In the 1980's, the Darfur region of Sudan was placed in a turf war with other African countries because of a persistent drought. The drought caused the Arab populations in these areas to seek more livable lands. Unfortunately, these lands were already inhabited by many tribal African groups; many of which had called Darfur their home for hundreds of years.
In early 2003, two Darfur rebel groups, the Justice And Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) began an armed campaign against the Government of Sudan and the extreme discrimination that they believed was being aimed at their region. By April, full scale fighting had broken out and rebel groups began to gain ground against the Sudanese Government. During that same summer, the government began pouring military resources into Darfur and the surrounding areas, heavily arming a group known as the Janjaweed (a largely Arab militia) to obliterate the uprising. By the following spring, the government-sponsered Janjaweed had gained the upper hand against the Darfur rebel movements and thousands of people, mainly innocent civilians, were killed, along with over one million people forcibly displaced.
Over the past four years, the violence and destruction has done nothing but intensify. As of now, over 400,000 people have been killed, with over two million displaced and counting. Despite various cease fire"agreements" and attempts at peace, the violence and government sponsorship continues to grow. With aid workers being attacked daily, and refugees fleeing into boarder country Chad, taking the violence and killing with them, it is time that the international community realized that people are being murdered at this very moment, with hardly any hope in sight.
Additionally, the people of Darfur's only form of protection, as of now, is a weak group named the African Union Mission In Sudan (AMIS) and despite the passing of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1706, the Government of Sudan is still refusing any sort of full UN involvement. Recently, however, there has been a tentative agreement to a UN/AU hybrid force as well as a tentative agreement to accept UN helicopters and troops, but this will remain simply words on paper until there are actual UN boots on the ground in Darfur.
It is important to note that this conflict has been taking place in a section of the Middle East that is littered with conflicts, tension and destruction. From the bloody civil wars of southern Sudan, to the kidnapping of children in Northern Uganda (visit InvisibleChildren.com for more information), this area has constantly been put under a pressure that is only heightened by the worsening weather conditions and discrimination.
With destruction increasing daily, and a mounting need for international involvement, it is time for everyone to make their voices heard. The only way in which this crisis can be resolved is through action; and that action must start today.