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Darfur, Sudan - people, history, identity essay

sarahmk 22 / 55  
Aug 20, 2008   #1
hey! im getting marked out of 60
10 for background info-family size, geo, assets, jobs
Description of conflict -10marks
Summary of concerns raised regarding genocide 10 marks
Canadas role 10 marks
Concluding paragraph-stating beliefs rather its an incident of genocide/reasons for opinion clearly stated 10 marks

Could you help me fix up this report based on the information above, plus with my spelling/grammar, and organization. thanks soooo much

"The news media's silence, particularly television news, is reprehensible. If we knew as much about Darfur as we do about Michael Jackson, we might be able to stop these things from continuing," was a profound statement stated by Nicholas D. Kristof, regarding the tragic issue of genocide occurring in Darfur. The American Heritage dictionary identifies genocide as "The deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group," (Dictionary.com, 2009) which can be noticed in the events occurring in Darfur that has led to a massive loss of many lives.

Located in the western regions of Sudan, Darfur literally means "land of the Fur (tribe)" (BBC, 2009). The area obtains extremely distinct physical characteristics. It is said to be an arid and mountainous plateau spanning 493,180 square kilometres in size (much like Spain). The region borders Chad, Libya, and The Central African Republic and was for some several hundred years, an independent sultanate until Anglo-Egyptian forces colonized all three provinces in 1899 (cite). In 1919 British rulers forced the then colony of Darfur to merge with colonized Sudan, forming what is now modern Sudan. Darfur is acknowledged for its natural assets, such as: petroleum, copper, silver, gold, hydropower, mica, iron ore, zinc and especially oil. All of these resources are imperative aspects in other nations, predominately in Western Civilization, where oil is recognized as a significant factor.

Family is essential in Darfur, which explains why parents and children share a strong bond and close relationship. The family usually works together in agriculture (farming), as well as in industries and services, regarding oil, cotton ginning, textiles, pharmaceuticals, etc (cite).

Families in Darfur are usually large in size, who are normally traditional, and who practice their religion, which is generally Islam. However after the attacks that occurred in Darfur, the United Nations had stated approximately 2.5 million people have been displaced causing several families to be separated. A young lady Fatma Mohammed is completely distraught after being detached from her family, due to a heavily armed militia that attacked their village in June 2007 (Argua, 2008). It is reported that 500 people die daily in Darfur and that as many as 10,000 perish from disease in refugee camps in and around the region (BBC, 2009). To date the conflict has claimed the lives of over 300,000 individuals (CRS, 2007).

The people of Darfur are mainly nomadic however the nation has suffered sporadic instability as a result of war, famine, and dramatic changes in colonial rule since the mid 18th century and heightened violence and conflict brought about by Arab rebel groups claiming racial supremacy over African Darfuris (cite). In early 2003, a political conflict occurred in an impoverished Darfur region, due to the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)-the most heavily armed and active of the rebel groups in Darfur - who began attacking government targets, accusing Khartoum of oppressing black Africans in favour of Arabs (BBC, 2009). Since February 2003, Janjaweed, a government-supported militia recruited from local Arab tribes and the Sudanese government in Khartoum, have used appalling methods to sustain supremacy over the black Africans. Some of their methods involve rape, displacement, organized starvation, threats against aid workers, and continuous mass murder on African farmers, and other Darfur people (Darfur Scores 2008). This results in thousands of innocent Darfurians dying each month, due to violence, lack of medical care (because of disease and malnutrition), and displacement (Darfur Scores 2008).

Allegations of heinous acts of genocide in Darfur have shocked the world, and pictures of mass graves and camps of women and children fleeing the infamous Janjaweed have moved countless people since they begun to appear in media outlets such as Time and Oprah (cite). However, in spite of countless witnesses and multitudes of missing and murdered persons, Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir denies any responsibility for the crimes that have taken place in the region (cite). In a recent visit with Turkish president Abdullah Gul Bashir went as far as to say that "We are not committing genocide in Darfur" and thereby denied that the Sudanese government, run primarily by Arab officials has any hand in the crisis that exists in the country's northern region today (cite).

In March 2004, Humanitarian Coordinator for Darfur, Mukesh Kapila referred to Darfur as the "World's greatest humanitarian crisis" (cite). America particularly acknowledged for trying to promote peace in Darfur, which can be seen by various celebrities, and organizations providing financial and nutritional care (cite). However, Canada has not been a identifiable supporter in terms of trying to abolish the severe problem taking place in Darfur. In 2007, sentator Roméo Dallaire and Liberal MP Irwin Cotler stated that "Canada is failing in its responsibility to help stop the massive atrocities and humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of western Sudan" (Chan, 2007). Canada is known for creating the concept of " responsibility to protect." Yet the Canadian governments actions say other wise, due to the Canadian government not participating in helping to bring peace to Darfur.

Even though the Canadian government is not involved with solving the predicament in Darfur, students in Canada are very passionate and vocal about this issue, hoping to discovers ways on stopping these acts of violence from continuing. "Stand Canada" is an organization that speaks out about the atrocities transpiring in Darfur, trying to obtain the attention of Canadians, so that like America, Canada to can be a noticed nation who hopes to bring this conflict to an end.

Even though American recognized the tragic events transpiring in Darfur as "genocide," the United Nations begged to differ, stating that while there was numerous rapes and murders of Darfurian civilians, the atrocities that took place could not be labelled as a "genocide," strictly because the "genocidal intent appears to be missing" (cite). Despite the United Nations claims, international organizations known as Save the Darfur Coaltion and Genocide Intervention Networ, continue to recognize the actions occurring in Darfur as a genocide (cite).

While it is difficult to identify what the true cause of the Darfuri conflict is, or if there is one that exists outside of the notion that genocide sparked by Gaddafi's promotion of the misguided concept of racial supremacy of Arabs over non-Arabs. But for as long as no other concepts surface, I believe that this is an act of genocide which can be demonstrated by the definition of genocide that was previously stated: "is the systematic and planned extermination of an entire racial, political, or ethnic group" (cite). This connotes that this conflict could be labelled as genocide, considering it involves the oppression of black Darfurians, who are being massacred by the Arabs who obtain superiority.

Since the rebels are indiscriminate in their ruthless murder of non-Arab men, women and children. As a result one may only conclude that the Darfur region is suffering a genocide and while we in the west do acknowledge that a problem exists, we accept that nothing will be done and so expect nothing to be done.

We are all citizens of a global village, and we can all see the beauty, error, and deviance of one another, yet we sit back and witness the most heinous crimes of our time and make little effort to resolve them. Because though we are all citizens of a global village we all suffer from a diffusion of responsibility.

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