This belated post serves as my contribution towards the BlogCatalog‘s blog against abuse challenge. I was supposed to publish it on 27 September as required but preparations for the IEEE Africon conference took up much of time before that day.

This post is dedicated to the war torn Darfur, a region in Western Sudan, bordering the Central African Republic, Libya, and Chad.An independent sultanate for several hundred years, it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces. Darfur is currently in the midst of an armed conflict and resulting humanitarian emergency. The conflict broke out in February, 2003.One side of this conflict is composed mainly of the Sudanese military and the Janjaweed, a militia group recruited mostly from the Arab Baggara tribes of the northern Rizeigat, camel-herding nomads. The other side comprises a variety of rebel groups recruited primarily from the land-tilling Fur, Zaghawa, and Massaleit ethnic groups. It has been reported that the combination of decades of drought, desertification, and overpopulation are among the causes of the Darfur conflict. Due to the aforementioned problems, the Baggara nomads searching for water have to take their livestock further south, to a land mainly occupied by non-Arab farming communities.The Sudanese government, while publicly denying that it supports the Janjaweed, has provided money and assistance to the militia and has participated in joint attacks targeting the tribes from which the rebels draw support. If the Sudanese government was responsible enough, it should have been acting as a mediator between the two tribal groups instead of taking sides with one of them. Does this suggest that the Sudanese government supports the Arab-Baggara militia simply because they are fellow Arabs? Remember that both of these tribal groups (Baggara and non-Baggara) are predominantly Muslim.

The Sudanese government and Janjaweed attacks upon the non-Baggara people have resulted in killings, torture and rape of hundreds of thousands of civilians, and the destruction of hundreds of villages since 2003. Now, four years down the line, Darfur remains one of the world’s worst human rights and humanitarian catastrophes. Violence, human rights violations, disease and malnutrition still afflict the people of Darfur and conflict-affected civilians in eastern Chad and northern Central African Republic (CAR) every day. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost in the Darfur conflict, countless numbers of women and girls have been abducted, raped and otherwise abused, and more than 2.5 million Darfuri civilians have been uprooted from their homes, while many more depend on international aid to survive.

I would like to call upon the international community to, at long last, put a stop to these atrocities and bring relief to those who have survived but continue to suffer. I would like to ask you to join the growing movement of citizens worldwide who are taking action for Darfur by doing one or more of the following tasks:

  1. Sign the Global Petition to End Violence in Darfur. Encourage your friends to sign this petition as well.
  2. Write a letter the editor in response to an article in your local newspaper about Darfur. Take a look at the sample letter and guidelines here(PDF).
  3. Join Amnesty International, on October 24, in delivering a half million Global Petition for Darfur signatures to the White House. You can also host a solidarity vigil in your home time. Get tips on how to organize the event from here (PDF).
  4. If you are a blogger, you can help by blogging against the humanitarian abuses in Darfur. Please leave a link to your post in the comments section of this post. On 1 November, 2007, I will publish a post that will list all the blogs that will respond to my call πŸ™‚
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