Violence Escalating in Darfur


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Saturday, August 26, 2006 - 12:30am

Violence Escalating in Darfur

For those of you who have not been following the crisis in Darfur the last few years, allow me to quickly get you up to speed.  Darfur is the western region of Sudan.  Sudan is a country located in Northeast Africa, just south of Egypt.  The Sudanese government is working in concert with the Janjaweed, an armed militia, to commit mass genocide in Darfur.  The Janjaweed's campaign focuses on wiping out all non-Arab villages in Darfur.  They regularly dismember and kill men, women, young children, and babies.


   An estimated 450,000 people have been killed since the conflict started in February 2003.  To put that number in perspective, it is more than double the estimated number of deaths in Iraq over the same time frame.  In May of 2006, a shaky peace agreement was reached that called for the disarmament of the Janjaweed and rebel forces.  However, violence has increased dramatically in the last month.  Hundreds of women have been raped in the last few weeks.  Also, the Sudanese government seems to be preparing for a large offensive.


The United Nations has been trying to get forces in the region for years, but the Sudanese government has not agreed to it.  The government is committing the atrocities, so it is no surprise that they would reject calls for UN forces.


You may ask what the United States is doing about the genocide in Darfur.  The short answer is nothing.  They have put a little pressure on Sudan to allow for 17,000 United Nations forces, but that's about it.  In 2005, two Republican Senators passed a bill that called on the U.S. to take a more active role in the Darfur conflict.  The bill was passed, but it has yet to be enforced in any meaningful way.


Unfortunately, since the media doesn't cover this war, politicians feel little pressure to take any action.  If ratings don't increase, the media will never cover a story.  They don't cover war protests because they are a ratings drain and they don't cover wars in Africa that don't involve American personnel.  If they finally decide to, ya know, report the news, perhaps the politicians would feel enough pressure to actually take some action.  If they don't, another 450,000 innocent people may die.


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