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ISSUE 117 VOL 17 PUBLISHED 4/30/2004

Sudan horror must end

By Jaruwan Punyoyai
Contributing Writer

Friday, April 30, 2004

The time has come for America to take part in military conflicts overseas. However, this time help may be needed elsewhere in the world other than the Middle East. What began as rebel conflicts in Sudans region of Darfur has escalated into something far grimmer.

The Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement has been fighting for over two decades. This fighting has had a devastating effect to the people of Darfur (which is the size of California, and home to six million people). The hefty toll on the Sudanese people has acquired international recognition. President Bush recently referred to the civil war as one of the worst humanitarian tragedies of our time.

However, there appears to be a new horror lurking within the borders of Dafur. Upon returning from the troubled region, a British journalist who managed to cross the border into Darfur by wearing a disguise reported witnessing evidence of genocide in the region. His reports included "hastily dug graves and a pile of bodies" in the village of Tadera, according to CNN.

A U.N. fact-finding team was sent in to investigate, after their initial request to enter the country was denied. However, they might be too late. Human Rights Watch, a non-profit organization that operates out of four countries, reported several acts of genocide.

The Janjaweed, which are Arabic Militias supported by the Sudanese government, carried out the attacks. With government assistance, the Janjaweed massacred 136 African men in Dafur. Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, released this troubling statement about the relationship between the Janjaweed and the Sudanese government: The janjaweed are no longer simply militias supported by the Sudanese government. These militias work in unison with government troops, with total impunity for their massive crimes. 

This climate presents an opportunity for America to improve its tarnished image. Regardless of the political strife in America, we can unite in our shock and disgust at the situation in Sudan. Ethnic cleansing is the most atrocious of human inventions, and Americans now have an opportunity to spur a period of international healing.

The first aspect of this healing must be inside of Sudan. The killing must stop. It is apparent that the Sudanese government is not going to stop the massacres. It is simply our moral duty to combat such horrendous murder.

However, in doing so, we can work to heal our international relations. By sending in a United Nations peacekeeping force, America can unite with countries that are opposed to our current military actions in Iraq. If military action is needed, it should be through joint NATO forces.

President Bush should learn from our current problems in the Middle East, and recognize the need for international cooperation. Going it alone has done nothing but isolate the American people, and more importantly, the American military.

The international community would be much more sympathetic to our actions in Iraq if it was their troops dying by the hundreds. While we are far from achieving international support for our war in Iraq, foreign countries would be much more inclined to collaborate with America for such a benevolent cause as the situation in Sudan.

Lets face it: America is disliked around much of the world. Regardless of any opinions Americans may have of international dissent, the United Nations is still a powerful and useful organization that should be embraced by the American People. As long as we fulfill our moral duties throughout the world, we must utilize and enlist the help and the guidance of international peacekeeping bodies.

Staff writer Pat Bottini is a first year from Sartell, Minn. His major is undecided.

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