NEVER AGAIN, THE GENOCIDE IN DARFUR

400,000. That is the number of men, women, and children who have been killed in Darfur since the eruption of conflict in 2003.  On top of that, over 2.6 million people have been displaced from their homes and live in refugee or International Displaced Person camps.  Even with those numbers, it is impossible to count the number of violent attacks and rapes that have occurred in the region.  The genocide in Darfur has been called one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes, and it is still on-going today.  

To give you some background on the crisis in Darfur, let me give you the basics.  Darfur is located in western Sudan, neighboring Chad.  The region is about the size of France, has 6 million inhabitants from various ethnic tribes, and highly relies on farming and herding.  Darfur is one of the poorest areas in Africa, and has very little governmental infrastructure.  The current “War In Darfur” started in 2003.  In February of that year, two rebel groups, the Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army, and the Justice and Equality Movement, both representing non-Arab ethic groups, rose up to fight against the Sudanese government.  Their attacks on the government were founded on years of inequality and lack of protection and support from the state in the Darfur region.  While they seemed to look for a peaceful solution to this problem, the government in Khartoum soon began to use force and violence to suppress the rebellion.  A militia known as the Janjaweed emerged and the government increased arms and support for them to attack and attempt to defeat the non-Arab sects of the region.  Since 2003, the Sudanese government has used mass murder, torture, and rape to attempt to end this conflict.   To date, over 2.6 million citizens have had to leave their homes in search of refuge.  In addition, thousands of refugees have had to leave Sudan to travel to Chad in hopes of finding safety.  Women and children have become victims of rape and abduction, and an entire generation of children have reached school-age without ever having a home.  Over 4 million victims are completely reliant on international support and aid. 

In 2009, the International Criminal Court issued a formal arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for crimes against humanity and war crimes.  However, he has not been charged with genocide, despite arguments to have the crime added to his warrant.  Because Sudan rejects the ICC’s jurisdiction, al-Bashir still remains as President in Sudan.  Sadly, in response to the warrant, numerous relief organizations and workers were forced out of the country, leaving over 1 million Darfur refugees without food, water, and healthcare.   Every day victims of the war in Darfur are suffering.   In addition to lacking the basic necessities of food, water, and shelter, they face the threat of violence, rape, and even murder. 

The crisis in Darfur has become one of the biggest international concerns.  The atrocities that have taken place there are barbaric and it is up to us to end the suffering and help with relief and aid.  As I mentioned in another recent blog, I applaud the efforts of celebrities such as George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, and Brad Pitt who started the Not on Our Watch campaign, along with David Pressman and Jerry Weintraub, to raise awareness of the crisis and have been hands-on in the struggle.  Many of you may be wondering what you can do to help.  As I always say, the first thing you can do is ADVOCATE!  Take the time to write or call your political leaders and Congress representatives to express your concern.  Your voice can be the most powerful weapon in this fight.  With the Obama administration still constructing their foreign policy, we stand at the prime time to write to him and make sure that Darfur is at the top of U.S. foreign policy priorities.  You can also write an op-ed piece voicing your concern and to bring attention to the cause.  The more people who become aware of the situation, then we will have more that can join the struggle.  Right after you read this blog, please visit Save Darfur by clicking here.  Once on the site, please sign your name to their petitions.  There are also a number of NGO’s that are working hard to provide relief.  Click here to visit these organizations websites and consider sending in a much needed monetary donation, no matter how big or small.

I also encourage you to read more on the situation and check out books such as Darfur: A New History of the Long War (African Arguments) by Julie Flint; Darfur Diaries: Stories of Survival by Jen Marlowe; and  Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast.  Click here to see more titles about Darfur.

At the end of the Holocaust, the world adapted the slogan “Never Again.” But we face a time where it has happened again.  The genocide in Darfur is happening today and we need to speak up to end it.  Please join the fight and spread the word.  The people of Darfur are relying on “the best and the blessed of us to help the rest of us.”

For more information on the war in Darfur, click here to visit The Angelrock Project’s page dedicated to the cause.

Peace and blessings,

Malaak.

Materials compiled from the following sources:
Amnesty USA, Not On Our Watch, The UN Refugee Agency, and Save Darfur.

Comments

 
By: Kam Phillips
On: 07/28/2009 13:44:30
Thank you for updating us on this situation. I just sent a postcard as a voice for Darfur. While reading the first thing that came to mind was "who can I make a check out too?". It's sad that's that was my first thought but I realize that that is NOT ENOUGH. We DO have to advocate and stand up for the children seen in the heart wrenching images shown on some of the links. As a college sophomore and having founded my own non-profit I often feel like I'm paying my rent in full by helping in the manner that I help; but no matter how much we have going on we can all stand to help a little more. Especially, if it's subtracting five minutes from our Facebook time to sign a petition or send a postcard.

Thanks ARP!
 
By: Nene Ali
On: 07/29/2009 11:40:54
I will start writing letters to my elected officials, it's shameful what is going on over there. It reminds me a lot of the Congo. Africa has been UNDER DEVELOPED for years yet mostly all luxury items come from there. Africa needs trade not AID. I suppose less than 5% of the world population owns 40% of the earth's resources. The United States and "Free" African Countries need to identify which countries do business say in the Congo and Dafur and drag them into the World Court as well. That becomes problematic because how do you condemn someone for something that you are guilty of too? Thanks Mrs. Compton - Rock I will play my part.
 
By: Pat
On: 08/02/2009 17:53:19
I am a veteran student traveler to Africa.
During my sophomore year at Washington University in St. Louis, (in the 70's),
I decided since my major was African/Afro-American History/Literature; why not see the continent for myself?
Among the stops, were scenes of Cape Coast Castle, one of 36 such fortresses in Ghana (out of 42 slave dungeons in West Africa).

Visiting over 22 nations, Sudan was among them.

People should read, "The Destruction of Black Civilization" by Chancellor Williams. This part of Africa was once known as Nubia. The Arab invaders instituted a sort of "caste system," but they had not yet found oil in Darfur.
Now they know, and this is the economic reason for their madness.
I support the Save Darfur organization, and The Genocide Project.
We need to keep reminding Congress, and our local leaders GENOCIDE HAPPENING NOW! is more important, than Iraq, Iran, or the Birthers.
The Arab/Sudanese want to get rid of the remaining Nubians who have a right to that rich land.

Ironically, South Africa, and the former Rhodesia, was two nations that didn't allow Black Americans visas. If caught without one, incarceration.

Since returning to the states, I've taught (and continue to teach), African Studies, and our relationship as heirs of the "Doors of no return."
The students reactions ranged from, "I don't believe you went to no Africa!" to "Take me!"
My dream was/is at least once in your lifetime, see our Motherland, and mock the sign of 'No Return.' I can't describe what you'll feel, yet believe my years there saved my life.
I was so happy to see the trip for Brooklyn students.

I applaud Mrs. Compton-Rock for taking inner-city youths to South Africa.
This is something I wished to do for so many people, who need to see Africa,
both her beauty, and issues.

We are richer than we realize, and this is encouraging viewing such an unforgettable, empowering, and positive experience.
This line came to mind, something Malcolm X once wrote-
"Each one, teach one."

Africa was/is struggling, and I am so proud to see those young people giving back, and to Mrs. Compton-Rock for making it possible. Great!
 
By: Malaak
On: 08/03/2009 18:38:01
Thanks to all the comments about the genocide in Darfur. Please spread the word and get in touch with your elected officals. Raise a Ruckas!

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