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Emily Lam May 15, 2009 CGW 4UO Mr. Turner
The humanitarian tragedy in Darfur has stirred politicians, Hollywood celebrities and students to appeal for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. But despite UN resolutions and agreements, the genocide continues. Throughout time, there have been many reports about genocides occurring. The most predominant ones included the Rwanda genocide and the extinction on Jews during Adolf Hitler’s reign. There had been many attempts made to end all genocides but it is still occurring in today’s society. There are very few people who know about the genocide in Darfur. Over the past five years, over 400,000 Darfurian civilians have been killed (IRC, n.d.). Despite an abundance of oil and other natural resources, the vast majority of Sudan’s people live in poverty, and its government has been described as ‘the most repressive regime in the world’ (Cheadle, and Prendergast, 2007, p. 91). Humanitarian refugee camps in Chad and Sudan are overcrowded, disease infested, and prone to attacks (IRC, n.d.). 80 infants die each day in Darfur due to a lack of proper nutrition (Cheadle, and Prendergast, 2007, p. 25). On September 9th 2004, United States Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the Darfur conflict was genocide, and called it the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century (IRC, n.d.). This is the first time the Untied States has ever declared a genocide while the genocide was still happening (IRC, n.d.). Northern Sudan was populated by people who practiced Islam, while the people of Southern Sudan became rich in African culture and Christianity needed to end this conflict (Daly, 2007, p.1-2). In 1947, the British decided that Northern and Southern Sudan should unite to become one country (Daly, 2007, p.1-2).
The British decision to make Sudan one country was a terrible mistake because the Northern and Southern people were so different, especially in terms of religion, which led to the first civil war in Sudan in 1955 (Daly, 2007, p.1-2). The first civil war was a struggle to free Southern Sudan from the Islamic North and lasted from 1955-1972 (Daly, 2007, p.1-2). Between 750,000 and 1,500,000 Southern Sudanese died in this war. Finally, a peace agreement called the Addis Ababa Agreement was signed, but the peace lasted for only ten years (Daly, 2007, p.1-2). When the Southern Sudanese realized they would never gain true independence, they began to rebel. Sudan's second civil war started on May 16th, 1983 (Daly, 2007, p.1-2). This civil war was largely about the desire on the part of the northern Sudanese to impose Islamic law on the entire country (Daly, 2007, p.1-2). Even though most of the people in the northern part of Sudan are Arab Muslims, Arab Muslims make up only around 33% of the total population of Sudan (Daly, 2007, p. 4-5). In this civil war, more than 2 million Sudanese Christians who lived in the south of Sudan were killed (Daly, 2007, p.1-2). The war was largely a religious war between Muslims and Christians. In present day, the conflict is in the Darfur region of western Sudan (Daly, 2007, p.1-2). Unlike the Second Sudanese Civil
War, the current lines of conflict are seen by some reporters to be ethnic, rather than religious (Daly, 2007, p. 4-5). In one of the most remote places in Africa, an insurgency began unnoticed under the shadow of the war in Iraq in 2003, killing 350,000 to 400,000 people in 29 months by means of violence, malnutrition, and disease in the first genocidal rampage of the 21st century (Cheadle, and Prendergast, 2007, p. 90). The underlying cause of the present disaster in Darfur is the failure of traditional systems for the allocation of land and water resources and the mediation of conflict (Flint, and Waal, 2008, p. 23). This failure is compounded by a combination of drastic ecological changes and cynical human manipulation (Flint, and Waal, 2008, p. 23). As the ability of local communities to cope with drought and famine declined over the last two decades, and the capacity of their traditional systems of conflict mediation over rapidly diminishing resources became overwhelmed, opportunistic politicians took advantage of the situation (Cheadle, and Prendergast, 2007, p. 92). In recent years the National Islamic Front regime, based in Sudan’s capital of Khartoum, has refused to control increasingly violent Arab militia raids of African villages in Darfur (Flint, and Waal, 2008, p. 34). Competition between Arab and African tribal groups over the scarce primary resources in Darfur-arable land and water-has been exacerbated by advancing desertification throughout the Sahel region (Flint, and Waal, 2008, p. 59). It was Khartoum’s failure to respond to the desperate economic needs of this huge region on the part of Arab raiders that gave rise to the full-scale armed conflict (Flint, and Waal, 2008, p. 66).
There have long been rumors about possible oil reserves in Darfur and how they're connected with conflict in the region. Some people believe that the situation in Darfur is tragic but is not genocide - oil may be the real target of those seeking military intervention. Darfur's tribes rebelled against the government complaining that the Sudan government had failed to develop the area (Flint, and Waal, 2008, p. 151). Southern Darfur, like southern Sudan, is rich in oil. The Chinese National Petroleum Corporation holds the large oil concession in southern Darfur (Flint, and Waal, 2008, p. 151-152). Chinese soldiers are alleged to be protecting Chinese oil interests (Flint, and Waal, 2008, p. 151). As quoted from the LA Times, “The main reason behind Darfur is oil. There is no other reason for this area to have blown like this". It turns out there are oilfields under Darfur's deserts, it would make yet another conflict where oil seems more of a curse than a blessing (Flint, and Waal, 2008, p. 154). The discovery of oil in Darfur would explain why "a seemingly barren wasteland" of Sudan has ignited \ a fierce war. A Khartoum analyst says that oil is what's really motivating interventions from the United States, the United Nations and Libya (Flint, and Waal, 2008, p. 172). Rights
activists who said that the hunger for oil is what's made the Khartoum government so keen to crack down on rebel demands in the region (Flint, and Waal, 2008, p. 174). In response to the rebellion, the government of Sudan admits mobilizing "self-defense militias" following rebel attacks (Cheadle, and Prendergast, 2007, p. 77). But it denies any links to the Janjaweed, gunmen on horseback accused of trying to "cleanse" black Africans from large territory (Cheadle, and Prendergast, 2007, p. 77). Refugees from Darfur say that following air raids by government aircraft, the Janjaweed ride into villages on horses and camels, slaughtering men and stealing whatever they can find. Those cause in the crossfire say the Janjaweed patrol outside the camps and men are killed and women raped if they venture too far in search of firewood or water. The United Nations says more than 2.7 million have fled their homes and now live in camps near Darfur's main towns. Chad's eastern areas have a similar ethnic make-up to Darfur and the violence has spilled over the border area, with the neighbors accusing one another of supporting each other's rebel groups. The United Nations says up to 300,000 people have died from the combined effects of war, famine and disease, and President Bashir puts the death toll at 10,000. Many aid agencies are working in Darfur but they are unable to get access to vast areas because of the insecurity and political influence from the president of Sudan. The president of Sudan plays an important role in the genocide in Darfur. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court formally requested an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir Monday, accusing
him of masterminding and implementing a plan to wipe out three African tribes in Darfur with a campaign of mass murder, rape, torture and genocide (Cheadle, and Prendergast, 2007, p. 34-35). The prosecutor said "Al Bashir specifically and purposefully targeted civilians, who were not participants to any conflict, with the intent to destroy them as a group, almost the entire population of the three targeted tribes have been forcibly displaced (Daly, 2007, p. 303)." According to Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the attacks were typically launched against civilian targets and were not simply the collateral damage of a military campaign (Daly, 2007, p. 303). To prove this, the survivors of the attacks were pursued and killed. The military would raid into towns and destroy food, wells, and water pumping machines, shelter, crops, livestock, as well as any physical structures capable of sustaining life or commerce (Daly, 2007, p. 303). They destroy farms and loot grain stores or set them on fire. The goal is to ensure that those inhabitants not killed outright would not be able to survive without assistance The UN and other aid organizations have faced may obstacles in their war to help Darfur. As Darfur continues to suffer, a peacekeeping force, expected to be the world’s largest, is in danger of failing even as it begins its mission because
of bureaucratic delays, stonewalling by Sudan’s government and reluctance from troop-contributing countries to send peacekeeping forces into an active conflict. The force, a joint mission of the African Union and the United Nations, officially took over from an overstretched and exhausted African Union force in Darfur on January 1, 2009 (Daly, 2007, p. 307). The troops placed in the conflict areas lack essential equipment, like sufficient armored personnel carriers and helicopters, to carry out even the most rudimentary of peacekeeping tasks (Cheadle, and Prendergast, 2007, p. 144). In additional to the lack of soldiers, China's thirst for oil is causing bloodshed. There have been reports connecting China's rising imports of Sudanese oil with sales of Chinese small weapons to Khartoum, used to further the deadly conflict in the western region of Darfur (Cheadle, and Prendergast, 2007, p. 190). When it comes to oil consumption, China is second only to the U.S. and almost half of China's oil needs come from imports (Daly, 2007, p. 304). The Chinese rely on Sudan to supply a big part of that. Sudanese oil shipments to China increased 63% from 2003 to 2006 and soared 113% last year alone (Daly, 2007, p. 304-305). China is Sudan's closest economic, military and political partner, making it the government most able to pressure Sudan to end the atrocities it commits in Darfur and the violence it supports in Chad (Daly, 2007, p. 307). “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it in the future.” As history has shown, many genocides have occurred yet it continues to happen today. Darfur is the prime example of the ignorance in our society. The war in Sudan's Darfur region is the kind of conflict the African Union was intended
to resolve when its 53 member countries created it two years ago (Hermanson, 2007, p.161). Yet fighting here last week has revealed the group's limitations. As the conflict in Darfur enters its sixth year, conditions continue to deteriorate for civilians. Humanitarian assistance in Darfur continues to be at risk of collapse, in part because of sustained harassment by the Sudanese government, and in part because of the government’s militia allies and common criminals (Flint, and Waal, 2008, p.65 ). We can help end the genocide by taking small steps that can make a big difference for the people of Darfur. By, educating others, planning a local event, and generating coverage in the media about the crisis, you will help build the political power needed to end this conflict.
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