Nearly three years ago, the US Congress declared the tragedy in Darfur, Sudan to be genocide. Yet here we are, nearing the end of 2007 and still our leaders have done nothing to stop the genocide. We need to get our Congress’ attention on the suffering in Darfur and how the United States can help bring all of this suffering to an end.Congress is crucial in approving funds for peacekeeping and humanitarian aid in Darfur, as well as implementing sanctions against the Sudanese government. On October 17, 2007, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee unanimously passed
the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act (SADA) by a vote of 21-0.
SaveDarfur.org’s blog reads:
In early 2003, long-standing tensions in Darfur erupted into what the U.S. government later described as the first genocide of the 21st century soon after local rebel groups took up arms against the Khartoum-based regime of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Their reasons for rebelling were relatively simple: they rightly felt marginalized by their government, saw that rebels in southern Sudan were likely to be granted major economic and political concessions as their own civil war against Khartoum ran down, and realized that they themselves were being left out in the literal and figurative desert with no hope of similar concessions or improved conditions in sight. An oil fueled economic boom was producing sky-scrapers in Khartoum, and meanwhile Darfur continued to exist largely without roads, hospitals, or a sufficient education system, and was suffering through a brutal drought.
Following a few initial conventional battles with new rebel groups in Darfur, the Khartoum regime switched tactics and began to fight a hate-fueled counter insurgency war in Darfur by funding, arming, and unleashing the proxy militias known as Janjaweed, who came from tribes which identify themselves as “Arab,” on the villages associated with the rebels, which came from tribes who identify themselves as “African.” This strategy depended on exploiting this self-proclaimed racial divide in Darfur, and it worked, despite the fact that both “Arab” and “African” Darfurians are Muslim, speak Arabic, and share the same skin tone. The result was an undisciplined paramilitary campaign which targeted men, women, and children alike.
Since this genocidal campaign began in early 2003, over 2,000 villages have been burnt, up to 400,000 people have been killed, and approximately 2.5 million more have been forced from their homes and into the Sahara desert. Horrific stories of mass rape, murder, and unspeakable atrocities have become commonplace. Survivors have gathered in IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps throughout Darfur, and in refugee camps across the border in eastern Chad and in the Central African Republic, waiting for conflict to end so that they can rebuild their lives, hoping that someone will help them.
Visit SaveDarfur.org to learn more about what YOU can do to help.
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