By Naaima Ansari

The 21st Century, an era where we have more than everything. Luxury, fashion, awareness, provisions, shelter, love, friends, technology, education, life - you name it. Despite having everything, we all fail to do one very important thing: strive for a softer world. Genocide - deliberate destruction of a specific race/cultural group. The dreaded word that has taken over 40,000,000 innocent lives, over the last century. In the first years of the twenty-first century, more than 450,000 innocent civilians have been killed by genocidal violence.

Darfur, Sudan: about the size of Texas, the Darfur region is home to countless racially mixed tribes of settled peasants. These peasants are identified as African, nomadic herders, along with Arabs, with the majority of them being Muslims. Genocide occurs due to a neglectful government who fails to listen to what his people have to say. The Khartoum government has consistently failed to support its economic growth, failed to provide the people with educational resources, and provided very little in the way of agriculture, or transportation. The government is too busy trying to earn money for themselves. The condition of the country worsens, leading to extreme poverty. Due to an increase in poverty, the crime rate increases. Innocent people and guiltless children are killed, families are ruined, and people are left utterly hopeless.

Government neglect has left people throughout Sudan deprived and voiceless. It has caused conflict throughout the entire country. Conflicts are not only within Sudan, but outside Sudan as well. Perturbed by poverty and neglect, two Darfurian rebel groups launched an uprising against the Khartoum government. These two rebel groups are the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement. Despite all their efforts to rebel, the government responded pathetically by deciding to sponsor a militia called Janjaweed (composed mainly of the Sudanese military) who used rape, disruption, starvation and mass murdering. This has taken over 400,000 lives and displaced 2.5 million people. Violence and diseases continue to kill thousands of Darfurians every single month.

The Sudanese government is openly contradicting the fact that it supports the Janjaweed militia. The government has assisted the militia and provided them with money. They have also participated in joint attacks targeting specific tribes from which the rebels get their support. The government and Janjaweed attacks have created a major humanitarian crisis. The United Nations has said to have cited about 200,000 to over 400,000 casualties, but the Sudanese government claims that over 9,000 people have been killed. The figure of 9,000 seems to be quite inaccurate. The Sudanese government is known for suppressing information by killing witnesses and jailing journalists, ever since 2004. They have been accused of taking part in gross violations in Darfur, Sudan according to United Nations.

Today, millions of people are living in refugee camps and are in dire need of international support as the violence continues. What are we doing? What can we do? Sometimes we might feel like there's not much we can do about a genocide occurring in an entirely different part of the world. In fact, we can accomplish a lot of things if we do them with determination, and with a goal in mind. To stop genocide, first of all you need to educate yourself about what exactly genocide is, how it all started, why does it start, etc. When you yourself know and have enough knowledge about an ongoing crisis, then you can educate others about it and create awareness. To help prevent genocide, you can also join networks that stand against genocide and are actively working to end it. You can help these networks spread the word, host fundraisers, or simply stand up and ask your governor to do something! You can also make up petitions, sign petitions, create an informative video for Darfur, or simply donate money! We can accomplish anything and everything if we just set our minds to it. It is time for humanity to wake up. It is time for the international community to stand up and pay attention to what exactly is going on in our world today, more importantly, to the recurring problem of genocide. After all, a home isnít a home when everyone is unhappy.


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