Jim Moore's Passion of the Present blog of December 7 expresses a vision of technological intervention to coordinate humanitarian action in Sudan, and to expose and hopefully end genocide in Darfur. Jim refers to Ethan Zuckerman's post the same day about Ghana's successful use of communication technology to ensure free and fair elections.
I think we need to find a way to expand citizens communication in Sudan and especially Darfur, both to improve local coordition, as the Grameen Phone Village Phone Program has done in Bangladesh, and to deepen access to and from the outside world. This sort of initiative could start in the south of Sudan, in areas controlled by rebels associated with John Garang, and it could also start in Chad, where cell phone services and other radio-based communications could reach into Sudan.
The comparison between Ghana and Sudan suggests an approach to action on Darfur and Sudan, an action that could harness the talents of the high technology community around the world. We could do an "open source digital bridges movement" for Darfur and Sudan. Our goal could be numbers of people and villages connected with open, uncensored, affordable methods of local and international communications technology...This is the sort of thing that readers of Passion of the Present know about and can do. Few of us are doctors who can sign up with MSF, and few of us are soldiers and peacekeepers. But many of us are, almost be definition, techonology-based communications activists. Let me know what you might have to offer, at either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim, Ethan, Rebecca MacKinnon and others will be discussing this further at the free Internet and Society Conference at Harvard this weekend, at a Saturday working session on Global Internet activism. There's a Green Ribbon Campaign to save Darfur; Jim suggests the ideas he's expressed might feed into a digital Green Ribbon Campaign.