STAND Presents: The Darfur Diaries

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Written by May Warren

The Guelph chapter of STAND (Students Taking Action Now in Darfur) presented Darfur Diaries yesterday evening in MacKinnon 116. The documentary film chronicles the experiences of children, women and men directly affected by the genocidal acts that have taken place in Darfur, a region in the West African nation of the Sudan. Thousands of people have been displaced over the last few years by Janjaweed militia groups which have been supported by the Sudanese government. Residents have fled violence, rape, murder and destruction and have been pushed into refugee camps in neighbouring Chad.

Many of the survivors spoke about the sense of loss of identity that comes with being a displaced person. They have lost not only family members and sometimes limbs but also their ethnicity, nationalism and place in the world. One young student spoke of having lost everything, unable to return to University he remains in a refugee camp with nothing to do and no sense of purpose.

Because of intense aerial bombing by Janjaweed troops many young children remain scarred and suffer from post traumatic stress, one young mother spoke of her children constantly waking up in the night and worrying about planes overhead. Rape is also a huge problem, leaving women of all ages scarred. Also, many young children have lost all relatives and have no one to take care of them.

The moving testimonials of the film underscored the need for intentional action in the Darfur crises. As one survivor put it: “if this were happening in LA or England the world wouldn’t be able to look away.”

After the presentation STAND representatives urged students in attendance to write letters to local politicians advising them to do something about the conflict, which has been deemed a genocide by many intentional organizations. STAND will also be holding a benefit concert with free admission on March 22 at the Grad Lounge featuring the band Half Dozen Down.

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