A little less than genocide

Life is more than a case of beer

Life is more than a case of beer

Savannah Garner

It’s hard to live in Middle America and understand the life of someone oceans away. It’s even more difficult to fathom someone who lives each day with one purpose: to survive.

Since 2003, 1.3 million people have been internally displaced in the Darfur region of Sudan, according the International Justice Coalition. Another 100,000 have fled for their lives to inadequate refugee camps in neighboring nations, and as many as 400,000 have been murdered in a modern-day ethnic cleansing.

The Janjaweed, a government-funded militant Arab group, has been terrorizing communities, raping women and young girls, burning villages, torturing innocent people, and ravaging Darfur for more than five years. The Janjaweed come from an Islamic culture that has clashed with the African minority population for centuries, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The cause? Africans are thought to be second-rate citizens compared to Arab descendants. Sudan’s president, Omar Bashir, empathizes with the Janjaweed. Journalists for the International Crisis Group have reported that he supplies armed forces and influences the government to silence journalists, destroy forensic evidence of mass graves and block aid coming into the nation.

Groups such as Amnesty International and UNICEF have been calling for more help from the outside world. But the U.N. Security Council and major world powers are avoiding calling the crisis a genocide, because doing so would require U.N. intervention to end the violence. Instead, they call it a “mass human rights violation.” Basically, this and genocide are the same thing, except one costs more money. But when it comes down to a life versus a dollar, the difference should be monumental.

It’s easy to ignore a child dying in a disease-ridden Red Cross tent in the middle of the desert thousands of miles away. It’s easy to pretend entire communities aren’t being burned to the ground, as long as those communities aren’t close to home. But they are home to someone. Before Republican, before Democrat, before American, we are all citizens of the world. We have a responsibility to help those in need to the best of our ability. In the words of Mother Teresa, “If we do not have peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”