This week, I’d like to reflect on the recent article written by George Clooney, John Prendergast and Akshaya Kumar titled “George Clooney on Sudan’s Rape of Darfur”. The article itself is a call to action for people to continue to bring attention to the case of Darfur. (Side-note: Props to George Clooney for using his fame to bring attention to Darfur, it is inspiring to see someone consistently using their fame to a forgotten problem). This critique mentions an extremely important point that I feel we have been working on this entire semester: awareness is the key to working to solve the problem.
But what does awareness even mean? I’ve heard the word so many times it seems to be permanently engrained in my mind, but essentially it means we cannot stop talking about these issues. Once we stop the discussion, people stop remembering, and then people stop caring. We cannot allow important matters like this to fall from our minds. Talking about Darfur and other areas that need urgent attention keep them relevant, and this makes world leaders and others in power pay attention. The reason that Darfur is able to pop up on our newsfeeds or timelines every once in a while is because of the courageous men and women who bravely document what is happening in the region and publicize it. Journalists and aid organizations have been banned from Sudan, so it is up to the Darfuris to give us whatever news they can. Darfuris feel the world has forgotten them, but it is important that we, who have the ability to share information freely, tell the world their story.
It is also important that we make sure we are not taking part in fueling the conflict. There are sanctions in place on Sudan, but they aren’t really being enforced. This political move does nothing if the government doesn’t follow through. It is time that governments make human rights a priority! I’m not in a position of governmental power, but I know I want to use the voice that I do have to make sure humans are put first.
I want to make a difference, and I want to see change, but I cannot do it alone. I’m lucky to be surrounded by like-minded people in our Genocide & Advocacy class, but its sad to say that many others don’t care as much as we do. They don’t see these issues as relevant to them, but I honestly don’t think that’s a good enough excuse (if that’s what we can call it). It is our human nature to want to help other humans. Seriously, how do we need to make the world pay attention even after we’ve labeled what is happening in Darfur to be genocide?! Personally I do not care if people get annoyed with how much I talk about issues of global oppression anymore. It’s my hope that maybe one day I will say something to someone (even if it’s just one person) that sparks an initiative for them to want to create change too.
Note: I’ve included a few more pictures from the same source as the ones I posted from Feb. 11th. These pictures had to be sent anonymously for fears of repercussion from the Sudanese government.