Last Saturday evening, I had the privilege of seeing the documentary The Devil Came on Horseback, a portrayal of the genocide currently occurring in Sudan's Darfur region. I am also in the process of reading Dave Eggers What is the What, a novel based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng one of the "Lost Boys" victimized by the Sudanese civil war that preceded the current violence. I highly recommend both the film and the book. The story of Sudan is an important story for you to know.
Here's some highlights for you to know:
- 450,000 are dead
- 2.5-3 million people are displaced
- 3.5 million depend on food aid
A little bit more: The Rwandan genocide lasted 100 days. The genocide in Darfur began in 2003, raging for the last five years. The US government declared the conflict in the Darfur region genocide in 2007. According to the Geneva Conference, any nation declaring a conflict to be genocide is required to take action to end the genocide. The US has done nothing past speech-making at the UN since the declaration. The UN itself has passed 27 resolutions, each of which was so watered-down that no action has taken place. China who gets most of its oil from Sudan continues to protect the government and keep any real action from taking place. The current conflict in Chad, Sudan's neighbor, is fueled by the Sudanese government who have aided the rebels in Chad. The conflict began on the day that European Union troops were scheduled to arrive to provide aid and protection for the Sudanese refugees. EU troop deployment has been delayed.
What you can do: Write to your senators and congressmen. Write to the president. Demand that the US move to end the conflict. There is much that we can do without forcing our own troops into further conflict. Become informed and inform others. Make sure that your investments are not in Sudanese oil. If you have connections with the coming Olympics, make sure that the conflict in Darfur is heard about everywhere. The Olympics are a great opportunity to pressure China to stop exporting oil and impose economic sanctions on the Sudanese government. Cut your own use of oil and boycott Shell Oil, the largest producer of oil in Sudan. Do not be afraid or too complacent to take action.
Above all, pray for an end to the conflict. I believe that God cares deeply for the Sudanese refugees, the raiders backed by the Sudanese government, and the officials of that government. We have a God of justice, love, and hope. These are the things that Sudan needs more than anything. Pray. And then pray again.
To learn more, check out the movie website. It's a great resource with links to several organizations involved in the fight to end genocide.