Rally against genocide... because numbers do matter
Major Effort To Stir Action On Darfur Lowers Sights
By JENNIFER SIEGEL
April 21, 2006
After months of mobilizing for what has been described as a major effort to stop an unfolding genocide, planners of next week's national action for Darfur are now speaking in measured terms of a radically more modest effort.
Leaders of the main effort, scheduled for April 30 in Washington, were reluctant to offer projections of turnout. But several people closely involved in the campaign offered an estimate of 20,000, and interviews with organizers in several cities reinforced that prediction.
One prominent activist said he had been led to believe that the rally was aiming to draw hundreds of thousands, in order to shake the national conscience.
No less disappointing, the mobilization — seen by organizers as an outreach effort building on the Jewish experience of genocide but embracing broader circles — does not appear to have drawn comparable attention from non-Jewish partners.
"If the numbers are so low, I think it will not be a success," said Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch of Manhattan's historic Stephen Wise Free Synagogue. If the crowd is "disproportionately Jewish, that's only to the credit of the Jewish community. But if it's disproportionately Jewish, it won't be a success."
Read the rest of The Forward article here.