Save Darfur

June 5, 2012
By lilja BRONZE, China, Maine
lilja BRONZE, China, Maine
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Would you want to be hungry, in poverty, and struggling to survive in a world torn apart by war and genocide? The awful way kids are living in Darfur, a region in the western corner of Sudan, needs to dramatically change. According to the United Human Rights Council, before war broke out in Darfur, 6 million people lived in peace. Since the war broke out in 2003, between 200 and 400 thousand people have died with over 80% from starvation directly or starvation related diseases; half of these deaths have been children. I believe that we should most definitely find a way to help them before many more children die.

Genocide is inhumane, murderous, and needs to be put to an end. The Darfur region of Sudan is most likely the worst place for children to live in the world; a place where war rages, and starvation still continues to be a problem. Kids should definitely not be living under these circumstances - I don’t believe anyone should. According to the Save Darfur organization, over 3 million people have been forced to flee inside and outside of Sudan. Again, half of these are children, and they are very vulnerable to disease, rape, and attack.

Stories of survival in the midst of this genocide are heart-wrenching. For instance, El Fadel Arbab was a 12-year old when his village was attacked by the Janjaweed militia. He was separated from his family when they all tried to escape into the forest, and he got stuck inside a burning hut. The Janjaweed threw him atop the bodies of dead children, but El Fadel narrowly escaped through an opening in a door even though his body was on fire. He now lives in Portland, Maine, and shares his story to keep the awareness of the genocide alive.

Starvation and malnutrition are awful and sickening conditions that can be avoided; something has to be done to change the way kids live in this part of the world. Each year the conflict drags on, and tens of thousands of children are dying because of problems caused by starvation. But the government of Sudan is not open to letting food assistance get to where it’s needed most. The government in Khartoum is strongly against foreign assistance of any kind. They believe this is their issue and not the world’s.

Some might say that there are plenty of kids who need help at home, that we should help those in the US before we look to help those overseas. They say that the economic depression we are in has left many young people in poverty and hungry every day, and that we need to take care of our country first before we can help others. This may be true, but the genocide in Darfur changes everything. Murder and wide scale death by starvation demands our attention. We need to take a stand and provide relief and immediate help to the children in this part of Africa.

There are some real practical things we could do. For example, we can do a bottle drive, a fundraising dinner, or a dance. The money we raise from these activities can go to African relief agencies on the ground. We can also raise awareness about the genocide through social networking and in-school presentations. Every little bit helps to change peoples’ minds and make a positive impact.

Ultimately, unless governments and groups like ours bring attention to the crimes of the Sudanese government, they will continue to rape and murder innocent people. It’s always the kids that suffer when politics take a higher priority than humanitarian aid. For these reasons, we need to keep this issue in the forefront of our collective conscience. What we do in China, Maine, can make a difference halfway across the globe. As Pulitzer prize winning author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel says, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” Let’s not be indifferent, let’s act!

The author's comments:
I was inspired to write about this piece when I found out what the situation and living conditions were like in Darfur. I really like helping people, and I thought I could raise awareness by posting this piece.

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