By Andrew Stefan / Staff Writer
OCTOBER 28, 2005
For roughly three years, the people of Sudan, Africa have been suffering through the horrors of genocide. With a death toll escalating to nearly 400,000 lives lost and countless instances of brutal rape, torture, and enslavement, this textbook example of ethnic cleansing will surely take its place in history along side similar events like the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide of the early 1990s. According to Amnesty International USA, this conflict has resulted in some of the worst human rights abuses imaginable.
It is to the dismay of the victims in Sudan that the U.S. media does not often publicize this dire situation. Much of the populace in this country has been kept in a state of ignorance regarding the crisis by a severe lack of coverage. It is common knowledge that the U.S. has enough power and influence to aid in the prevention of such large-scale
atrocities, but like U.S. reactions during the Rwandan genocide, our government, media, and public have, for the most part, taken a spectator's position on these inexcusable acts of slaughter. It is now time for the public to arm itself with knowledge and take a stand to help bring an end to the murder and human rights abuses taking place in Sudan.
The conflict in Sudan has been raging on for almost twenty years, according to the International Crisis Group. Sudanese rebels have been struggling against the violence inflicted on them by their fundamentalist Islamic government since 1989. Initial fighting can be traced back even further to resource disagreements between farmers and herders. The intensity of this conflict increased until February 2003 when systematic murders of the civilian population began in the Darfur region of Sudan--with full support from the Sudanese government. Sudan also saw the rise of the government-backed Janjawid militia in 2003. The Janjawid group has been a primary cause for many malicious acts of abuse, including murder. Daily life quickly became a nightmare of death and destruction for the people of Sudan.
Since then, the crisis has escalated to a full-scale act of genocide. Just recently, the United Nations made a crucial decision to greatly decrease its support of humanitarian aid to the victims of Sudan for safety reasons. It was just over a decade ago when we saw the same U.N. abandonment in Rwanda during the Tutsi people's time of need. The results then were devastating and cost the lives of many innocent people. Eric Reeves, a prominent activist in the Sudan news community, speculates, "The consequences of such humanitarian withdrawal will be catastrophicultimately measuring in the hundreds of thousands of lives lost." Our country would be wise to take a lesson from history and search for ways to reestablish sufficient security for the victims of Sudan.
If this information disturbs you, please fulfill your duty as a concerned citizen by asking your government elected officials, television and radio broadcasting companies, friends and family to join you in taking steps towards ending this atrocity. To find out how you can make a difference or for more information relating to the Sudan genocide, visit these web sites:
Note: Any students interested in becoming involved with an EMU student coalition dedicated to promoting awareness of the crisis in Sudan and taking political action to push for an end to the violence, please contact Andrew Stefan at: firstname.lastname@example.org