More so than any other conflict during my lifetime, individuals are taking on the cause of the genocide in Darfur by raising awareness, campaigning, and educating on a grassroots basis. (For a brief overview of the conflict, and what’s being done to try and stop it, click here.) Moreover, the bulk of the campaigning is happening online and by young(er) people. One way to increase visibility, and educate yourself from the comforts of your own computer, is via Google Earth, thanks to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum:
The Sad Story of Darfur in Google Earth
“Girl with traumatized baby sister. The baby has not made a sound since the day their parents were slaughtered and the village burned.”
When you hear about sad stories from far away, they rarely touch you. It’s hard to be impressed by the sufferance of someone who doesn’t have too much in common with you.
BBC tells the story:
Sudan’s government and the pro-government Arab militias are accused of war crimes against the region’s black African population, although the UN has stopped short of calling it genocide. (…)The conflict began in the arid and impoverished region early in 2003 after a rebel group began attacking government targets, saying the region was being neglected by Khartoum. The rebels say the government is oppressing black Africans in favour of Arabs. (…)
[The government] admits mobilising “self-defence militias” following rebel attacks but denies any links to the Janjaweed, accused of trying to “cleanse” black Africans from large swathes of territory. Refugees from Darfur say that following air raids by government aircraft, the Janjaweed ride into villages on horses and camels, slaughtering men, raping women and stealing whatever they can find.
“I was living with my family in Tawila and going to school when one day the Janjaweed entered the town and attacked the school. We tried to leave the school but we heard noises of bombing in the town and started running in all directions. All the girls were scared. The Janjaweed entered the school and caught some girls and raped them in the class rooms. I was raped by four men inside the school. When they left they told us they would take care of all of us black people and clean Darfur for good.”
I strongly recommend downloading and installing this layer, then checking out all of the information provided within. The photos, quotes, testimonies of the victims; the photos of the government agents burning food supplies and villages… the children’s artwork.