When the word Genocide is bought up in a topic of conversation, we often think about history and past events, such as the Holocaust. Little do people know, there is a Genocide happening today in Africa, in a place called Darfur. A year after the attack on Darfur occurred, President George Bush declared what was going on in Darfur to be a Genocide due to mass killings and raping of men, women, and children. Those that are still alive are being starved, and are being restricted of vital things that are needed to survive. The world we live in is full of people who’s goal is to dehumanize others, in order to make them feel less than, which is exactly what is going on in Darfur.
In the year of 2003, the Darfur Genocidestarted due to two non-Arabian groups that stood up to their government claiming harsh treatment, poor economic infrastructure, and other legitimate complaints/concerns. The Sudan government did not appreciate the input of the two non-Arabian groups and gave orders to a group of government funded Arab militias to attack the people of Darfur. The militia, known as Janjaweed, has raped, killed, and tortured the citizens. They have also burned down their homes and villages, put toxins in their main water sources, and destroyed their livestock. In approximation, nearly 7 million people live in Darfur, so far over 480,000 are dead. Those that were able to flee, most likely ended up in one of the thirteen refugee camps located in Chad. These camps are still open today, however resources are beginning to become limited, as people are not able to consume the daily recommended intake of food, and sometimes are not able to eat a meal at all. Other vital resource are also scarce for the refugees. Threats to the camps are continuously being made. It is unfortunate to think that such a thing can occur in the world we live in. Not only is the thought of a Genocide occurring today repulsive, but the thought that it has been going on this long is unacceptable. In the image displayed below, a village home to Darfur citizens is burned by the Janjaweed militia. You can see a large group of men, women, and children watching as the fires destroy their homes.
In desperate hopes to keep peace between the citizens of Darfur and Sudan, there was an issue of hybrid United Nations-African mission in 2008. Nearly 26,000 troops were given orders to keep the peace, but unfortunately only 9,000 were sent. They were unable to carry out their orders. The leader of the crimes occurring in Darfur, President Omar al-Bashir, was issued a warrant for his arrest provided by the International Criminal Courtin March of 2009. Due to the lack of support from the United Nations, the leader did not face persecution and it was stated that until the United Nations fully supported the persecution of Omar al-Bashir, that one would not take place. It is likely that the United Nations does not want to get involved because of economic ties to Sudan, which happens to be the biggest country in Africa, and gold was just discovered in its western region. Without the support of the United Nations, this genocide will continue. In a place such as Darfur, where its citizens are not able to help themselves, it is up to those that can provide help to do so.
Lauren McDonald is a student in JST 300 – WMST 495 – WMST 595, “Holocaust and Genocide Studies.”