

I truly regret that the HP Alliance has chosen to mix Potter and politics.

Avatar Image says:

To AgainstTheNannyState-

I don’t enjoy controversy, and I detest arguing, but I feel I need to say this in response to your post. As I get older I have learned how little I truly know. Most who age feel the same way; those that don’t learn this are generally angry and unhappy. I have yet to see the harm that comes from trying to be kind. Jo, in her books has taught us that; keep love and hope in your hearts and treat everyone (and everyTHING) kindly. TLC and PotterCast are trying to take that message that we have read about in Jo’s wonderful books and make it a reality. Can that really be a bad thing? Can it? Imagine if everyone treated each other better than they treated themselves…

Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. -Ernest Hemingway

Peace to you all, Mrs. dMP

Avatar Image says:

“I truly regret that the HP Alliance has chosen to mix Potter and politics.” Posted by twinny on July 10, 2007 @ 08:31 PM

Many people seem to share your opinion. Its funny though, because no one complained when the Harrypotterseven.com campaign pushed for donations to Book Aid.

And I see the push for literacy as a highly political issue. When it comes down to it, any charitable effort is a political activity. The HP Alliance is supporting politics, in so much only that it is supporting the end of genocide.

But then again I suppose if you’re not a fan of charity, yes it is a shame the HP alliance is venturing into politics.

Avatar Image says:

dumbledore – economic sanctions generally don’t work. (Think Cuba). They tend to place hardships on the general population rather than the government. And as far as the UN sending over peacekeeping forces, guess what? They are already there and have been since 2005.

Any way, I am done here. I’ll check back in a couple days when all of this has blown over and we get back on topic – HP!

Avatar Image says:

If you are to donate funds or fund raise (and that is an option listed), your money will be directed to the Genocide Intervention Network, then they keep 50% (to maintain their operation) and the rest is given to the AU (African Union), which is then supposed to be distributed to the AU peacekeepers who, contrary to the Genocide Interventions web site, do use the funds to purchase weapons (for defense purposes only, which I am not against, although some of you may be) and pay for supplies and deployments for the AU troops to Darfur.

There has been criticism from Africans about the AU:

Jupiter Punungwe of Zimbabwe has written: “I don’t think the so-called African Union goes much beyond being a club of rich and corrupt African leaders. I don’t think it will go beyond giving Africa’s leaders the opportunity to hold lavish and expensive conferences and shower luxurious vehicles upon themselves.”

I am not claiming the criticism is true, or not, or otherwise.

However, I feel compelled to offer some general advice.

Before you get involved in this, or any cause, please research it completely (on your own) and make sure the cause you are supporting is a cause that you believe in and feel is right.

I am glad that many of you have hearts of gold and wish to help, but please make sure you know whom and what you are helping.

Avatar Image says:

Just a couple more thoughts: The idea that war is the only real solution to an oppressive and corrupt regime is based upon a very narrow interpretation of what needs to be solved. Look at an example from American History.

The civil war is an example often used to justify the need for war to end oppression. In many ways the civil war brought about an end to an evil practice in America and freed millions of people, despite the many other factors that influenced the fighting of the war. Yet, the work was not finished with the end of the war. Despite efforts to reform southern, and wider American society, African-Americans found themselves in a very similar situation for the next 100 years.

The war ended the institution of slavery it did not end the kind of thinking and sense of superiority that allowed one group of people to see themselves as better than another. This change came through primarily non-violent, and grass roots rebellion (sometimes violent) that began to change peoples hearts and minds.

In South Africa, black tribes faced oppression by a white minority for many years. Their leaders were jailed and murdered purely for speaking out against this regime. International pressure eventually led, with no fighting, to the ending of apartheid in South Africa. Nelson Mandela, who spent many years in jail, became the leader of the new regime.

One of the most interesting parts of the South African regime change was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which allowed people to come forth and openly confess what they had done without fear of reprisals. The idea was that everything would get out in the open and then people could move on.

I am not saying that this is a perfect method, some have decried the lack of justice for those who committed attrocities, but it is an interesting example of a non-violent way of creating a regime change. It didn’t happen overnight, and it isn’t perfect, but neither is war.

Back to Darfur, I think that Dumbledore’s line about each of us facing the choice between what is right and what is easy is instructive. It might be the easy way out to “wear a ribbon”, but so is criticizing those who want to take a stand, however small, against an evil they see, because you can absolve yourself of the need to act by claiming that only war will solve the problem (which is ridiculous).

Avatar Image says:

Economic sanctions have worked on the government of Sudan on two separate occassions. But it can’t just happen from one country.

Avatar Image says:

This isn’t right or left wing: This is about stopping murder. And this isn’t about raising money – this is about helping people wake up to the injustice of what’s happening and how it can be stopped. Thanks all for your kindness and spirit. :)

Melissa

Avatar Image says:

Campaigning to stop the genocide in Darfur is not a left-right issue. The poster who idiotically suggested that abortion should be first on the list ought to be ashamed of themselves – this is not a place for religious pontification.

Darfur presents a complex problem, but at the moment the Sudanese government and its sponsored militias – particularly the Janjaweed – are carrying out the worst massacre of this century. 400,000 at least are dead, and 2.5 million more displaced. While I think it is outside the remit of this blog to call for regime change or troops on the ground, support for humanitarian relief and the raising of awareness is indispensable.

So thank you to Leaky for highlighting the issue, and shame on the nutcase trying to make this about abortion.

Avatar Image says:

Yes, that was exactly what I was going to say. There are many things that have to do with politics, but I still don’t understand how stopping a genocide is. Both right-winger and left-wingers agree that the genocide needs to be stopped. About how HP should be separated from politics: Once again, stopping the genocide in Darfur is not about politics, as it is not divided by political parties (at least in America). As someone said before me, nobody complained about Bookaid. So why is there all this controversy?

Leaky and HP alliance are just taking advantage of the fact that many people know about them and listen to them to educate people about this genocide and inform them of ways to help. Is this wrong? I don’t think so. They are concerned for people who are being murdered because of ther ethnicity.

The themes of HP are about doing good for other and love. We should take these themes and do something about them.

Avatar Image says:

I went to a John Prendergast speech a few months ago, very good.

Avatar Image says:

Thank you Leaky for trying to bring attention and trying to do something about Darfur.

I'm not even that educucated about all the problems in the region, and just know the gist of it, which is exactly why bringing attention to this matter is important. And at least I know something, but a lot of people don't know anything at all, which is a shame.
Our governments' leaders are now just trying to do something (I know Bush is giving financial aid and that Tony Blair wanted to give more to Africa in general), but from what I've heard most aren't doing anything. And the media, at least in U.S., is giving too little information and developments on the problem there, which is probably the second biggest important world-wide event behind the Iraq War, IMHO.
By educating all the Harry Potter fans who log on you are educating A LOT of people, people which can ask their governments to do more. And I do believe that most Harry Potter fans are compassionate, caring, and activist-type individuals, which is probably why we are so drawn to Harry Potter, which J.K. has infused with these themes. I for one can't wait to do something about this urgent matter.

Thank you again and sorry for the long post.

P.S. It won’t be long before more ignorant and non-compassionate people start posting that this has nothing to do with Harry Potter and that it shouldn’t be in a HP news site. And you know what? Since most of us care about these people it doesn’t bother us if we are learning about something extremely important that doesn’t relate to Harry Potter. And like I said, spiritually it does relate to Harry Potter:)

Avatar Image says:

What’s the connection between Darfur and WalMart? This site has a prominent link to some campaign against WalMart. How is that going to help starving people in Darfur? I don’t see the connection.

Avatar Image says:

Wow, everyone’s getting all upset over a small act of human kindness. I’ll be the first to admit that my mind doesn’t go to Darfur when I think of tragedy, simply because my father and thousands of other men and women are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. However, I don’t see any agenda pushing or anything like that. Melissa didn’t say “you’re a bad person if you don’t do this,” she did not use any means to persuade or convince people that this is the only important thing. She’s spreading the word and supporting a good cause. She’s not telling anyone to send money, either. Anyway, Melissa, keep up the fabulous work and don’t let close-minded people let you down.

Avatar Image says:

Harry Potter goes political, wow.

Avatar Image says:

Leaky, I love you. It’s so wonderful to see how Harry Potter can help the world… you’re all an inspiration.

Avatar Image says:

Good job on picking some very just causes to support. :)

Avatar Image says:

I’m quite confused. Since when did charity and/or the discussion of atrocities become political? People are dying, and starving people have no political affiliations. Which country’s politics, anyways? As far as I could tell, the site is visited by people from all around the world. Not to mention the fact that most people, on most points in the political stream are against what is occurring.

If some want to say it’s wrong, and they want their governments (whoever they are or whatever they do) to be a part of murder, fantastic.

And if some don’t want to do anything, and wish to cover that annoyingly niggling thing called conscience by saying this is political or nothing good can come out of this, do many a favour, keep it to yourselves. I think it’s far more immoral to attempt to convince others not to help the suffering than to just sit back, keep silent, and watch the suffering continue unabated.

As for the suggestion of regime-change, don’t be ridiculous. Regimes can only feasibly change for the good of the people if the people themselves lead the change. The outside world can help them in multiple ways, either by refusing to deal with the oppressive regime unless they relax their harsh actions, secretly assisting those who wish to do good and so on. But that rarely happens. Usually, the ones who are assisted are no better than the ones who are being replaced.

Sorry about that. Great work, Leaky, HPA and whoever is doing to help. If all you gain is more people aware of what’s going on, that’s an action honourable in itself.

Avatar Image says:

Sorry, made a typo. I meant:

If some want to say it’s wrong, and they want their governments (whoever they are or whatever they do) to NOT be a part of murder, fantastic.

Forgot the not part.

Avatar Image says:

This is wonderful. I’m using somebody else’s computer right now, but I can’t wait to learn more about the effort. Thank you very much for putting this up.

“Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that every has.” – Margaret Meade

Avatar Image says:

Every little bit does help. Whatever funds are raised must be used positively to stop this genocide. But how? What is the strategy?

I am most fascinated to know more about this Mathew Vines and how he has saved thousand lives. How did he do it? Sounds to me like a great humanitarian and ultimate hero at such a young age.

But what is the strategy? How will the Potter parties help? How can we avoid our fund raising going into the wrong pockets? It does happen so how do we avoid the curroption? How exactly do we help the people whos lives are in potential danger?

I live in the UK, does the HPA extend to here anywhere?

I want to help but I want to be assured it is done in the right way.

Avatar Image says:

We don’t we unite behind the USA and win the war we are in rather then start looking for another one. This is nothing but more Hollywood patheticness (ya made that word up). Americans need to grow a spine! All they are, are a bunch of losers.

Avatar Image says:

“his is nothing but more Hollywood patheticness (ya made that word up)”....that is not all you made up. You also made up the fact that this is about Hollywood just because there are Hollywood actors who care. Actually, I don’t think it’s very Hollywood to see 400,000 people slaughtered and do nothing about it.

Beyond that, this is not about entering a new war. There are many solutions that can be employed that are not being employed to bring this genocide to an end.

Avatar Image says:

Hey,

The HP Alliance exists all over the world! But we aren’t just raising money. We’re calling on people to contact their leaders. You can read more about it by going to www.thehpalliance.org/houseparties

Avatar Image says:

I think this is a great move. The human rights abuses need to be stopped. The people who are being negative about this should first listen to the podcast when they put it up instead of jumping to conclusions about it being political. And since when did helping people become political. I don’t like to argue but some of the comments made here are really ignorant. Can’t wait to hear the podcast.

Avatar Image says:

Just came home from watching the imax 3d screening at 12 01 am and it was amazing I have to see it again!

Avatar Image says:

Has anybodybody else seen the movie? I live in Australia and somehow, the movie has come out a day early, on the 11th of July. Ths is probably the wrong place to write this but I was surprised to find that there weren’t any comments about the movie yet.

Avatar Image says:

Psychologists fear withdrawal symptoms by Potter addicts

Whilst Harry Potter and the Deathly hallows may be set to break all records, it has also set publishers around the world scrambling to find a credible alternative for ‘Potter fever.’ Millions of dollars are being spent marketing books that are being touted as the next ‘big’ thing. Day by day this list grows, with one US blogspot recording over seventy titles that want to take on the JK Rowling mantle of fame. The names of these books read like the starting line of the Kentucky Derby. Many are Potter clones with teen wizards, strange names and dragons popping out of every shadow. All have villains, magic spells and young hero’s. One offering that shall remain nameless had a young super wizard casting a spell to turn his enemy to ice with the words…’freezio – stiffio…’ where have we heard that before? How did any editor allow such a travesty of literature to happen.

Despite the end of Potter and the publishing worlds scramble to cash in, the last book in the series could also bring about something more serious. Some psychologists are worried that the bi yearly production of the Potter saga may have addicted a number of children without them knowing and they could face a period of agonizing withdrawal. Symptoms could include the child bursting into tears for no apparent reason, ranting and shouting and endlessly re reading the final book in disbelief that it is all over. Other problems of withdrawal could be the child wanting to stay in bed in the morning and not communicating with their parents or doing homework. Workers at Summer Camps are also worried of the effect the ending of the Potter phenomena could have on moral. Parents have been re assured that counseling will be on hand for any child that may need it.

Looking back on the world shaping events of Potter’s rise to power we can clearly see the Voldermort hand of the marketing executive. In the early days of frenzy outside Peter Glassman’s New York Books of Wonder where the US was exposed to Potter fever for the first time, it was the readers who set the pace. Soon the mysterious forces of the Hogwarts PR machine went into overdrive feeding stories to the press and giving them beautifully stage managed media events and sound bites. In itself the marketing was as magical as the books themselves and a real testament to the witchcraft that is media manipulation.

Yet whilst publishers may be trying to re create the excitement over every title on their list, it will again be the reader who will decide who if any will take over from Dame Rowling (there is speculation that she will be awarded this title in the Queen of England’s New Years honours list in January. JK Rowling is a friend of the new British Prime minister Gordon Brown)

Already, a new title is starting to cause a stir. A hubble bubble of excitement is quietly building over one book in particular that didn’t even make the starting gate of the blogspots predictions until last week. Proof copies of New York Times best selling author GP Taylor’s Mariah Mundi and The Midas Box are being sought after by American readers waiting to get in on the act before Penguin Putnam’s release next year. The book is published in the UK in September and is already gaining rave reviews from those worthy to have had advanced copies. Even Librarians, who have traditionally railed against Taylor’s dark style are already warming to this new work.

The story is straight forward and well written. Fresh out of school, young Mariah faces a new chapter of his life living in the Prince Regent hotel built into the rockface of a cliff. His job is to assist the magician in the stage shows held for the guests. Above ground, the guests are offered every form of luxury. Below ground, in the slimy, green-dripping walls of the basements, is where the magic show equipment is kept – and lurking in an Egyptian sarcophagus amongst scuttling sea-creatures is a secret that draws Mariah into the path of villainy, plots and possible death.

What is exciting readers is that this is a whodunit rather than a fantasy book. It is more Sherlock Holmes than Deathly Hallows and the hero Mariah is rather like a young James Bond than Harry Potter. Many reviewers are saying that it is a gripping page turner with one website commenting that it had all the elements of a book by CS Lewis and the adventure of an Indiana Jones movie, probably why Hollywood’s finest are starting a queue to bang on Taylor’s door for the film rights. It has the style of Stephen King and doesn’t preach like his worldwide hit Shadowmancer. The plot races along with a cliff hanger in every chapter and Mariah Mundi and his able assistant Sacha take on villains and the whole of Victorian England. It is spookily atmospheric and some reports say it is set in Taylor’s home town in upstate Yorkshire.

Taylor’s response to this has been a tight lipped smile. He is usually affable with the press and speaks openly about his work. Since Mariah Mundi came on the slate he has become very silent and the usual open door to the media has been firmly closed. The portly ex vicar, night club doorman and street cop is acting like he is sat on a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. This unusual behaviour is adding fuel to the fire that something is brewing.

Only time and readers will decide what will happen to this title, but if what is being blogged about is to be believed then many publishers have wasted there money. Like with the spark that started the Harry Potter inferno, so the fire of Mariah Mundi is being kindled. Faber were planning a quiet release for the hardback edition in the UK as Taylor undergoes another tour to promote reading and writing in schools. Perhaps in the growing darkness of the Fall nights we will see the specter of Mariah Mundi haunting the ghost of the dead Harry Potter.

Paul Moon.

Avatar Image says:

Oh I’m SO glad they’re doing this! I just started reading about it and everything about a month and ahaf ago yaaay for leaky! They’ll probably talk about it on leaky and I haven’t read the 2 pges of other comments to see if anyone has already said this so sorry if they have:

There’s a petition yopu can sign if you think your country should be involved in this crisis at www.instantkarma.org. I love this site!!!

Avatar Image says:

I am for the sharing of information and presenting the situation and ideas for action on the Sudan. The ability for people and businesses not in government to bring pressure on the Sudan interests me. However, your choice of one speaker in particular concerns me. I have yet to see Mr.Wilson in the media when he wasn’t attacking the administration. He may be able to keep on topic, but I see him as using the opportunity to get his one-sided govenrment jabs into the discussion. This concerns me.

Avatar Image says:

Your engagement is great! It’s what’s inside people’s head, that matters and Leaky reachs so many people who’s opinion will make a diffrence! I’ll definately check out HPA and write a letter to whoever…our chancellor or I don’t know who…someone anyway ;)

You’re doing the right thing here, spreading the word! At times like this, I’m really proud of this fandom!

Cheers from Germany Fran

Avatar Image says:

Darfur, ah, Darfur! I was hoping the Harry Potter sites would have better sense to stay out of politics.

Why is it up to the US to step in to “stop” genocidial maniacs, who are in tight with genocidal governments? Everytime we help, we get crapped on and our people killed, then the bleeding heart libs of our country, excoriate our own government for doing what they’ve been having heart attacks over for us to do in the first place. You just cannot win.

This time, for me, let other countries do the work. All we’d end up doing is sending money and food that ends up getting hijacked by the thugs that are killing their own people.

Somalia, anyone? Hey, we’re still in Kosovo and we’re not appreciated their either.

OH and I ALMOST forgot…can we all say RHAWANDA?

Avatar Image says:

What a wonderful way to create awareness of this growing problem in Dalfur. I will be sure to do my part to raise funds and awareness for this growing problem.

Avatar Image says:

Leaky- Just wanted to say, your OoTP countdown is making me dizzy, that’s all, have a nice day!

Avatar Image says:

I think this is a brilliant idea! It’s for such a great cause!

Avatar Image says:

Ok, for those of you not understanding the idea of donating money, let me try to explain it. The idea here isn’t “Let’s raise money and just give it to the gov’t to figure out what to do with it.” What we have been doing is raising money to work with a group known as UMCOR over there to help set up facilities such as cleaner water supplies, electrical generators, setting up schools and farm land,and other things like that. The idea is to get these people who are suffering to begin a new and better life. Before, people and animals would share the same water supply (and that means drinking from the same troughs at the watering holes). Now, new water purifiers and facilities are being built to help those who need the water. Farms allow families to not only feed themselves but also begin to trade their goods and get themselves back into the market. All tools for farming were made in Darfur through the money provided to the blacksmiths, increasing the economy of the people in the area. None of this money is getting sent to the government. Schools are being built, allowing safe areas for children to learn. It takes $5 to send a kid to school there for a year.

For those people who say “we can’t do anything about it,” or,” this is just a political thing,” let’s seriously compare it to the harry potter world. You have a voice cry out (harry’s) about the dangers of the return of voldemort, and all the ministry does is say “eh, everything will be fine.” Now, the issue has progressed to insane proportions, just as the issue of genocide is increasing in the area. The economy for the poorer towns isn’t the only issue. Villages are being raided and destroyed. People killed. Young children taken to convert them to fight for these rebels (sound familar to the werewolves in HBP to take ‘em young so they forget who they are?). To just turn away is as bad as anything. To not help is to turn your back on the rest of the people of our world. Just as the sorting hat says, even though we are from different backgrounds and areas, we still need to all help each and other and work together for a common peace amongst us all.

Avatar Image says:

Again I say that nothing, absolutely nothing we do will change the situation halfway around the world. It is up to the UN to handle things of this nature and if they can’t what makes any of you think that anything you do will even be noticed by those people. They will just take your money and move on with what they were going to do anyway. And trying to say that anything in the Harry Potter books has anything to do with anything in real life is ludicris. They are a made up story by a gifted author and nothing more. They are for entertainment only. I got into the leaky thing because I enjoyed the books and liked reading what other people who liked the books had to say ABOUT THE BOOKS. Don’t turn this into a place where I have to listen to all the stuff that immature 11, 12, and 13 year olds have to say about something that they don’t have the ability to fathom.

Avatar Image says:

Melissa,

Yet another reason for me to love the Leaky Cauldron. Thank you for your continued support of the HP Alliance, and for your willingness to speak up about an international crisis on a day when most Potter fans have all their attention focused on a certain movie. You are awesome.

Love, Matt

Avatar Image says:

Ok, next time, go easy on the submit button.

Talking about Sudan is not an immature 12, 13 or 14 year old thing. If you did some research on the topic you would see that many people HAVE been effected by this and many more still need it. It is attitudes like yours that nothing gets done. If you do not want to talk about the issues of the real world, then go to the book forums and don’t read these issues. If you wish to just argue about it, then that is your deal. And so you know, many books can be easily transferred to real life situations. the lord of the rings series was mainly based off of Tolkien’s experience with the world war and its affects on England. So please, before criticizing people, do your research, see what has been done, and if you don’t like it, keep your mouth shut and move on. No one is saying the HP series is based off of Darfur, but it is easy to say that there are many similarities between “make believe” scenarios and the real world.

It seems all you want to do, emerald, is make fun of people. I don’t see any logic or thought in your arguments whatsoever

Avatar Image says:

Emerald:

1) I think you’re missing the point. This isn’t just about donating money, it’s about raising awareness. I think a substantial portion of the western world’s population has the same view you do, and I think that’s a travesty. If we can invade Iraq for oil and political posturing, then we can invade the Sudan for the sake of humanity.

2) Chill out.

Matt

Avatar Image says:

That’s a harsh accusation, emerald. Perhaps I’m mistaken here, but it sounded as though you were accusing people who have thus far posted in this comments board of being immature 11, 12 and 13 year olds who cannot understand the conflict in Darfur. If an 11, 12, or 13 year old reads Leaky and understand that there is genocide occuring in Darfur every single day, and wants to write to his or her senator, Congressperson, MP, whatever, and express these views, how is that anything less than admirable?

And you know, it’s possible that you are right, emerald, that all of this will come to nothing – though I doubt it. But how are we ever to know what we can accomplish together if we sit on our hands and moan that it’s terrible but we have no political efficacy and can’t get anything done? Even if you are shouting into a void, at least then you can rest easy knowing that you are doing all you can do to stop a terrible thing.

As for Harry being just for entertainment purposes – I don’t doubt that the original purpose of the books is purely for entertainment. Neither do I doubt, however, that Jo Rowling has used her fame and influence to try and accomplish extraordinary things. I have quite a bit less money, fame, and influence than her, I wil admit (ie, none), but if I did not at least try and use what little I have and take half an hour to write a letter, I could not rest easy, regardless of whether or not it has anything to do with Potter.

Avatar Image says:

“then we can invade the Sudan for the sake of humanity.”

I meant that in a figurative sense. Like, we can invade them… WITH LOVE. : )

Avatar Image says:

If you want to see what one group of people can accomplish, check out the website of the church i work at: http://ginghamsburg.org/sudan

However, please check out the websites that Leaky has provided. I am not trying to plug the church or anything, but it is just there for people to see how an idea can really turn into something great. If you plan to support this project, please go through HPA or some of the other ideas Leaky has posted

Avatar Image says:

This is about stopping genocide. This is about fighting the Dark Arts. This is about preventing Fidelity Investments from investing in Chinese oil companies that are arming a military in Sudan that is raping, torturing, and killing unarmed civilians. This is about all of us, from every side of every political party, from every “House at Hogwarts” coming together united to make the first genocide of the twenty first century the last genocide of the twenty first century. To make the phrase never again, truly mean never again. This is something to be excited about and proud of being a part of.

Those who want to claim that there is a bias are very right. There is a bias. The bias is that genocide is bad. That genocide must be stopped and that if we have the power to do something than we have a choice between what is right and what is easy. Leaky and Mugglenet and the HP Alliance are doing something amazing and it is wonderful to see so many HP fans coming together excited to spread love and fight the Dark Arts in the real world. It is a sad thing to see those who cower in fear, claiming that there is a bias toward a political party as if they were Cornelius Fudge himself.

“’But if you’re going to work against me—‘

“’The only one against whom I intend to work,” said Dumbledore, ‘is Lord Voldemort. If you are against him, then we remain Conelius on the same side’” (GoF 709)

The only one we’re working against is genocide. Not Republicans. Not Democrats. We’re all in this together. So if you want to take a stand, be like Dumbledore’s Army and wake the world up to something that it has by all accounts ignored, then we are on the same side. If you do not, then we have reached a parting of ways. We are not on the same side at that point.

For at that point you may not be routing on the forces that are causing the genocide in Darfur, but you are routing on the forces of apathy and complacency that are keeping the genocide in Darfur active. Indeed, apathy is a political choice. It allowed the Holocaust. It allowed the atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein. It allowed the genocide in Rwanda. It allowed safe harbor to Osama bin Laden in Sudan and Afghanistan. It allowed the Taliban to commit a reign of terror over Aghans. And it has allowed a genocide to go on for four and a half years in Darfur that has killed over 400,000 people and displaced over 2 million in the middle of a desert.

There are real nonpartisan and tangible things that you and I can do right now about this. And there are real lessons that Harry teaches us that we can take with us. Why not learn from them and do something about it? We have the numbers. We have the heart. Please join us in stopping the genocide in Darfur. Please. Each of us is more valuable than we realize. And each of us has the power to make a difference.

Avatar Image says:

I’ve posted before but the last comment by friendoffawkes was excellent. Emerald, harry potter isnt just for entertainment there are underlying themes in the book that very much relate to real life. Voldemort’s prejudice and intolerance towards muggles, muggleborns and half bloods is exactly what is happening in Sudan where intolerance has cost the lives of thousands. The UN is responsible but so are we to support any possible means to prevent this. I just hope countries wake up and do something about this crisis as well.

Avatar Image says:

It feels great to read about fellow teens making a difference in the world!!!:)

Avatar Image says:

“Again I say that nothing, absolutely nothing we do will change the situation halfway around the world.” Seriously, what on earth do you know about that? Where do you think the food people in that region eat came from? They had a drought, ran away from their homes, and the government is oppressive. So how do you think some survived? Got food and shelter from the oppressors? No, because some people in this world got the money and formed the network to transport food to them. So something has been done, which has saved people from starvation, completely destroying this myth you perpetrate.

I’ve seen documentaries that’ve shown humanitarian aid work from all countries. There was this very good one that followed a British humanitarian who had his own charity travelling to Darfur and the rest of Sudan. With him were volunteers from a good number of countries.

If the least people could do was say they would not with to affiliate with such a government, that alone would have massive effect. Business truly makes the world go round and many countries will change their tune immediately if things changed there.

And so what, if after making all this effort, things don’t work out that well? To try and fail is far better than to sit back and watch massacres. When the next time one who has helped hears the numbers killed, starved or dies in some manner, at least he/she can say he/she tried, and some of the people benefitted, when all unfortunately didn’t.

As I said earlier, if you like the altruistic work HPA, Leaky and co. are doing, contribute and make your voice and/or wallet (or purse) heard. If not, go click on the HP book/movie sections. You don’t have to read this and rain on a number of people’s good will and intentions. What do you gain in convincing people who’re trying to help the suffering from not bothering? Absolutely diddly-squat.

Avatar ImageWON_TWO says: Now it's Haiti...

Write a Reply or Comment

Finding Hogwarts

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.