Make Darfur genocide known

By By Samuel Totten

By Samuel Totten

With the presidential election season coming to a close and a horrendous economic crisis looming, it is easy for us to forget that there are individuals and groups across the globe who are suffering in almost unimaginable ways.

While many of us in the United States closely watch the trials and tribulations that our troops and residents of Iraq and Afghanistan face, it seems as if the Darfur crisis, entering its seventh year, is not much more than a footnote in history.

The killing and raping of Africans and the destruction of villages by Government of Sudan troops has continued unabated and it is likely to continue unless the international community gets serious.

On Sept. 10, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Sima Samar, accused the GoS of bombing civilians in Darfur. She said that black African men, women and children were being “indiscriminately” bombed with Antonov bombers that resulted in “extensive civilian casualties.” She also said that sexual violence, arbitrary arrests and disappearances were ongoing.

A new wrinkle in the Darfur crisis is that untold numbers of the 2 million-plus internally displaced Africans are now being forced to return to their land by the sudanese government officials8212;even as the government continues to bomb the few black African villages still remaining in Darfur. The black Africans are being forced back to their destroyed villages and farms in order to make it appear as if the GoS is doing something positive when in fact, the GoS continues to not only block progress toward a peace agreement but also obfuscate the truth every chance it gets. Although the UN claims that more than 300,000 black Africans have perished in Darfur, the GoS claims the number is closer to 9,000.

The GoS asserts that it punishes its soldiers for human rights infractions, but it is well documented that those soldiers who rape girls and women are not punished. Although the GoS has asserted time and again that it has a zero tolerance policy on rape by its troops, it has done virtually nothing to hold its soldiers and militia members responsible for their criminal actions.

In a recent report, Human Rights Watch decried the ongoing cases of rape and the impunity of the perpetrators. It documented one case of the rape of six black African women by government soldiers, during which one of the victims reported the following: “One of (the soldiers) grabbed my arm and pulled me off my donkey. When I shouted for help he hit me in the mouth with the butt of his gun. He hit me several times and then tore off my clothes and raped me. When he finished, the other man came and raped me.”

During the course of my talks on Darfur across the globe, many people have asked me, “But what can we do?” I always answer, “Plenty!” Join the anti-genocide movement, SAVE DARFUR. Join one of the many human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International that draw attention to Darfur and encourage them to be even more vocal and proactive vis-à-vis the ongoing atrocities in Darfur. Flood the new president, whoever it might be, with e-mails decrying the monstrosities in Darfur. Support the good and important work of Doctors Without Borders and the International Red Cross, earmarking your contributions for their work in Darfur. Write letters to the editors of your local newspapers in order to wake others up. Scream bloody murder to anyone who will listen.

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