All across the country, millions of Americans attended theatres to watch “Hotel Rwanda,” a movie about the fatal ethnic conflicts in Rwanda.
As the viewers drove home and turned their televisions on to local or national news, many did not know that on a larger scale, the same type of devastation was occurring in the Darfur region of western Sudan.
In the time that it takes you to read this article, thousands of Darfur people will have been violently raped, battered, murdered and forced to escape their homes. Why? The people of Darfur will have succumbed this violence at the hands of a fierce battle between the Sudanese government, sponsored Arab militias and non-Arab people of Darfur.
The Sudan battle is one of the goriest genocides in the world and it’s changing the face of Africa.
According to the British Parliamentary Report, over 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict. The United Nations has offered none to little aid to those suffering from the conflict.
Since 2003, over 200,000 people have fled Sudan and over 1.8 million Sudanese have been displaced as refugees. Innocent civilians have been killed and tortured because of their ethnicity.
In 2004, before the tsunami, the Sudan battle was labeled “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”
The Darfur conflict began in February of 2003, when non-Arab rebels of the Darfur region attacked the Sudanese government as a political cry for economic and racial equality.
In response, the Janjaweed, a militia of local Arab recruits, armed by the Sudanese government sought to eliminate all non-Arab people from their region.
There is an extreme competition between Arab and non-Arab citizens of Darfur for natural resources. Resources, non-Arab Darfurans felt the government are trying to control.
While the Washington Post and New York Times have offered informative media coverage on the Darfur story, several other media outlets remain uninterested in the issue. Their lack of coverage is causing Americans to be blind. We must charge elected officials to take a stance on the Darfur conflict. With little media attention on the issue, we must make the difference.
Jessica N. Larche is a third-year broadcast journalism student from New Orleans. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.