Readers Respond

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Don't forget Darfur

From CHLOE BISHOP / President, Amnesty International Buena Vista University Chapter

In February 2003, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) bombed an airport in Al-Fashir in protest of the Sudanese government's failure to protect impoverished villages from attacks made by nomadic groups. Seventy government soldiers were killed. The Sudanese government erupted in violence sending out their army, called the Janjawid, meaning "devil on horseback."

Since that year, armed combatants in Darfur -- including Sudanese government forces, the pro-government Janjawid militia and rebel groups -- have subjected women and girls to sexual violence while destroying and looting entire villages. According to Amnesty International, hundreds of thousands of civilians in Darfur have been killed and around 2.5 million have been displaced from their homes into their neighboring country, Chad, where the Janjawid can still attack and rape women and girls.

Rarely in history has a powerful country like the United States declared events like the Holocaust or atrocities that occurred in Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia, and currently happening in Darfur as acts of genocide. In September 2004, the Bush administration recognized the killing, raping and looting happening in Darfur, Sudan to be genocide. Along with that declaration is a moral obligation to take more action so the Sudanese government and their army cease their violent crimes against their own civilians.

As citizens of the U.S., we have the power to let our voices be heard in our government. I hope you all join with me in raising your voices against genocide. You can take action by writing your own letter to a state senator or other government representative, signing a pre-typed letter online or simply spreading the word on the violence occurring in Darfur.

To learn more about the atrocities taking place in Darfur, please visit Amnesty International's website, www.aiusa.org and search "Darfur" or visit the Save Darfur Coalition's website: www.savedarfur.org. Please spread the word about Darfur. Be a part of the movement to end genocide in Darfur and beyond.