We said, learning history, that we couldn't understand how our parents, grandparents or great-grandparents "allowed" Nazis to round up Jews and murder 6 million in European concentration camps. "Schindler's List" brought it home.
We said, after seeing "The Killing Fields," that such a thing would never happen again. We had finally grasped the full horror of Pol Pot and lunatic agrarian communism in Cambodia, killing 3 million people from 1975 to 1979.
We said, after seeing "Hotel Rwanda," that it happened "so fast." We didn't realize that extreme Hutus had killed 937,000 moderate members of their own clan and rival Tutsis in Africa in 100 days in 1994.
Do we, Americans of all ages in 2006, need to wait for a movie, "Darfur, Land of Death," a decade from now to realize a criminal regime in Sudan has spent the last two years systematically murdering African farmers it wants eradicated?
Now this genocide -- to use former Secretary of State Colin Powell's characterization -- is expanding to Chad where, according to New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, Sudan's proxy militia is mowing down more black African farmers because of their tribe and skin color.
The prevailing policy of the West, preoccupied as it is with terrorists, war in Iraq and Iranian nukes, is to hope the Darfur killing wears itself out and goes away, even as it dwarfs the death toll from those more headline-grabbing international tragedies. That policy certainly sounds familiar to Jews, Cambodians and Rwandans.
Where is the outrage? Where are the Oscar presenters' ribbons? Where are the U.N. peacekeepers? Where are the economic sanctions on Sudan's government? Why hasn't President Bush yet focused world attention on this killing zone -- where 200,000 have died and 2 million were displaced -- with a major speech?
The president took a big stride toward this last week, when he met and was photographed publicly with Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, Sudan's outspoken human rights advocate. That sent a warning to Sudan's leaders that the United States is on the side of the refugees and victims. Whether the government heeds this warning, like so many others it ignored the last two years, is what to watch for next.
So, what can you do? You can e-mail or call your representative or senator in Washington, demanding action. You can contact the White House and the United Nations to express your outrage that the rampage continues. You can send money to programs like UNICEF, Save the Children, WorldVision.org and DoctorsWithoutBorders.org. You can go on iAfrica.com or Oxfam.org and buy recordings by musicians who send a percentage to help Darfur's survivors.
But don't throw up your hands and say there's nothing you can do, like in Germany, Cambodia and Rwanda.