The Darfur Genocide

                                          Source: Emaze   
       The 20th century saw several horrific genocides that altered the shape of humanity itself, and redefined human rights. These include the Holocaust, where 11 million people were gassed in Nazi death camps, and the Holodomor, a man made famine perpetuated by the Soviet Union that killed 10 million Ukrainians in 1933. More recently, the breakup of Yugoslavia resulted in Bosnian Serbs massacring Bosnian Muslims in the tens of thousands, prompting NATO intervention. In 1994, Rwandan Hutu slaughtered nearly a million Rwandan Tutsi as the international community stood by and watched.
    In the 21st century, we largely see widespread genocide as a thing of the past. Sure, civil wars between ethnic or religious groups are brutal, but one group killing another group by the hundreds of thousands is unheard of. Surely, such barbaric practices are staying in the past, right?
    Enter Darfur, in Sudan. This sandy region lies at the heart of the Sahara, and is home to around 7.5 million people. Inside this desolate region, nearly 500,000 people have died in a bloody genocide, carried out by the Sudanese government-backed Janjaweed militia. The Janjaweed is largely comprised of Sudanese Arabs, and their name loosely translates to “gunmen on a horse” in Arabic.
    Who is dying at the hands of the Janjaweed? Mostly native, African tribes. These tribes are inherently against President Omar al-Bashir’s objective of an Islamic, Arab state, and thus are victims of both the Janjaweed and Sudanese air strikes. This genocidal campaign is extremely systematic, and intended to kill as many as possible. After the airstrikes are conducted, Janjaweed militia enter towns, murdering those who do not flee. They burn food stocks, and throw dead bodies into wells to contaminate drinking water. Any survivors are enslaved, and women are often raped. The villages are then burned down.
    The genocide campaign has drawn international condemnation, but no real response. In 2004, Colin Powell officially called the killings in Darfur a “genocide”. Omar al-Bashir was indicted by the International Criminal Court, becoming the first sitting president to ever be indicted by the ICC. However, President al-Bashir has made trips to Egypt and Qatar without being arrested, and the African Union has defied the ICC on numerous occasions by failing to arrest al-Bashir. Even South Africa let Omar al-Bashir get away, as a court ruled on the arrest warrant minutes before Bashir left. To the US’ credit, there have been sanctions imposed on Sudan, but evidently, these have not stopped the genocide.
    After 14 years, the genocide still continues, despite a huge UN peacekeeping force in Darfur. Meanwhile, brutal conflict has also broken out in South Sudan, and there appears to be no end in site. US intervention, at this point, is nearly impossible. Darfur is thousands of miles inland, and too far away from any US military base. Despite this, the US needs to keep applying pressure on the Sudanese government, through sanctions on both Sudan and African Union countries who fail to arrest Bashir. The strongest, longest-lived democracy cannot sit idly as genocide occurs.


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