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A Call to Action on the Genocide in Darfur Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Anushka T, Canada Aug 24, 2009
Globalization , Human Rights , Peace & Conflict   Experiences


A Call to Action on the Genocide in Darfur The humanitarian plight in the Darfur region of Sudan does not receive the media attention it once did since the outbreak of violence in 2003. Scanning through the local newspaper, the most recent story I came across regarding the situation in Darfur dates back to six months ago. Internationally circulated journalistic mediums such as The Economist and The New York Times have fared much better in that there are several recent snippets on Darfur meant to update readers on the peace process and multilateral interventions by international organizations. This is not to say that the constant threat of violence and immeasurable suffering should be brandished in readers’ faces every morning, but rather that perhaps the local community has forgotten about the situation in Darfur and what it means in a humanitarian capacity. Through my own Call to Action, I aimed to bring about a renewed interest in the genocide in Darfur and tap into my peers’ social consciousness by offering them a way to get involved.
The situation in Darfur is complex and involves a myriad of agents including the state, militia groups, tribes, refugees, displaced persons, humanitarian organizations, and the international community. However, all these players do not mask the unbelievable violence, suffering, and destruction of a group. The earliest incidents of genocide began in February 2003 when the Sudanese government and Janjaweed militias targeted ethnic minority populations (Fur, Zaghawa, and Massalit tribes). The numbers are conflicting, however the United Nations puts the number of dead at 300,000 and the displaced at 2.7 million.
Through my Call to Action plan, I highlighted the facts and figures of the situation in Darfur in an information sheet (or flyer) which I distributed to my colleagues at work. I also provided a link to the site http://www.24hoursfordarfur.org where anyone can upload short video clips of themselves speaking out against the crisis in Darfur and asking their global representatives and governments to intervene. I specifically targeted my colleagues because they are in the same age range as myself and are well versed with internet technology (making them more willing participants). Though I was not able to spend as much time as I wanted to talking about and discussing the Darfur situation with my colleagues, I did receive amazing comments and feedback from them. Many knew or had heard about what was happening, and had admitted that due to the low media coverage it had gone unnoticed. Some were familiar with and supported the 24 hour campaign, but were a little shy or hesitant to put themselves up on video. One colleague lambasted the fact that the violence had reached such a level that humanitarian and aid organizations were regularly targeted. The consensus everyone reached was regarding the quantitative figures, namely the amount of those killed and displaced. Put into perspective, those displaced by the conflict is ten times the population of our town. In addition, the number of those killed far exceeds the town’s population.
Though the presentation and subsequent discussion of the issue was short, it was nonetheless an empowering and fulfilling experience. This project has given me the initiative and ability to enact my own Call to Action plan and engage other youths on a topic most dear to my inner activist. To know that the genocide in Darfur has reached a few ears that day and will hopefully be spread to others through word-of-mouth, is enough (for now) to satisfy my rookie attempt. However, this Call to Action does not have to end here. After reading this article, I encourage everyone to take a little time to research this conflict as my article does not do it any justice. I also suggest that a pit stop to the 24 Hours for Darfur website will be well worth your time, and will perhaps inspire you to enact your own Call to Action.



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