Here’s a word: divestment. So, if you invest, you’re putting money in the world of funds, stocks and bonds in hopes of making more money. If you divest, you’re choosing to take your money out of all that in order to do what? What’s the point of taking money out and not making any?
Here’s another word: genocide. You know, the mass slaughter of a particular group of people? There seems to be a lot of it going on around the world since World War II, but several of them hardly make the news. You’ve probably heard of the one killing and displacing millions in the Sudan, though.
Put divestment and genocide together, and you have a statement equalling life.
Funds that are invested in funds and bonds that in the end support the government of Sudan are, in the end, supporting its killings. Take that a little further. If our money is invested in mutual funds or bonds doing business with Sudan’s government, that means that our money is helping them out with their little bomb dropping campaign.
I hadn’t heard about divestment until reading Not on Our Watch by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast. The book is mostly about how to find ways to create awareness and build political pressure for the United States government to take more positive action in Darfur.
Then there was the section on divestment. That word struck a personal chord, a chord that was loud enough to make me realize that I might be, in my own incredibly small, but still significant way, supporting the killing policies of Sudan’s government. I didn’t like that.
I finished that section, went upstairs, and grabbed my retirement account paperwork. I found which mutual funds and bonds I’m invested in. Then I went to www.divestment.org in order to find out if any of my money-making machines (or money eaters these days) were helping the government of Sudan out. Thankfully, none of my mutual funds were, but the site does not list anything about bonds. It did refer me to another site that might be able to give me more information about my bonds. I’m waiting to hear back from them currently.
The site www.divestment.org is listed in Not on My Watch as a place where people can go and use its screening tool to find out where their money is going in relation to sending money to those perpetrating the Darfur genocide.
Entire cities, dozens of universities, public employee pension plans, and more large entities are taking the time to divest their investments to demonstrate that they will not personally tolerate genocide. If they’re doing this, maybe you could take the time to do so, too. Each minute not doing so costs another life.