I Need Direction to Perfection

Honestly: My blog made me feel stressed and incompetent.

I am constantly on my laptop.  I’m a mac user, which basically means I don’t really have to know how to do anything computer-related, because I have a handy dandy search bar that pulls up anything I need for me.  I am notorious for saving things to my computer in any folder in any spot that happens to be my computers preset, and then when I need to find it again, I simply use my search bar.

I really wanted my blog to be interesting visually.  I was unhappy with most of the preset blog backgrounds, and I didn’t know enough coming into this to figure out how to change the preset picture, etc.

I had a really hard time posting.  I would write my posts as word documents, because as an English major, I have a very long and dependable relationship with Microsoft Word.  This did not work, as my posts wouldn’t show up on my blog, which I discovered at grading time.

UGGGH.  I had to retrain myself.  I spent a day going through my dashboard and figuring out where things were.  I made a separate blog that I experimented with.  I figured out how to link things to my blog, insert video, and make those handy little quote blocks.  The more time I spent fiddling with my blog the better I got.  Now I’m addicted…

So I’m going to grad school, and I’ve decided that my “practice blog” is going to be my place to update the people I love on my life at Eastern.  Oi Vey.

Moral of the Story: I now Love the stupid blog.

 

In all seriousness this assignment took a lot of time and effort that I didn’t expect.  When we were assigned a War Blog I figured it would be really simple.  Clearly I was wrong.  I feel I may have benefited from some sort of training session.  Maybe not the whole class time, but I’m dense and clearly needed a little more instruction then some of the people in the class.  When I’m browsing some of the other blogs, I’m so impressed by the creativity of my class mates.  I think one of the best things about the blog is that it’s a place where you can really be creative.  I wish I had realized this earlier on, because I mostly posted in very school-like/formal way.

I am really grateful for this experience.  I’m glad that I now posses the knowledge and ability to make a blog.  And I think working on them as a class project helped me learn the various ways a blog can turn out.

I’m fairly certain that Google Reader is the new love of my life.  I am a news hound, I’m always looking through google, yahoo, cnn.com, and a variety of other news sources.  With google reader I have the NY Times, the Detroit News, as well as the online sources I love coming right to me, and I can use the search bar to locate the news stories I’m following.  It’s a great resource and I recommend it to every one I know.

As for Darfur…I plan to remove some of my news sources from my Google Reader, simply because having over a thousand news stories coming to me every day about the suffering there is completely depressing.  I’m glad that I am now so knowledgeable about this topic.  What is currently happening in Darfur is horrific and I really believe that information about it is the first step to change.  I hope my blog was able to give even a few people more information about the people dying there every single day.

-jaimee

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Published in: on April 22, 2009 at 4:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

You Say You Want a Revolution…

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Ishmael Beah Lecture & Afghan Women

Army Strong

Letters From Absolutely No One

All I know

War Method of Starvation-How Effective?

The clean, sterile smell of the rear

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Also:

As time went on, I added some new stuff to my reader

1.) I added a search entitled Obama + Darfur this search turned up a lot of the information I ended up using in my blog posts.  It gave me a lot of information about what the Obama administration plans to do to help in Darfur, and the ways in which the President addresses this situation.

2.) I did another search for Darfur + Violence.  This search helped me find articles on specific acts of violence perpetrated against innocent victims.  I received a lot of human interest stories from this search, especially in regards to aid workers and the Darfuri people who benefit from their help.

3.) I found a War blog on WordPress entitled Darfur: an Unforgivable Hell on Earth.  I didn’t use very much from this blog.  But it is very well organized, has tons of links and information, and often I read it simply for my own interest.  Any one who is interested in Darfur should definitely check out this blog.

4.) I also used an Rss Micro Feed entitled Sudan.  This was great, I found a lot of information through this search.  

I was not able to find a pod cast specifically dedicated to Darfur that I liked, so I didn’t include it on my feed.  But I sometimes would receive them through my Rss Sudan search.

Published in: on April 22, 2009 at 4:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Unprepared for Eternity

Aid workers warn that the greatest impact will be on women and children

Following the hasty removal of aid workers from Sudan, the refugees of Darfur who were reliant on the aid workers for food and water, shelter, and medical care are quickly deteriorating.  Without the aid workers support hundreds of thousands of women and children will likely die from starvation, exposure, or disease that could have been prevented. 

For lack of western medicine, many women are turning to traditional remedies of herbs and prayers to cure infection, in their own bodies as well as those of their children.  It is also likely that victims of rape will die at higher rates now that there is no one to give them immediate medical attention following violent sexual assaults.

The weak are often the targets of violence, women and children notoriously die at higher rates in war torn countries.   Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone is most definitely the most relatable store we have read to my topic of Darfur.  Though he was a boy soldier in Sierra Leon, his experiences with war fare were very similar to the type of fighting now occurring in Darfur.  The raiding of villages and taking of hostages only to torture them are very similar tactics to those employed against the Darfuri people.

Vietnam is the only American example of “bush warfare”, but it seems from what the news tells us that the organized war machines of the west do not exist in African communities.  The violence is extremely personal, and it is not soldiers being targeted for attack, but rather women and children, families in their homes, entire villages of innocent people.  It is nothing like the type of fighting we read about in A Testament of Youth of Since You Went Away.

“Health efforts in Darfur have long focused on women, since they are usually the primary providers and caregivers of the family in refugee camps. Aid workers say they had made modest gains in health benchmarks for women and children in recent years. Now they fear those will be reversed.

The expulsion of 13 international and three Sudanese aid agencies from Darfur in March interrupted nutritional programs for malnourished children and pregnant and nursing mothers and shut down many programs to train midwives, promote hygiene, and help women suffering from violence.

It has also removed many of the experts who were dealing with and tracking sexual assaults. Getting women to report attacks has always been difficult. With trusted experts now gone, it gets even harder, U.N. officials say. Women may also be less likely to report attacks to government aid agencies, which are taking a larger role in treating refugees.

“We may not have information” on violence, one U.N. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Even non-governmental Sudanese aid groups “won’t be free to report” harassment or sexual violence for fear of government reprisals, the official said.”

With out the aid workers, it seems that the high number of innocent victims will continue to fall as casualties to this ethnic warfare.  Like the communities raided in Beah’s novel, the women and children of Darfur will continue to be terrorized, brutalized, and murdered.  Sadly the presence of aid workers was not generally able to prevent this.  But at least they had a place to go to for help.  Now there is no longer any such refuge.

Darfur’s Innocent Victims, Sarah El Deeb, The Philadelphia Enquirer, April 19, 2009

 

Published in: on April 22, 2009 at 1:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Falling Like Flies in a Bloodpath of Pain

“6,000 people had been displaced by the attacks and thousands of cattle were taken.”

When watching Born On the Fourth of July, I though a lot about how similar the experiences of Tim O’Brian’s characters in Things We Carried were to those of Tom Cruise’s character in the movie.  I believe that seriously thinking about the atmosphere surrounding the war in Vietnam is very relevant to current American policies, and especially the war in Iraq, and how this conflict has affected my generation.  There seem to be a lot of correlations between the America of the 1960’s and America today.  Unlike WWII, which had a huge national following and widespread support from the entire nation, Vietnam and Iraq are both wars that have divided the allegiances of the country.

That being said, I’ll get back to my main topic of the conflict in Darfur.  I felt that the movie Born on the Fourth of July was filmed in such an interesting way.  So many of the scenes resonated with me.  Probably the most striking scene was that of the shooting in the village.  The director did such an amazing job capturing the emotion and feel of that situation.  The confusion of the shooting of the village, and the aftermath, when the soldiers realize that they have killed innocent people, including children were all depicted very well.  Sadly the innocent casualties of war are often brushed under the rug, and in general people are so blasé about the innocent victims of warfare.  When Tom Cruise’s character realizes that he has killed people who had no way of defending themselves, it really strikes a nerve for him.

I believe that this is one of the reasons that Darfur has struck such a cord for the general public.  While I have often blogged that there is not enough support for the innocents of Darfur, it is important to recognize those who are actively trying to promote change in Sudan.

Recently there was a news story issued about the village raids occurring in Darfur.  One of the deadliest aspects of the fighting in Sudan is that the skirmishes take place between small armies from different tribes.  These heavily armed groups come into villages and kill every one, including children in retribution for cattle losses.

‘He said at least 17 villages controlled by the Murle tribe were attacked from March 5 to 13 by armed members of the Lou Nuer tribe. He said the attacks were in retaliation for the theft of around 20,000 head of Lou Nuer cattle in January.
Mr. Adikiu said about 6,000 people had been displaced by the attacks and thousands of cattle were taken. Cattle are highly prized and represent wealth, status and stability.
Andy Pendleton, a United Nations official in southern Sudan, confirmed that his office had received reports that a large number of people had been killed in the fighting.
“The situation is rather alarming,” he said. “Usually the fighting is between cattle-guarding combatants. But this time it’s different. You also have people caught in the middle, and they lost their lives.”
United Nations personnel have made a quick visit to the area and are planning to send a full team in to assess humanitarian needs this week, he added.’

These small skirmishes are resulting in the deaths of thousands of people, but are very hard to prevent as they are not planned or perpetrated by a organized army as we would think of them in America.

When I read this article I thought of the scene in the village.  I thought about the innocent people who die every day in Sudan as a result of warfare and greed.  When Tom Cruise was faced with the loss of life in Born on the Fourth of July a face was put on that suffering.  Though it was a movie, and the viewing understands that it is not technically real, I believe that such depictions resonate with the ‘story truth’ that O’Brian talked about in The Things They Carried.  The scenes were technically not real and in a movie, but they are images that resemble those that actually occur all over the world.  People actually do die in the ways that Tom Cruise witnessed in Born on the Fourth of July and it’s important to take such images seriously, and to remember that story truth is not just for entertainment value.

Village Raids Kill Over 200 in the South of Sudan, Reuters, March 15, 2009

Published in: on April 18, 2009 at 8:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hear Me When I Say There Will Come A Day

“As far as Sudan is concerned, Darfur is just a cauldron. Something sinister is cooking.”

Unfortunately in the eyes of the American public Darfur seems to be faceless. We do not really have much to relate the crises too, other than the images we receive from the media. Because we are so far removed from the war zone, it is easy for us to push it out of our minds, to compartmentalize it as an issue to deal with at a more convenient time. America puts about five billion dollars a year toward the relief effort in Sudan. President Obama has appointed Retired Major General Jonathan Scott Gratian as the chief envoy for Sudan, who has said “Sudan is a priority for this administration, particularly at a time it cries out for peace and for justice. The worsening humanitarian crisis there makes our task all the more urgent.”

Hopefully the Obama administration will bring the fighting in Darfur to the forefront of our public media. By putting more of the suffering, as hard as it may be to see, in a visual context, more people are likely to support providing aid. Visual representations provide a more accurate representation of the suffering that humanitarian groups are aiming to help relieve. Tim O’Brian touches on the facelessness, or othering of people who are either ethnically different or geographically different from ourselves.

In his vignette The Man I Killed O’Brian talks about the young soldier he killed one day, for seemingly no other reason than that he could. Though years later he still remembers all of the specific details of the event, including the fact that he “did not hate” the young soldier. It seems that he didn’t feel much for the man he killed, until afterward when he was overcome with guilt. This is a recurrent literary theme, the idea of separating ourselves from people we view as different from ourselves. I believe that this is one of the issues that is occurring in the American psyche in regards to Darfur, much of the Western World tends to view problems in Africa as something separate from the rest of the world, or some how less important. It seems to be a natural human condition to form groups and concern ourselves with what is best for the group, rather than all of human kind.

“As far as Sudan is concerned, Darfur is just a cauldron. Something sinister is cooking. Darfur and other festering conflicts of Sudan need to be resolved soon or else they will boil over. It is for this reason that the US contributes so generously towards the provision of 4.5 million people in Darfur with assistance for food, shelter and protection. The Sudanese authorities, however, have questioned the meaning of “protection”. Is it a euphemism for subversion, perhaps? The armed conflicts in Africa are legion. Darfur is of a different order, however. Sudan’s feeble attempts to enhance its security and break the logjam of armed opposition groups by force led to intensified opposition to Sudanese government forces and their local allies, the Arabised Janjaweed militias. Brute force breeds political intransigence and militancy. Ripples through Darfur progressively swell into waves throughout Sudan. If badgered, Sudan might well disintegrate like the former Yugoslavia. But does it really make sense to extrapolate future paths for northern, western and southern Sudan? Only if that is the will of the people concerned.”

In today’s world, which is in many ways smaller than ever, we are all interconnected. What is happening in other parts of the world is relevant to what is happening in America, it does matter. I would like to think that we don’t want Darfur to be another Rwanda. We do not want to wake up one day and say to ourselves “Why didn’t we help them when we had the chance?”

Feel The Fear, Gamal Nkrumah, April 2009


Published in: on April 17, 2009 at 12:17 am  Leave a Comment  

Bloody Hands Time Can’t Deny

“It’s a very dangerous profession indeed and I don’t think that’s understood as much as maybe it should be.”

In trying to connect the letters we read and discussed in Since You Went Away to the current state of events in Darfur, the only thing that really stood out to me was the difference between living in the war zone and living far removed from the fight.

For American Soldiers during WWII, one comfort must have been the knowledge that their families were relatively safe on the home front. Though we are not technically engaged in a ‘war’ with Darfur, we do have aid workers from a variety of activist and aid organizations in Sudan trying to relieve the suffering of the victims. These workers are not trained soldiers, but generally people who have some medical background, work as translators, or are individuals with little to no training who just want to help.

We don’t tend to consider those people who are putting themselves in harms way in order to help others. Often the news releases that we receive concerning the war in Sudan will focus specifically on the troubles of the Sudanese people who are the victims of the current ‘ethnic cleansing’ occuring in Darfur, and rightly so, this should be the world’s focus. But we should not forget those who are attempting to right this wrong, and those that are being severely injured in consequence of their acts of good will.

“Last year marked a surge in violence against international relief workers and local UN contractors such as the truck drivers who deliver food aid in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region.

There has also been a dramatic increase in kidnappings over the past three years. The latest in Sudan took place on Saturday when unknown armed men snatched two female aid workers, a French and a Canadian, from their compound in southern Darfur.

Altogether, 260 humanitarian workers were attacked in 155 serious incidents in 2008 — compared with 27 incidents in 1998, according to figures compiled by the Center on International Co-operation (CIC) in New York and the Overseas Development Institute in London”

While reading the section entitled The Price of Victory, I thought about these deceased and injured aid workers quite a bit. It is a hard question, but is it a price we as Americans are willing to pay? In WWII, granted we were faced with an increasingly imperialist German regime and the Japanese bombing on Pearl Harbor, we mobilized our troops into action to prevent the extermenation of those dying in Nazi slave labor camps. Is it Sudan’s lack of agression toward us that has prevented us from protecting the innocents in Darfur? And if so, how do we explain our intervention in Iraq, which has often been described as an interference to promote “democracy and freedom”. Not to split hairs…but I would hope on the scale of importance fighting genocide would appear as slightly more important than spreading democracy. But maybe that’s just me.

The Letter of Lucille ‘Lou’ DesCoteau (232-233)  stood out to me perhaps more than any other. Her letter was an utterly selfless beseeching of the return of her high school sweet heart from a POW camp. In it she asks General MacArthur to act on the behalf of the American soldiers still being held in prisoner camps by the Japanese following the end of the war. In her letter she states “I can’t help but think that something could be done” for those soldiers who have fought for their country. I would extend Lou’s plea for our good will workers in Darfur. If these humanitarians are willing to offer a hand of help and friendship, at the very least they deserve our respect, and all the help that we can reasonably give them.

2008 Was the Deadliest Year for Aid Workers, Emma Batha, Reuters, 4/6/2009

Published in: on April 16, 2009 at 3:42 pm  Comments (1)  

ACME’s Build a World to Be

We felt we needed to act as urgently as our Darfuri friends are being forced to make the decision about walking across the desert in search of supplies or staying and dying

April is National Genocide Awareness Month. Following our reading of Maus, we turned to another piece of literature that focuses on the first hand account of a Jewish individual’s survival of the Holocaust in WWII Germany. Elie Wiesel’s Night poignantly reminds it’s readers of the ways in which humans will do anything to survive. His novel chronicles not only the horrors inflicted upon the Jewish people by the Nazis, but of the ways in which the Jewish people would often turn against each other as in his secret desire for his father’s portions of food, and the man who kills his own father for a piece of bread. It seems that Wiesel is trying to point to the ways in which a genocide dehumanizes those being exterminated in the eyes of the general public, but it also robs the suffering of their sense of humanity.

In an effort to raise awareness of the genocide in Darfur, and to gain interest and aid, a faith rally was hosted in Los Angeles, with one of its major contributors being Jewish World Watch. Jewish World Watch was joined by Stop Genocide Now, HOPE, and several others in a 6-day act of remembrance for the 6 years that the deaths in Darfur have occurred. Over 200 people stood for 24 hours a day to demonstrate their unwillingness to do nothing in the face of the massacre of an entire group of people.

As the representatives of a group who has survived perhaps the most widely known genocide, it is important that Jewish World Watch is becoming invested in the happenings in Darfur. For many their presence is likely to speak to the seriousness of the conflict in Darfur and to provide context and perspective for the Western World, who still hold the memories of what happened in Nazi Germany so fresh in our minds. As we see in the books of Spiegelman and Wiesel, bad things can only happen if good people stand by and do nothing. Just because this conflict is miles away does not mean there is nothing that the American public can do to help. Write to your senators, form activist groups, and make a blog! All of these quiet words will become a single voice demanding justice for those who cannot ask for it themselves.

Blogdarfur April 7th

Save Darfur Weblog April 1st

Youtube


Published in: on April 16, 2009 at 12:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Did You See the Frightened Ones?

“the life bridge for more than a million people has just been dismantled.”

Since the beginning of this course, I have kept in mind the atrocities that the Jewish nation were subjugated to during World War II at the hands of the Nazi party and their leader, Adolf Hitler. One of the things that drew me to this class was the inclusion on the syllabus of Art Spiegelman’s Maus, the graphic novel detailing the life of his Polish-Jewish parents who survived Auschwitz concentration camp. When I chose Darfur and the crises occurring there as my blog topic, I knew that there would be many similarities between the current state in Sudan and what History has told us about Nazi Germany.

My interest in Spiegelman’s narrative led me to do some out side reading, and to finish the second graphic novle in his series And Here My Troubles Began. Spiegelman chronicles in his story the dehumanization of the Jewish people. How children, who are generally cherished by their culture and community, became expendable, their deaths providing horrific entertainment. He tells of the ways in which the Jews were killed, not just by subjugation to gas chambers but through disease and starvation as a result of the purposeful neglect of basic human needs.

This week Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has expelled aid groups from his country that are currently keeping more than a million people alive through their work. It seems that his government has found a more effective “final solution” to his ethnic problems. By kicking out the relief workers, he is affectively sentencing over a million people to death by denying them food, water, and medical attention.

“More than one million people depend directly on the expelled aid groups for health care, food and water. I’ve been in these camps, so let me offer an educated guess about what will unfold if this expulsion stands. The biggest immediate threat isn’t starvation, because that takes time. Rather, the first crises will be disease and water shortages, particularly in West Darfur. The camps will quickly run out of clean water, because generator-operated pumps bring the water to the surface from wells and boreholes. Fuel supplies to operate the pumps may last a couple of weeks, and then the water disappears. Health clinics have already closed, and diarrhea is spreading in Zam Zam camp and meningitis in Kalma camp. These are huge camps — Kalma has perhaps 90,000 people — and diseases can spread rapidly. Children will be the first to die. Hundreds of thousands of people in the camps may try to flee to Chad, but that would overwhelm Chad’s own impoverished and vulnerable population. And to top it off, Mr. Bashir has armed a large proxy force of Chadian rebels who are said to be preparing an attack on the Chadian government.”

This governmental condoning on the massacre of over a million citizens is very similar the images we have from Maus. Sadly, as Kristoff points out, with out the news that our media outlets receive from the aid workers currently in Darfur, the UN will have little information about the state of condition of the people suffering there. If we take anything from Art Spiegelman’s work it should be this: as humans we have a right to life and to be treated as human beings. This right extends to all people no matter their ethnicity, religion, or political leanings. The dehumanization and subsequent murder of an entire ethnicity should not be tolerated. It is our duty to learn from the mistakes and the atrocities of the past to prevent them from occurring again. Watching Darfuris Die by Nicholas D. Kristof,, March 7, 2009 in the New York Times.

Published in: on April 15, 2009 at 11:53 pm  Comments (2)  

Let’s Disarm this Weapon of Mass Destruction

“Impunity for such crimes encourages their occurrence.” – The United Nations

Despite his indictment for war crimes and crimes against humanity more than a year ago by the United Nations, Sudanese President Omar Hasssan al Bashir is still free and in power in Sudan.

Rarely do we as Americans see images on the news of the rampant murder occurring in Darfur.  Bashir allows refugee camps full of innocent people to be bombed in order to further his agenda of genocide against the African Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa tribes of the region.

I believe that it is because we view ourselves as being so far removed from the crises in Sudan that we as Americans do not demand more action from our country, the United Nations, and our UN ambassador Susan Rice in interceding in this matter.

Wilfred Owen touches on how the distance can desensitize human beings to the horrors of war.  In his poem Dulce et Decorum Est he discusses the ways in which a country encourages war efforts, telling it’s sons and daughters of the glory in fighting, when the reality is so very far removed from what those on the front lines actually encounter.

‘If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Obscene as cancer, bitter as cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,’

-Wilfred Owen

Because it is not in our own back yards that thousands are dying brutal deaths daily, it is not necessary for Americans to consider too deeply the matter of Darfur.  But such treatment, such utter disregard of the value of human life would not be tolerated in any Western country.  How then, can we continue to allow it in Africa?  Are African lives less valuable than those found in the western world.  I think not.

Though Bashir has been convicted, he has not been arrested.  He is still free to terrorize whom ever he pleases.  The apathy of the United Nations and the continuing extension of the hand of diplomacy from the countries of the United Nations has not stemmed the tide of blood shed that has claimed the lives of nearly half a million people in Darfur.

In 2005 Rice said “when you’ve got genocide under way and the government is the perpetrator, there is a moral imperative to act.”

But today Rice says that “diplomatic outreach to Sudan should not be seen as wavering on Darfur.”

How can we see diplomatic outreach as anything but wavering?  Continuing to fraternize with a country that is systematically killing a portion of its population does not send a clear message that we do not agree with their policies.  We did not do business with the Dictator Fidel Castro.  We did not align ourselves with Nazi Germany.  So why is Bashir being treated differently?

Hilary Clinton once suggested that a no fly zone should be initiated over Darfur, policed by the UN.  Such action would end the rampant bombing of innocents in refugee camps and villages, and hopefully discourage violence enacted upon innocents on the ground.  This suggestion could help bring about an end to the genocide of Darfur, yet there are no plans to enact such a strategy.

The truth of the matter is that ‘diplomatic outreach’ is wavering on policy in relation to genocide.  It does not send a clear message to Bashir and the people of Sudan.  It does not say that such treatment of innocent people will not be allowed in our modern world.  It says that as long as we as Americans don’t have to see it, continuing diplomacy is more important, that hundreds of thousands of lives are expendable if they are dying at the hands of a country that harbors oil reserves.

Published in: on February 11, 2009 at 5:49 pm  Comments (5)  

Blowin’ in the Wind.

“She said they removed their scarves and used it to tie them up and were taking turns to rape them.  One is 13 years old; the other one is 16.”

The women and children in Darfur are currently being victimized and subjected to one of the worst tools of ethnic cleansing; repeated and violent rape.  According to CNN, girls as young as four have been subjected to this horrifying form of torture.

While reading Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth, I was most interested in the differences between her experiences of war as a white, western woman compared to that of the victims of gender bias in Darfur.  Brittain, while undergoing extreme emotional distress and faced with the stress of her patients’ injuries on a daily basis, at least did not face the horrors of living in a war zone, and being subjected to the threat of violence and mutilation on a daily basis.

Brittain tells Roland in one of her early letters, “I picture to myself…Mother’s absolute horror if she could have seen me at 9:15 the other night dashing about and dodging traffic in the slums of Camberwall Green, in the pitch dark of course…It is quite thrilling to be an unprotected female and feel that no one in your immediate surroundings is particularly concerned with what happens to you (213).”  As a young English woman, she has been brought up with the notion that female virginity should be protected.  Her words imply that women of her class do not go about, even at the best of times, with out some form of male companionship, for fear they may be harmed.

Many men in Sudan will no longer accompany the women they know out side of the home, because of the increasing likeliness of being attacked and killed if they defend their loved ones from becoming victims of sexual crimes.

Though Vera is writing from a different time, almost 100 years prior to the conflict of Darfur, it is still relevant to think about race, class, and nationality in relation to sexual crimes.  Rape is one of, if not the most, frequently used form of torture in Darfur.  These women and children have no voice, no protection from an extremely heinous form of violence.

It is my opinion that bringing relief to these victims should be a top priority of the UN.  That America, a country that came to the defense of the oppressed in Iraq, should be more interested in what is happening in Darfur.  Not because in providing some relief we may find oil, but because these are unspeakable crimes that should not be permitted to happen in a world as enlightened as ours.  As members of the United Nations, a group dedicated to protecting the basic humane rights of all the world’s people, we should demand intervention, and a means to bring this atrocious behavior to an end.

Published in: on February 11, 2009 at 12:53 am  Comments (2)