2007-08-24 / Editorial/Opinion

It's Time For The World To Act In Darfur

Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have been raped and murdered in Darfur, a western region in the African nation of Sudan. The conflict began in the arid and impoverished region early in 2003, after a rebel group began attacking government targets over land and grazing rights between the mostly-nomadic Arabs and the farmers from the Fur, Massaleet and Zagawa communities. All of the groups involved have split in the past four years along ethnic lines. And, innocent civilians continue to suffer and die. More than 2 million of those who survived the brutal fighting are living in camps after four years of battle. Many believe that this is a holocaust of world-class proportions, yet many Americans would be hard-pressed to point to Darfur on a world map, nonetheless Sudan. Sudan's government and the pro-government Arab militias are accused of war crimes against the region's black African population. While the United Nations falls short of calling the actions of the government "genocide," it recently approved a 26,000-strong peacekeeping force for the region. It is a complex problem, but one thing is clear. Nothing will happen to stabilize Darfur and its neighbors without the intervention of the world community. All approaches must be tried, including troops, diplomatic efforts and coordinated economic pressure. It is clear that the aggressor and villain in this controversy is the government of Sudan, along with its henchmen - the Janjaweed, a militia group made up mostly of Arab nomads from the Rizeigat region and the Sudanese military. This is genocide and can certainly be called a holocaust. Whatever you call it, it must be stopped.

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