Darfur: Just Talking Won’t Saving Lives
Yet all is not without hope in a country where more than 300,000 have died and millions displaced, as there exist numerous organisations with volunteer opportunities being taken up by ordinary individuals. It is perhaps these volunteer opportunities that often just require a signature and a vote of protest that will finally bring peace to the Darfur region.
Darfur Conflict: A Short History
Some claim the conflict in Darfur started as a result of drought and desertification which forced the Baggara nomads and their livestock to move south to land occupied by Black African farming communities. Activist Noam Chomsky claims that the crisis in Darfur came as a result of the United States' bombing of the Al Shifta plant in 1998, which produced significant amounts of medicine to combat malaria and tuberculosis, upsetting potential peace agreements in the region following more than a decade of civil war.
Whether all these reasons, or only some, have contributed to the situation in Darfur remains a matter of speculation. Yet it was in 2003 that a rebellion started with the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) against the Sudanese government with accusations of the oppression and neglect of non-Arabs in favour of Arabs. In response to this the government launched a number of assaults on rebel groups which included aerial bombardments as well as attacks by the Arab Janjaweed militia.
The Janjaweed militia was accused of crimes against humanity which included mass rape, large scale killings, torture and executions and looting of non-Arab communities in Darfur and Chad. By 2004, at least 80,000 individuals have been killed in the region and a million more driven from their homes
Darfur: Volunteer Opportunities
The African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) has been targeting raising a force of 26,000 military personnel to aid in peacekeeping efforts in the Darfur area, many of which stem through volunteer opportunities being taken up. Unfortunately, however, even they are running into problems with the Sudanese government. Prime among these is the fact that the Sudanese government will only allow soldiers from African nations into the country and that it wants to impose restrictions on the movement and surveillance of the peacekeeping forces. Other problems include the failure to reach the 26,000 target and a lack of equipment.
Well-intended actions such as UNAMID and many others depend on volunteer opportunities by individuals all over the world. Talking about Darfur has had little effect in a country where, today, there are people who will die as a result of the conflict. It is perhaps our duty as humans, as civilians with jobs and lives of our own, to take up any of these volunteer opportunities and supply the one thing which we can freely give to aid those in Darfur: A voice. Volunteer opportunities exist aplenty, ranging from a single signature on the internet, to opportunities to donate funds and even more.
Start by logging on to www.savedarfur.org, a website with a collection of initiatives and volunteer opportunities aimed at bringing peace to the region. One such volunteer opportunity merely requires a simple submission of a name, zip code and e-mail address to help pressure China, Sudan’s closest political, military and financial ally, into action against genocide. There are many more volunteer opportunities like it and they all depend on you do make the global voice of peace heard.
Further volunteer opportunities for peace in Darfur can be seen at a number of websites on the internet such as www.HelpSudanInternational.org, www.GenocideIntervention.net, www.darfurrehab.org and many, many more.