Column: The world turns blind eye to Darfur genocide

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 19, 2008

By Shelby Hansen, Guest Column

Recently in my world history class we have been learning about the genocide in Darfur. According to Webster&8217;s dictionary, genocide means, &8220;the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.&8221; This term is not used loosely by our government or anyone for that matter. It is a serious matter, and when something of this nature occurs, we as Americans are basically obligated to help.

Darfur is a province in Sudan, which is located in Africa. In 2003 African tribesmen complained to their government, which is controlled by Arab people, of neglect and discrimination. The Sudanese government didn&8217;t like these accusations so they formed a militia of Arab nomads, which is known as Janjaweed, to commit atrocities against non-Arabs &8212; the Massaleit, the Zaghawa, and other African tribes. These militant groups would go into their villages and burn their huts down one by one. They also burned people alive and left them there for everyone to see. The Janjaweed didn&8217;t spare women or children in these actions either. The women were often raped, then shot or slaughtered.

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According to the Jewish Community Relations Council (, since 2003 about 400,000 people have been killed. More than 2.5 million people have been driven from their homes. More than 200,000 have fled to refugee camps. As many as 1 million civilians could die in Darfur from lack of food and from disease in coming months. Eighty percent of the children under 5 years old are suffering from severe malnutrition and many are dying each day. Humanitarian aid organizations have access to only 20 person of those affected. We need to put an end to this!

Please look for friend Brianna Meyer&8217;s follow-up article Tuesday on what you can do.

Shelby Hansen is a sophomore at Albert Lea High School.