When people hear the word genocide many immediately think of the Holocaust. They think of Hitler, Germany, and the persecution of the Jews. They might think of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. And maybe, thanks to the incredible movie Hotel Rwanda, some may think of the Rwandan Genocide of the Tutsis by the majority Hutus.
But whenever we think of genocide it is always thought of as something in the past. Something we read about in our history books or go to museums about. We disconnect ourselves from it as a horrible time that has already happened. This isn’t the case. Genocide is still happening today.
The War in Darfur, which began in 2003 when rebel groups fought against the government for oppressing Darfur’s non-Arab population and the government responded by ethnically cleansing against the non-Arabs. They responded to the attacks by simply just trying to get rid of them.
This is an ongoing conflict and killings still continuing today. Since 2003, over 480,000 people have been killed and over 2.8 million have been displaced. The group carrying out the attacks is known is the Janjaweed, which are government-funded and armed ARab militias. However, the Sudanese government denies any association with them. Failed peace talks with the Sudanese government are what are allowing the conflict to continue. The government has also expelled aid agencies from entering the country and are denying any involvement with deliberately killing their civilians.
A question I have is why is this conflict still going on? That is a loaded question, I know, but genocide is preventable. Gregory H. Stanton in “The Eight Stages of Genocide” lays out a clear eight stage process that leads to genocide and within each of these stages provides ideas on how to prevent it from moving forward. The Darfur conflict and genocide has been happening for over a decade. It is the first genocide declared in the 21st century and it is still happening. Stanton states, “at each stage, preventative measures can stop it.” Is there a way we can figure out what stage Darfur is in, my guessing it is stage eight (denial), and then use the preventative measures to stop it? Maybe I am living in a dream world or maybe the international community has lost hope for this conflict, but if we have the eight steps of genocide with solutions to each step, there has to be something we can do.