|2. Sudan is a country in the northeast part of Africa. It’s the largest country in Africa and the tenth largest country in the world. Darfur is a region in the west of Sudan and is about the size of Texas.
3. The number of reported deaths varies based on what factors organizations take into account. Some organizations count the number of murders by the janjaweed, some count those who have died in refugee camps, while others count both. 400,000 is the highest estimate the United Nations has reported.
6. It should be noted that this is the first genocide to be labeled as such while it is still going on.
7. There was a civil war between Northern and Southern Sudan because of under-representation of the Southern Sudanese in the government and dispute over oil, which is found in the South. The North wanted to take control of the oil fields because they are so profitable, but the South wanted to maintain control for the same reasons. During the peace negotiations between the North and the South, Darfur was left out.
9. Although there are several smaller rebel groups, the SLM and the JEM are the most prolific. These groups emerged in protest to the impoverishment and neglect of the Darfur region by the Sudanese government. They represent agrarian farmers whoa re mostly non-Arab black African Muslims from several different tribes.
11. The Sudanese government is responsible for the genocide. They fund the janjaweed and provide them with weapons, vehicles, and helicopters to attack the Darfurians. The president, Omar al-Bashir, continues to stall and refuse to make any permanent decisions regarding the conflict. Many humanitarian aid groups have been forced to pull out of the region because they continue to be attacked by the janjaweed.
13. According to former Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, the janjaweed are using child soldiers as young as twelve years old to help commit their acts of violence. However, some rebel groups are also using children, so it is happening on both sides. Genocide by attrition, as explained by Dr. Eric Reeves, a prominent Darfur activist who teaches at Smith college, means that many of the Darfurians are being killed not directly by government action, but due to sickness, lack of resources, and neglect. Therefore the victims of this genocide are not necessarily being killed by government militia, but also by disease and starvation.
15. Don’t read the quote if you don’t want to, give the audience a minute to read it.
16. When collecting firewood in the Darfur region, families often have to make a choice. If a woman goes, she could possibly be raped. If a man goes, he faces the threat of murder by the militia. Rape in Darfurian Muslim culture does not have the same cultural meaning as it does in Western society. If a woman is raped in Darfur and her family discovers this, they will often disown her. Being rape does not bring empathy as it does here, it brings shame to the family of the victim.
18. The conflict is sometimes thought to be Muslims versus Christians, when in fact the majority of the government and the Darfurian people are Muslim. There’s also confusion about the role of race. The genocide is being perpetrated by the mostly African Arab government and African Arab janjaweed. The Darfurian population is made up of Black Africans. Although the two groups have similar skin color, the Darfurians are being persecuted because they are non-Arab. It is also a widely held belief that the conflict is tribe versus tribe all through the region of Darfur, however, the genocide is actually being sponsored by the government.
21. After months of delay, the combined African Union - United Nations peacekeeping force began deployment into Darfur in early January. They are still facing resistance form the Sudanese government, who are denying Swedish, Thai, and Nepalese troops, among other things. The AU-UN peacekeeping force still does not have the 24 helicopters they need. Eventually, they would like to deploy 26,000 troops into the region.
23. Divestment is a way to use economic pressure to help Darfur. Divestment is the removal of assets from a company for financial goals or ethical objectives. In the case of Darfur, several cities, states, universities, and other entities divest from companies that do business with the Sudanese government. The money that these companies use to do business with Sudan ultimately funds the genocide. The SADA is a new law that gives these foreign companies the choice between taking money out of Sudan or losing their American business. As the Sudanese government loses money, they are pressured to stop the genocide. The state of Michigan has not divested yet, even though there is a task force working on this currently. If the state does divest, this university does not have to, so we are working on getting the University of Michigan to divest.
25. China is Sudan’s primary economic revenue, as they spend an estimated ½ to one billion dollars on oil. This indirectly funds the genocide, because 70% of Sudanese income is spent on military expenses. China has not taken any steps to remove their funds from Sudan or encourage the government to stop the killings. Because of this, the upcoming summer 2008 Olympics held in Beijing have been called the ‘Genocide Olympics.’ Celebrities such as Mia Farrow and Professor Eric Reeves have started a campaign called ‘Olympic Dream for Darfur’ to call attention to China’s role in the conflict. This has particular significance to the University of Michigan as the theme this year is ‘China Now.’
26. Movie: Darfur Now. CD: Instant Karma, remakes of John Lennon songs done by popular artists. Actor Ryan Gosling. Picture from a rally.