Darfur: a never-ending genocide nightmare

By Jessica Chesko
March 15, 2007

Like a recurring nightmare that won’t seem to go away, genocide continues to haunt our past and our present. Our inability to learn from history has brought on some of the most horrible tragedies imaginable.

During World War II, the worst case of genocide fell upon us and we pretended like nothing was happening.

We thought that it could never happen but it did. The holocaust genocide wiped out approximately six million Jews. It was Hitler and his Nazis’ desire to create a perfect race by extinguishing all those deemed inferior including not only the Jews, but the gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals and the physically and mentally disabled as well.

We swore that it would never happen again but it has. In 1994 between half a million and a million people were massacred in the central African country known as Rwanda. This massacre was organized by extremist political groups and was directed primarily at the minority Tutsi ethnic group. Once again we refused to intervene or speak out against the massacres.

So, after these two horrible incidents surely another genocide could not take place again right? Well unfortunately it is.

Darfur is a region in western Sudan where the death toll currently exceeds 100,000 but may be as high as 400,000. People are being murdered everyday, women are being raped, villages torched and property stolen. Due to this brutality, about two million people have been driven from their homes and escaped to the neighboring country of Chad. However, everyday they face disease and starvation. The rest of the people are trapped within Darfur.

It is the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed militia causing this peril. They are systematically targeting the Fur, Zaghawa and Massaleit ethnic groups, who are primarily African. Most of the people living in Darfur are Muslims, as are the Janjaweed.

This terror continues in Darfur everyday and yet very little is being done to help its people. SaveDarfur.org has posted a message imploring President Bush to take action. They want him to “strengthen the understaffed and overwhelmed African Union peacekeeping force already in Darfur, push for the deployment of a strong UN peacekeeping force, increase humanitarian aid and ensure access for aid delivery and establish a no-fly zone.”

It is extremely important that we demonstrate our peacekeeping abilities, if not simply to help the people of Darfur then to prove to the world that we have learned from our past ignorances. We cannot solve all of the world’s problems but we can offer a helping hand to those in desperate need.

Although genocide may be an unfortunate part of our past and our present, if we act responsibly perhaps we can stop it from becoming our future.

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Jessica Chesko

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