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Vail Valley students’ view: The genocide in Darfur

St. Clare of Assisi students
Vail, CO. Colorado
newsroom@vaildaily.com

Editor’s note: The following are essays from eighth-graders at St. Clare of Assisi about genocide in Darfur. Their writing teacher, Audrey Valiton, submitted these:

End Darfur’s genocide

Who could have thought that the world could become such a treacherous and precarious place? In the pocket-size, African region known as Darfur, genocide has become one of the most horrendous issues of our time. In the past six years, the world has said “never again” to genocide in Darfur and around the world, but hardly anything has changed. Genocide is a huge problem in this area and everyone needs to take action in any way possible to put it to an end. It has claimed the lives of thousands, displaced over millions of people from their homes and families, and as an addition to these problems, the victims are completely helpless and cannot do a single thing to save themselves.



The Darfur genocide has claimed many of the lives of the civilians in Darfur. Between 2003 and 2008 an estimated 300,000 people were killed in Darfur. This is happening now because of the oil abundance in Darfur. There are many oil pipes there, and they are one of the reasons for this horrifying tragedy. If everyone helps in any way possible, we can put an end to this dreadful catastrophe.

The genocide has also displaced many Darfur residents from their homes and families. They escape the Janjaweed, rebel army men on horses, but they might never see their families again. They are forced into perilous refugee camps, where it is thought they are taken care of, but they are often starving and dying.



Most of the victims in Darfur are completely helpless to this situation. When they attempt to escape, they are only going to hurt themselves more because in Daoud Hari’s book, “The Translator,” he explains how the rebel commanders try to beat answers that the victims don’t have out of them: “They beat him with sticks, mostly on his arms and legs and his back and the soles of his feet. Finally, I said that I would not translate if they were going to keep beating him.” The beatings can result in starvation, sickness and death.

There are many ways to help and take action. We can assist the hopeless victims by raising money to support them. Simple things like bake sales or passing around donation boxes can be very effective. Selling shirts, hats, pins and more can also raise a lot of money, and promote awareness.

Not helping the genocide in Darfur is basically saying that it is OK to let this continue. There are many great organizations that you can donate to in order to lend a helping hand.



During these struggling times, you may think, “Oh, well I don’t have time or money to donate” or “Now is not a good time.” By just taking five minutes to visit http://www.savedarfur.org, a great organization that displays many ways you can do your part, you can help save the lives of millions.

Elizabeth Angarola

This needs to stop

Picture countless people mercilessly killed every day in a land with people who have been the best of friends for centuries. This is the heartless, devastating truth of the Darfur genocide. These helpless victims are being tortured by their own corrupt government in search of oil.

More than 400,000 people have been viciously murdered in the six-year span of the Darfur genocide. Millions of harmless people have been displaced from their homes only to be moved to equally as dangerous refugee camps. Many children have to undergo severe malnutrition and innocent women and children are being repeatedly raped and beaten. This genocide needs to stop, and we can make that possible.

Although it is nearly impossible to accurately prove the number of people that have died, it is estimated that 400,000 innocent victims have been killed.

Bashir, the dishonest Sudanese president, denies this and claims that the death toll is only 10,000. Because the government is putting on this mass killing of people, the sufferers are not able to defend themselves. The deceitful government; ruthless rebel groups; and Janjaweed, ferocious, armed horseback militias, are a daily threat to Darfur civilians.

When the Janjaweed and bomb-equipped helicopters ravage through the tiny, screaming villages, innocent people are forced to escape to refugee camps. It would seem that these camps in the neighboring country of Chad would be a safe place where everyone is taken care of and fed. But in reality, there are hundreds of wounded, sick and dying people not getting the medical attention needed. More than 80 percent of children under 5 years old are severely malnourished and only 20 percent of them are aided by humanitarian groups. We can raise awareness and make a difference in these numbers to help these blameless people.

Yet another serious problem of the Darfur genocide is how helpless the victims are. They have no way to stand up for themselves or their rights. Because of this, more and more rapes, killings, organized starvations and mass murders are taking place and the people of Darfur are completely and irrevocably vulnerable.

To initiate long-term peace in Darfur, the Sudan government, Janjaweed militia forces and rebel groups of Darfur need to find a way to make an agreement. A peace treaty was signed in 2006, but the government purposefully ignored this and effectively caused more violent attacks.

Daoud Hari, the author of “The Translator,” a memoir of his life in Darfur, took a stand to help his people. He once said, “What do you have to do? You have to face reality … The people need [you ]…” His book has inspired so many people to take action and keeps bringing the miserable tragedies of the Darfur genocide to the surface of millions of minds around the world.

The Darfur genocide is a serious crisis taking place in our world today. If we ignore this tragedy, we are saying that it is OK for it to occur again and again.

One major way you can help is by donating to a reliable source. Many families may think that it is impossible to give money because they can barely support themselves, let alone another country, but there are so many more ways to help. Writing a letter to local officials to take action in stopping the genocide, informing people or hosting a fundraiser for the tragedy in Darfur are all ways to make a remarkable change.

One organization that is reputable is http://www.savedarfur.org. This site has information on how to donate, write letters to officials and has information about other ways to help.

To make final peace in Darfur, we need to do something tremendous in support of their freedom. We need to help the helpless and defend those unable to defend themselves.

Nicole Affleck

Devastating Darfur

Imagine if you came back to your home country, finding it in flames. Imagine if every day you had to see fragile children cry to a sleep where they wouldn’t wake again. Imagine if you had to watch little girls get raped as they went to get firewood in their refugee camp. Imagine the tears swimming in a little boy’s eyes after he realizes his mother was shot. Imagine.

This is the reality in Darfur. We must end the horrifying genocide because countless amounts of innocent people die daily and the refugee camps are unsafe.

Daoud Hari, the author of “The Translator,” has exemplified how we can stop these repulsive killings. You can save the most priceless thing that exists in humanity, a life.

Why are we allowing this devastating event to happen? Every day the world waits, 500 people die in Darfur. Either they are starving to death, tortured, beaten or shot. Every single death rips more hope from the native people. So far, 400,000 harmless people have died. How much further can it go? The answer is up to us.

Choosing to ignore this is basically allowing the killing to continue. Stopping the Darfur genocide should be a priority.

After being forced out of their villages by armed men, the innocent Darfurians retreat to refugee camps. In these camps, girls and women bravely fetch firewood. Unfortunately, the sickening trade for firewood is rape. Soldiers lurk in the vast forests waiting for girls to rape. Boys and men must enlist in the rebel army that sadly will be defeated by its own government. But still, they will be sent away to die for the sake of the people. More than 3 million people face malnutrition, and almost a quarter of them do not have enough to eat.

For one man, these constant and devastating conditions have thrown him over the edge. Born in Darfur, Daoud Hari has thrived through the most difficult moments that have left violent stains on his heart. Yet, Daoud didn’t sit back and watch his life crumble before his feet. He stood up and voiced his painful past through a memoir, The Translator. This novel motivates hundreds of people to take action. Some wonder how he was able to keep helping people after everything he has endured. Through Hari’s compelling story of bravery he explains, “You have to be stronger than your fears if you want to get anything done in this life.” Daoud carries a heavy past, but paves the road to salvation for many. Both a mentor and a hero, he requests, “You have to find a way to laugh a little bit each day despite everything, or your heart will simply run out of the joy that makes it go.”

The Darfur genocide has greatly impacted Africa’s indigenous people. If we are not helping to stop the genocide, we are almost accepting these heartless killings. We must stop it. Now. Each and every person has equal human dignity. In these difficult times, many say they can’t afford to pay for something happening half way across the world. There are many more ways to contribute such as writing a letter to your local governor, fundraising, learning more about Darfur, telling other people or joining a local group. If you decide to donate, please take the time to research where your money actually goes. Remembering the words of Gandhi, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

Bridgett Courtois

Stop the genocide

Imagine hearing helicopters armed with weapons hovering closer and closer above their village. Children and women screaming while trying to escape, as the Janjaweed (slang for devils on horseback) race towards them with guns. Bombs and bullets screeching everywhere, while people struggle to help the horrified village members escape the madness.

This is Darfur, Sudan. The government has gone against the defenseless Darfurians. We need to stop the Darfur genocide so that these powerless people can live. Millions and millions of people have been pushed away from their homes, hundreds of thousands have been killed, and the worst part is they are utterly helpless. People need to help these hopeless people find a solution to this horrendous genocide.

Approximately 2.8 million people have been driven out of Darfur villages. Many people are forced to abandon their homes in order to escape death, and tons must make the vast journey to refugee camps. Because these people have no maps to their destinations, many get lost and die on the way. Survivors struggle to start over without most of their beloved family and friends that have been killed or misplaced. In the camps, the women and children must go and fetch water and firewood for the family. In order to get these necessary items, they are often killed, stolen or cruelly raped on the journey.

Around 400,000 people have been harshly killed in the genocide. Imagine being burned alive in the grass hut they grew up in, drinking the poisonous water that was dropped by a bomb, or being raped repeatedly and then killed with excruciating pain. Statistics show that roughly 500 people die each day, and about 15,000 a month.

The author of “The Translator,” Daoud Hari said, “Someone dead, is dead.” Yes, many people have died, and it is our job to stop this brutal killing.

Numerous amounts of people in Darfur are dying from starvation and dehydration. Statistics show that over 25 percent of children under the age of 5 are suffering from malnutrition. Also, half of the families don’t even have a sufficient amount of food. We can be almost anywhere in our country and have more than necessary amounts of food, where almost half of their families don’t even have enough to support themselves.

By not stopping this awful genocide, it’s the same as us saying that it is OK for this to happen over and over again. Please help these desperate people to find peace and love.

An excellent Web site to visit is savedarfur.org. Many people don’t have the money to donate right now, but there are a lot of other things you can do to help out. Plan a fundraiser, write a letter to government officials, host a movie screening, get speakers for an event, or get the media’s attention. Every little thing that you do to help will make a difference.

Like Daoud Hari said, “The peace will be coming soon one day,” but it won’t be possible without our help.

Hope Thomson


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