Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hundreds rally in Dayton for Darfur

By Kelli Wynn

DAYTON — There are two things that happen to those living in Darfur villages that are attacked by the Sudanese militia known as the Janjaweed, according to Ibrahim Musa Adam.

"If you are a man, they will shoot you. If you are a woman, you will be raped," Adam said as he addressed hundreds who attended a Dayton Rally for Darfur on Saturday, April 19, at the Dayton Convention Center.

Adam, 33, a Darfur native and Rockford, Ill. resident, was one of many speakers who came to Dayton to raise awareness about the ethnic conflict taking place in Darfur, which is in Sudan — the largest country of Africa in area.

Those attending the rally learned that Darfur has 6 million inhabitants who are among the poorest in Africa. They also learned that 4 million people have been affected by the attacks and about 2 million people have been displaced.

When asked why people are getting killed and attacked, Adam said it had to do with the greed of the Arabic Sudan Government whose armed forces support the Janjaweed. The government wants the land where the Darfur people live.

The current crisis began in 2003 after "two rebel groups mounted a challenge to Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, according to Save Darfur Coalition literature that was passed out at the rally. Al-Bashir responded to the rebel movement by increasing arms and support to militias such as the Janjaweed, who began wiping out villages in Darfur.

Villages of up to 20,000 people have been burned down and at least 400,000 people have died, according to Voices from Darfur video that was shown at the rally. The United Nations estimates that violence in Darfur has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced at least 2 million.

"If our country isn't doing anything to stop (the killings) then we are not yelling loud enough," said Steve Wonderly of Dayton for Darfur before the crowd marched to the Dayton Convention Center from Courthouse Square. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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