Friday, October 20, 2006

What's a Darfur?

If you have read my blog in the past, you will know that I often like to talk about the situation in many of the African nations. In many cases we choose to keep these difficult situations out of sight, and out of mind. Unfortunately there is a tendency in this country to pay more attention to the birth of a celebrity baby, while we turn a blind eye to the thousands of babies dying in Africa every single day.

However, there is a growing list of celebrities who have taken an active role in trying to break this pattern. One of my favorite efforts was a video for "World on Fire" made by Sarah McLachlan. It cut close to the bone for me, because it points out the enormous waste that occurs in my own chosen profession.

One of the places in Africa that I think needs our immediate attention is Uganda. I tried my best to give a short but thorough portrayal of what is going on there in my post The Night Commuters. To date, it is one of the entries on this blog that I am most proud of.

Another area that deserves your attention is Darfur. Darfur is a region in western Sudan. It is a 200,000 square mile area in the western half of Sudan. It is a flat arid land mass with some volcanic peaks in the center. This region shares a border with the Central African Republic, Chad, and Libya. (See map below)

I won’t go too in depth, but there is a massive genocide going on there right now. A group called the Janjaweed has inflicted the lion’s share of violence against their neighbors to the south. The Janjaweed are a paramilitary group made up mostly of northern cattle-herders from the Baggara tribe. It is a widely held belief that this group is supported and armed by none other than the Sudanese government.

This violence has caused many of the non-Baggara people to flee the violence. By doing this, they have had to leave behind all their possessions, and in some cases their family members. The lucky ones flee to refugee camps over the border in Chad. The unlucky ones are raped and or mutilated. Some husbands are forced to watch their wives and/or daughters raped right in front of them. Others simply starve while attempting the long trip to safety.

Unlike the Sudanese Civil War, which was fought between the Muslim north and Christian south, in Darfur most of the residents are Muslim. Some people believe that because this conflict is Muslim vs. Muslim, it draws little concern from conservatives in this country.

Currently every four seconds someone is dying in this conflict. That amounts to 10,000 people dead every single month.

Although I do not believe that America should play the role of “World Police”, I do think the UN should step in. In late August of this year, the UN passed resolution 1706. However, the Sudanese government has not supported this resolution, and has said that it would consider the UN forces in the region as foreign invaders.

In my opinion George Bush’s frequent stance on the UN has left it weak and ineffective. Without this strength, little can be done to stop this violence and save these people.


Blogger IB4D said...

I’m Mauro from Italy (Italian Blogs for Darfur). We’ve translated our
appeal to italian media to speak about Darfur (1 hour only in 2005!).
you support us publishing it on your site, we we’ll be very glad for.

Please, tell people on the web what we do, it's important to collect a lot
of signs (that are not just signs, but also e-mails sent to italian media!).

Italy is going to sit at The UN Council from January 2007.


3:30 AM  
Blogger dusty said...

they are all too busy jacking around about Iran, N.Korea and each other..there is no time to worry about the thousands dying in Africa. The Human Rights Council is worthless and controlled by asshats in the Middle East who wish to spend their time bitching about Israel.

1:53 PM  
Blogger the fourth person said...

hey pete!

thanks for the visit.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

Great site-good topic. And even though I hardly have the time to write you a comment, it's good that there are people like you, who care for the world, as I do (well, kind of). Hopefully someday I'll find enough time to read all the posts and reply to them.

4:05 AM  

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