Over 400,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million taken from their homes since 2003 in a violent war that many Americans are unaware of. Victims in Darfur and Sudan are being raped, starved, displaced and slaughtered every day.
Darfurians are flooding to refugee camps along the Darfur-Chad border as they trade their homes and possessions for safety and sustenance.
The Bush Administration has labeled the situation in Darfur as genocide. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, has described it as, “The largest and most complex humanitarian problem on the globe.”
However, neither the U.S. nor the U.N. administrations have done much to help. Though Republicans and Democrats agree on the severity of the issue, no thorough consequential action has yet been taken.
Rebel groups such as the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and the Equality Movement have formed in opposition to the Sudanese government.
In response, the Sudanese government has enlisted the power of Afro-Arab herdsmen known for their brutality. These Sudanese government-funded “janjaweed” have been the force behind the “ethnic cleansing” or annihilation of the people of Sudan.
The janjaweed have launched a campaign to systematically humiliate and disarm non-Arab groups such as the Fur, Massaleet and Zagawa. They are conducting a “scorched-earth” policy, eliminating the groups from which the rebels draw their support, essentially destroying everything non-Arab.
Sudanese officials have continuously disregarded US deadlines to cease the bloodshed, and critics believe the White House has kept a limp wrist in enforcing cooperation.
President Bush has promised his unspecified “Plan B” if Sudanese President Bashir does not concede to ceasing the genocide in his country– a genocide many believe he and his administration are responsible for.
However, this conflict has had minimal press coverage. Only two out of ten Yuba College students had heard of the conflict in Darfur.
“A lot of aweful things are going on,” said Yuba student, Kelly Hester. “The U.S. has done enough damage. We have our feet in too much stuff already. I think the U.N. should do more though.”
Many non-profit organizations have formed with the sole purpose of putting the fighting in Darfur to an end.
One of these organizations, the Darfur Advocacy Fund at Darfurgenocide.org, boasts a “handcuffs not handshakes” campaign against Bashir, Vice-President Taha, and most importantly, Security Chief Gosh, who has been called the “architect of the genocide in Darfur.”
Efforts have been made to divest money from Sudan, essentially taking money from the Sudanese economic system and ransoming the government for peace. This would put pressure on Gosh and his superiors to end the turmoil they have methodically thrust their country into.
Though the Sudan Divestment Taks Force admits that there is a small chance that divestment can have an impact on Sudanese citizens, they believe the benefits far outweigh the negeative aspects.
Harvard University was a trendsetter when it withdrew its stock from PetroChina and Sinopec, Chinese oil companies operating in Sudan and generating massive amounts of revenue for the Sudanese government.
America’s largest mutual fund company, Fidelity, is one of the main investors in PetroChina. Eric Cohen, Sudan Divestment campaign organizer, said that Fidelity is pumping tons of oil, which is generating massive amounts of revenue for the government of Sudan.