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Darfur

Genocide in Darfur Katelyn Barker Darfur, Sudan: Wani, an eleven-year-old girl, hears her stomach rumble. It has been many days since she and her two little brothers, Jaali and Mukhtar, have eaten. The refugee camp they have been forced to flee to has little food, so sometimes it is up to a week that they must wait for food. Wani has taken to caring for her two little brothers all by herself. A few months ago, her father was brutally murdered in the middle of the desert by the Janjaweed, the Sud
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  Genocide in Darfur Katelyn Barker Darfur, Sudan: Wani, an eleven-year-old girl, hears her stomach rumble. It has been many days since she and her two little brothers, Jaali and Mukhtar, have eaten. Therefugee camp they have been forced to flee to has little food, so sometimes it is up to aweek that they must wait for food. Wani has taken to caring for her two little brothers all by herself. A few months ago, her father was brutally murdered in the middle of thedesert by the Janjaweed, the Sudanese government’s militia, just because he was notArab. Wani’s mother died of hunger and dehydration. She took care of her mother untilthe moment she passed. Now, Wani and her brothers are left alone. Their rib cages jut outof their smooth, dark skin like twenty-four sharp knives. Their backs show a perfectsilhouette of their spines. Their faces are dirt-caked and tear-stained. Wani doesn’tunderstand why her tribe is being attacked like this, and why God would let this happento her family. She has only one question. Why will no one help her?Darfur covers a large area in Sudan about the size of France. It is full of mountains, desert lands, and wadis , which are riverbeds that only flow with water duringthe rainy season. This rugged terrain tests the survival skills of its inhabitants. Not only isthis area in Africa unforgiving, it is dangerous. Darfur has been a place of hate and civilwar since 2003. The Janjaweed is a private militia that targets non-Arab rebels and thetribes from which the rebels get support. The Sudanese government has denied that theysupport the Janjaweed, but has in fact provided ammunition and funds in an attempt towipe out the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa ethnic groups. This ethnic “cleansing” is calledgenocide.Genocide is the mass killing of a large group of people. When the word genocideis mentioned, most people of today think of World War II, when Adolph Hitler attemptedto eliminate Jews and other ethnic groups from the face of the earth. Horrible events likethis did not end in 1945, however. They are still going on today, and have been so for several years now. Darfur has been recorded as one of the worst cases of genocide sincethe Second World War. Two and a half million people have lost their homes andlivelihood. 200,000 have been reported dead, though some sources claim up to 500,000.More than twenty percent of children under the age of five are suffering form severemalnutrition. These numbers are sickening. People are starving to death because theJanjaweed has cut off the resources into their villages, or the refugee camps, like Wani’s,are so poor and run down that they cannot feed the entire camp. Others die from disease,while so many die violent deaths trying to protect their families and homes. Many girlsare being raped by men of the Janjaweed as a sign of power over the rebels, giving thegirls disease. Some get pregnant, leaving them with one more hungry mouth that theycannot feed. So why is nothing being done to stop these horrific events?In 2005, former President Bush told the people of Darfur and around the world inhis Inaugural Address, “When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.”However, nothing has been done since then to save these people from this life of hopelessness. Money has been sent to help, but no significant and outstanding progresshas been made. This all leads up to the question, “What can we do?”There are so many ways for everyone, even kids, to help. You can visit websites,like darfurisdying.org or darfurgenocide.org, to learn more. Join local organizations likeRoanoke Defend Darfur at savedarfur.org. You can also donate money to savedarfur.org,  or any other organization for this cause. No matter how small the contribution, your voicecounts. Help end the violence. Help bring justice to the world. Help save Darfur.
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