More than 400,000 people have been killed in Darfur since the genocide started in 2003. More than 2.5 million people have been displaced. Five thousand people die each month in the ongoing slaughter. We must stop the killing.
First comes the aerial bombardment, to “soften up” the village. Then the Janjaweed, riding horses, camels, and pick-up trucks with mounted machine guns surround the village. As they tighten their circle, they slaughter men and boys and rape, maim and mutilate women and girls. The village’s wells are filled in or poisoned, crops and livestock are destroyed, and the entire village is burned to the ground. In the end, there is literally nothing left, and the villagers who managed to survive must find their way to the nearest refugee camp. They’ll be lucky if they survive there, since the Janjaweed attack around the camps as well, and since the refugees aren’t fed enough to survive on.
The Sudanese government is preventing aid agencies from getting food to the refugees. The government is also refusing to commit to allowing a United Nations peacekeeping force to enter the region and engage the Janjaweed to prevent civilians from being slaughtered and their villages from being destroyed. There is a small African Union force currently on the ground, but they are not allowed to engage the Janjaweed; they are permitted only to defend themselves if attacked and to observe and document attacks on others. They do deter attacks slightly in the areas in which they are deployed, but they will soon be leaving the country, and if the Sudanese government does not allow a UN force to replace them, there will be nothing to prevent the continued slaughtering of innocents.
After the Holocaust, the world said, “Never again!” After Rwanda, George W. Bush said, “Not on my watch!” Well, it is happening again, and it is happening on Bush’s “watch.” We have an unsurpassed moral obligation to help stop the killing.
Don’t be fooled… The recently signed peace agreement is not enough. People will continue to die until more is done.
What can you do? Educate yourself about Darfur. Spread the word. Contact your elected representatives and tell them you expect them to be part of the solution. Join the Genocide Intervention Network, which is dedicated not only to stopping the Darfur genocide, but also to building an anti-genocide constituency with enough political strength to force the government to prevent genocides rather than merely stopping them.