October 19, 2004

STARS Creates Darfur Exhibit

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Images depicting genocide and other atrocities taking place in Sudan lined the arts quad yesterday, as a campus human rights organization sought to raise awareness for a crisis that has inspired considerable global outrage in recent months.

The photo exhibit, produced by STARS, a campus genocide and holocaust awareness group, will appear on the arts quad through Wednesday and is meant to raise awareness for the situation in Darfur, Sudan.

“We wanted to have pictures of the people that are actually suffering in Darfur for students to notice,” explained Dana Diament ’05, founder and co-chair of STARS.

“We want students to realize that there is genocide going on in Sudan,” she added.

Since February 2003, Sudan’s Darfur region has been the sight of a civil war between the Sudanese government and rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement. Specifically targeting ethnicities with members in either of these rebel groups, the Sudanese government’s militias have committed war crimes, erratically bombed areas of Darfur, and have conducted acts of ethnic cleansing.

As a result of these efforts, the Sudanese government has “displaced over one million civilians from their homes and villages into neighboring Chad, towns in government-controlled areas and some rural areas under rebel control,” according to Human Rights Watch.

While Sudan’s government signed a ceasefire agreement with the rebel groups in April and agreed to proceed with humanitarian improvements outlined by the United Nations in July, violence in Darfur continues and the Sudanese government has already failed to meet certain deadlines detailed by the U.N. Security Council.

In September, President Bush condemned the violence in Sudan, saying that the Federal government had already provided $211 million in aid and humanitarian relief and promised another $250 million. However, the President has been criticized for failing to lead the U.N. Security Council in regulating the Sudanese government.

The photos displayed on the arts quad yesterday included images of burnt villages and displaced adults and children, but also illustrated the benefits of international aid camps that have already been established. Beneath image, STARS reiterated the severity of Sudan’s situation with a written statement, saying “More than 70,000 people have died and 1.5 million have been displaced since March 2004. The killing in Darfur has been declared genocide but much more must be done to make the world aware and force governments to take action.”

Diament later adjusted the estimate of 70,000 deaths, explaining that this figure only accounts for those who have died from disease and malnutrition. According to Diament, this estimate does not include those who have died as a result of violence and mass murders.

The awareness campaign continues tomorrow with a screening of Prof. John Weiss’ documentary, Stopping Genocide at 4:00 in the Straight Cinema. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion at 4:30 in D Goldwin Smith Hall, presented by the Africana Studies Center. Entitled “Genocide in Darfur and the Crisis of Governance in Sudan,” the program will be feature Ali B. Ali-Dinar from the African Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Archived article by Ellen Miller
Sun Senior Writer