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Keeping up on Darfur

Coalition for Darfur compiled several important articles over the last week, and asked members of the Coalition to pass them on.

What’s up with Darfur? As I’ve outlined before on this blog, millions in Darfur are living in horrible conditions after being driven from their villages, livelihood and homes by the civil war in Sudan - often by the Janjaweed, an Arab militia recruited from local tribes and armed by the government. Many live in squalid conditions in Internal Displaced Person (IDP) camps, and hundreds of thousands are effectively cut off from aid because of the region’s remoteness. Tens of thousands have already died of starvation and disease while those who live in the camps and surrounding areas continue to face killings, torture and rape by government forces and militias.

What can we do? God hates injustice and calls us to do something about it. As followers of Jesus, this means we first must pray fervently for God to intercede, for men and women to be raised up with the power to end this horror. But as we pray, we must act ourselves. How? Raise your own and others' awareness—and you can start (or keep up) with these articles (compiled by Coalition for Darfur):

Darfur Trembles as Peacekeepers’ Exit Looms

What happened in Rwanda, it will happen here," said Sheik

Abdullah Muhammad Ali, who fled here from a nearby village seeking the safety that he hoped the presence of about 200 African Union peacekeepers would bring. But the Sudanese government has asked the African Union to quit Darfur rather than hand over its mission to the United Nations. "If these soldiers leave," Sheik Ali said, "we will all be slaughtered" . . .

Darfur: Waiting for the slaughter

Rasha Ibrahim Adam and her children may be about to die - just as she thought they had all escaped to safety.

The 38-year-old mother of four children is one of the latest to flee the bombs from the Sudanese government that have dropped on their homes. Today, she finds herself in one of the dusty, benighted refugee camps that litter the region of Darfur. She sits in her once bright red tob - a wrap-around dress - that has been faded by the sand-laden wind that blows across al-Salaam camp on the edge of the town of el-Fasher.

She was one of the 50,000 people who swelled the scorched camps for the "internally displaced" in the past month - bringing to about 2.5 million the number of children, women and men now homeless in a conflict that has dragged on for three years without an end seemingly in sight. Until now, that is. Because an end is in sight for the Darfur camps - where at least 300,000 black African farmers have been slaughtered by the Khartoum government and its Arab proxies, the Janjaweed militia, whose name means "devils on horseback". One of those who died was Rasha's husband, Adam.

It could be an end so terrifying, it defies the imagination.
. .

Annan issues stark message to Security Council about impending catastrophe in Darfur

Mr. Annan said the UN and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will have to drastically scale back their humanitarian operations in Darfur unless the security situation improves.

"Can we, in conscience, leave the people of Darfur to such a fate? Can the international community, having not done enough for the people of Rwanda in their time of need, just watch as this tragedy deepens?" he asked.
. .

Food crisis looms in North Darfur

On Wednesday, NRF rebels clashed with government forces south of Tawilla. An Antonov plane and two helicopter gunships reportedly bombed Dobo Al Umda Dobo and Dobo Al Madrasa town and the surrounding villages. The number of casualties is unknown.

If a United Nations force is not deployed soon, something much worse is going to happen here," the SLM/A commander added. . .

Rebels Say They May Abandon Darfur Pact

Abdulrahaman Abdallah, a commander of the rebel group's military police, said that without a strong international force here, "the government will go back to its strategy, which is genocide, and inevitably we will go back to the bush" . . .

Besides learning about the crisis and telling others about it, think about supporting organizations who are helping the over two million people displaced by the violence in Sudan and neighboring Uganda (where additional millions have been driven from their homes by the Lord's Resistance Army, a militia reportedly supported by the Sudan government). Check out Coalition for Darfur or Invisible Children or any of the following organizations: Doctors Without Borders, World Vision, Far Reaching Ministries, or Mennonite Central Committee. Also, you can locate your congressman here, and write a letter urging your representative to call for action (see World Vision for more on what actions governments can take to end this crisis). God will use our actions, no matter how small; give him something to work with.

If you’d like to learn more and find out what you can do to help end this crisis, visit World Vision, SaveDarfur, or Wikipedia.

(Image: by katmere at flickr)