Teen Talk 6-8

The Conflict in Darfur Needs Attention
Part II of III   
   Darfur is not a country but a region in Sudan. It is located in the west of Sudan next to the Central African Republic and Chad……
        One photographer said, “ In Darfur, my camera is not nearly enough.” As an eyewitness to the traumas they faced he said, “ The pictures I took can only show part of the problems they face.” That photographer’s name is Brian Steidle, a former U.S. Marine.  He is a member of the African Union team monitoring the conflict in Darfur. He took thousands of pictures documenting the atrocities that these people have faced – including small children. The pictures he took were extremely graphic and show the brutality of their oppressors against them. He landed in Sudan in 2004 along with two other military observers. When he got around he saw the destruction of these people. The first picture he took was a child who had been shot and her lung had been punctured. Immediately upon seeing him, her mother thought he was a doctor. She lifted up her torn body to his eyes but all he could offer her was a prayer and a look of compassion as their escort told her that they would alert the humanitarian aid for her daughters sake.


     This situation is getting out of hand. Just in the last month there have been 2,635 articles about the Janjaweed attacks, 9,059 articles about Darfur and 1,409 articles published about Sudanese genocide. This crisis is about to hit the 4-year mark and China has just sent an envoy to Darfur and President George W. Bush and Tony Blair have just meet to discuss the problem in Darfur. If our politicians remain ignorant than we remain ignorant of the ongoing problems of the world not just in Darfur. On April 7 2007, almost 200 people, including civilians and rebel personnel, died in one battle at the Chad-Sudan border between two rebel groups who are being backed b y their countries. This happened even though Chad denied ever crossing into Sudan. On March 31, 400 innocents were killed by Janjaweed militiamen who left behind them a mass amount of graves and destruction. Since most of the bodies were buried when found and those who escaped the initial attack usually die of exhaustion and dehydration they may never know the true amount of casualties. Even those who try to keep the peace are shot down in their valiant efforts to save these people. On April 10, 3 peacekeepers were shot at, two injured and one dead. One gunman rode by and shot up their whole patrol. Five peacekeepers were shot at the Sudan border after being just attacked by gunman. They only have a 7000 person force to police all of Darfur, which is about the size of Texas or France. Interviewees said that gunmen attacks are frequent and they are trying hard to stop them. They report that 200,000 have been killed and 2.5 million displaced even though the capital says only 9,000 have been killed. But a Catholic school posted a billboard on April 1 on a busy street of Springfield, Illinois. Posted on it says “ Stop genocide in Darfur 400,000 dead –and counting.” This is a more accurate number as reported by the United Nations. “A lot of people still don’t know about the atrocities happening in Darfur,” said Matthew Coryell, who teaches world history other classes in the history department at SHG the school sponsoring the billboard. “In order to get people to put their apathy aside, for lack of a better word, it needs to be ‘advertised,’” said Coryell, who instigated the Darfur awareness movement at the school. All of these articles have been published by reliable sources and have been out there. This conflict should have never lasted this long. We must present this media to the powers that be or establish a wider base for media prowess.

Gianni Risper is a 10th grade student.  He attends Eastern High School in Lansing, MI.