Sunday, September 17, 2006
Opening Our Eyes to the Crisis in Darfur
I promised someone a while ago that I would write an entry of the situation in Darfur. So the purpose of this post is to open everyone's eyes (if your eyes aren't already opened) to the crisis that is happening in Darfur, and hopefully to encourage everyone to do their part in putting an end to this crisis. Since 2003, it is estimated that more than 400,000 Darfurians have been killed, and another 2 million have been forced to flee their homes and are now refugees in Chad. If that's not enough, another 3.5 million people are completely dependent upon international aid to survive.
As background, the conflict in Darfur -- a region in western Sudan -- is between the Sudanese government-backed "Janjaweed" militia and two rebel groups, the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement. The purpose of the rebel movement is to compel the Sudanese government to address the underdevelopment and political marginalization of the region. In response, the Sudanese government's armed forces, together with the Janjaweed, have engaged in "ethnic cleansing" against civilians who are of the same ethnic background as the rebels. There have also been several targeted attacks against aid workers.
Similar to the genocide that occurred in Rwanda, the world's response to the genocide in Sudan has been slow, if it exists at all. The United Nations has not identified the conflict as "genocide," and is planning to deploy a U.N. peacekeeping mission in January, 2007. However, the U.N. has stated that it will only do so if the Sudanese government consents to the deployment. And although the U.S. has identified the conflict as "genocide," it continues to do nothing to stop this genocide. I guess Sudan doesn't have enough oil for the U.S. to give a damn.
So what can we do? To start, I suggest going to http://www.savedarfur.org/, to learn how you can contribute. Whether you buy a wristband or organize a local group to raise funds, PLEASE GET INVOLVED!!! And please encourage your friends and family to get involved. I also encourage you to post comments reflecting your opinions about the conflict, and also about how people can get involved. We can't rely on our government to look our for our people in Africa.