By Cobin Szymanski | SUDAN, AFRICA
The gunshots are resonating throughout the village as the sun is just concluding the day by setting over the peaks of a fertile valley in southern Sudan. The villagers are laying down their lives to protect the women, children and elderly hastening up the Marrah Mountains.
It began as a peaceful and elegant day with the smell of sweet rice enveloping the village. The villagers had been preparing for the onslaught of the Janjaweed, the devils on horseback until the mortar shells beseeched them to depart. The Janjaweed ultimately overcome the intrepid villagers willing to lay down their lives. While the Janjaweed begin to slaughter any living being in the small village, the new widows are making their way to Chad. The Zaghawa tribesman and the Arab people had long coincided peacefully in the fertile valleys of Darfur, those times have long passed. This is only one story of the many villages experiencing every day what the U.S has recently labeled, Genocide.
Prior to Sudanese independence in 1956, the 800 British colonial leaders were ousted by the new democratic party, however, only four were replaced with southern Sudanese leaders. This created tensions in the South and in 1955 a militia group formed in Torit southern Sudan; it was quickly suppressed but lead to the first Sudanese civil war. The citizens of Sudan endured an almost 17-year-long war between the northern and southern factions, with a loss of life 500,000 strong the country began to quake in the fear of the imposing second civil war. While civil unrest began to increase exponentially due to an Islamification law that was being pushed through the Congress of Sudan, southerners started to become discontent in their own country. When the civil war was reignited in 1987 with the southern guerrilla army fighting the north, and after innumerable unsuccessful peace deals displaced millions of people, an impetuous deal was finally struck 2004. With Darfuris demanding better educational opportunities and representation, the attacks began.
The helicopters would arrive first to the village and decimate the huts and any other precious structures, then the Janjaweed come to slaughter, rape and pollute water supplies. The dead bodies that remain are thrown into the wells or left to rot. The attacks are relentlessly and death estimates from an approximately 10-year period are 480,000 lives lost. This does not merely describe the damage that has occurred in Darfur, along with the dead, 2.8 million people have been displaced into neighboring Chad. The condition that the refugees will face there is appalling, virtually no educational opportunities, rape is prevalent and even necessary for it has been reported that in order to collect water from a well, women are forcibly raped. This is a disregard of the internationally accepted proclamation of human rights by the U.N. When the villagers are either massacred or forced to flee the survivors are deprived of water and food due to polluted water or crop failures. Thousands of malnourished souls wander the desert or reside in refugee camps fleeing the persecution that has cost half of a million lives.
In recent times, the attacks have continued despite the peace agreement signed between the southern rebels and Khartoum in 2010. However, many sources report that the attacks have continued notwithstanding the peace agreement that was signed between the rebel factions. Millions of people remain displaced in Chad and more people have been forced to flee as a result of the 5-year war between Chad and Sudan and the encroaching Janjaweed attacks. In 2006 a referendum was passed allowing the U.N to deploy a peacekeeping office of 17,300 into Sudan, however, it was opposed by Sudan in a steadfast manner further escalating the tensions in the area. A referendum has been considered to give Darfur extra regional autonomy however, no progress has been made. In 2014, 400,000 more people were displaced as a result of the conflict, demonstrating the conflict has no end in sight.
In conclusion, the genocide in Darfur has been a contentious world issue since its commencement in 2003. while the issues of human right protections and opposition towards oppressive governments will continue to be debated in the developing world one thing is for certain; the world will continue to wonder how the government of Sudan and Omar al Bashir has managed to orchestrate a mass genocide of non-Arab people in southern Sudan.
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