‘I say to all those leaders, do not look the other way. Do not hesitate… It is within your power to avoid a genocide of humanity -Nelson mandela The Darfur genocide is one of the rare few genocides that is still happening today. The Darfur genocide is one of the most horrific genocides ever, and 400,000 people were killed and another 2.5 million were displaced in just three years. While tensions have eased since the prime of the killings, the horror of them still haunts the victims. Even though some of the tensions have eased, the non-Arab population in the Darfur regions of Sudan are still being killed and harmed today. Of the more than 60 years since Sudan gained independence from Egypt, there have been more years of conflict than peace.
Much of the conflict in Sudan comes from its corrupt government and the government’s oppression and greed. Before the killings, the non-Arab population of Sudan had long been oppressed by the Arab-run Khartoum government, which was led by former Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir. The Darfur genocide is the first genocide of the new millenium and is an important genocide because of the events that lead up to the massacres, the events that took place during the genocide, and the results of the killings.
The Darfur genocide happened as a result of the government’s oppression of the Darfuri people. After facing years of oppression and corruption from the government, two non-Arab rebel groups called the Sudanese Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement rose up against the Khartoum government of Sudan. The uprising worried the president of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir. The president decided to attack the rebels at their roots. The president decided to attack villages and kill civilians in the non-Arab Darfur region of Sudan. Even if the Darfuri people were not directly involved with the rebels, the government still killed them. The president believed that if he eliminated the non-Arab people from the country, there would be no more uprisings. Nobody could have suspected that an uprising by two groups could cause one of the most high-profile genocides in history.
The horrific killings of the Darfuri people outline the importance of the genocide. The three main tribes in the Darfur region of Sudan are Fur, Zaghawa, and Masalit. The government sponsored militia, called the Janjaweed burned villages, and raped and killed the people living in them. The government was determined to keep killing these people until they were no threat to their power anymore. Starting in 2003, the killings still continue to this day. The people of Darfur are still being oppressed in fear of the killings being as frequent as they used to be. The United States was one of the first countries to recognize the killings in Darfur as a genocide in 2004, and the United Nations soon followed. The horrific events that have taken place during the Darfur genocide highlight the importance of this tragedy.
Many people died or were misplaced as a result of these killings, and the results of this genocide are still ongoing. The estimates of deaths in the Darfur genocide range from 80,000 to 500,000. This means that at least 80,000 innocent lives were lost at the hands of an oppressing government. Another 3 million people were displaced when their villages were burned down by the Janjaweed and placed in displacement camps. Just this year, President Al-Bashir was overthrown in a military coup. He was arrested and sentenced to two years in a correctional facility on the charges of corruption. After 30 years of oppression and 15 years of genocide against the non-Arab Sudanese people, President Omar Al-Bashir is out of power. While innocent lives were lost in the still continuing results of this genocide, the man who started it has been given a miniscule portion of the justice he deserves.
As the first genocide of the new millenium, the Darfur genocide gave a perspective to the world about what genocide is really like. In 2011, the southern part of Sudan declared independence and created South Sudan. The countries split as a result of a Civil War that occurred when the killings were happening. This event showed how President Al-Bashir’s actions split Sudan apart, figuratively and literally. Most recently, in 2016 Al-Bashir used chemical weapons against Darfur. This attack against their own citizens killed and harmed even more people. The Darfur genocide is an important part of modern history, because of the events that lead up to it, the horrific things that happened during the prime of the killingss, and because of the ongoing results of this genocide. The Darfuris have to not only face the terror of their past, but also the oppression and terror of their present and future.