Let us help Darfur and be a world citizen
Sharin Shajahan Naomi
Anyone who watches BBC, CNN and reads the serious portions of the newspapers, ' Darfur' is not an unknown name for him or her. An area situated in Sudan, having geographical proximity to CHAD is now witnessing world's biggest humanitarian catastrophe.
Since 2003, Sudan is bleeding for a devastating civil war in which the government supported militias and the opposing guerrillas are just dragging this country to the edge of a bottomless pit. UN reports say approximately more than 4 million people have died, 3 million have become refugee losing everything, 2 million have been displaced. The worst has happened in ' Darfur'.
You may wonder, how can it be possible ? Where are UNHCR ( United Nations High Commission for Refuges), UNICEF, Red Cross? All are there, but no one is allowed to work. The rebel groups and the government militias don't even want to allow aid agencies to work. Sometimes, the fights become so intense that aid agencies cannot dare to send their aids to the refugee camps. And on those days, everyone remains hungry, thirsty, without any medical assistance. They prey for the fight to come to an end so that food may reach them. UN peace keeping forces are there, African Union's poorly trained forces are there, and depending on their assistance. The aid agencies are struggling to reach to the people with medicines and food.
The forces of African Union themselves need financial assistance, even they face days when they cannot be fed, they cannot go to patrol the city for lack of fuel ! Though before their eyes, civilians of Darfur are being brutally murdered like animals, still they are the source of safety for the aid workers. But perhaps the fate of Darfur's people cannot afford even this small mercy. Sudan government is about to terminate all the peace keeping forces there ! They are using very strong legal authentic excuse ' It's their country, they have the right to decide who will stay, who will not and no one can intervene in their internal matter!' The termination of these peace keeping forces are the termination of the aid service and hope for food.
The international community took lots of time to bring the parties to an agreement, and you know about what those two groups talked most of the time? No, not about how to help the starving children. They did not talk about how to stop the hostilities. They have talked about the most important thing for them- wealth sharing !. They have signed lots of documents of peace and cease fire only for the sake of signing, but are breaching the promise again and again. And when the UN envoy mentioned this hypocrisy, Sudan just told him in a sophisticated way, “ get out of Sudan'.
May be the people of Darfur do not have their government beside them, but the people of the whole world are all beside them. On 17th September, the world observed “ Global Day for Darfur', when people came on the street irrespective of nation, race or religion for the people of Darfur. The motto of this day was to put pressure on the Sudanese government to implement peace agreements, to strengthen African Union's forces, to increase the number of blue helmets ( UN peace keeping forces wear blue helmet). People all around the world wore blue helmets in the processions for DARFUR to ventilate their unambiguous support for having a large number of peace keeping forces in Darfur.
What about our response to the human rights violations, starvation and deaths in Darfur? “We are simple Bangladeshi citizens who are already entangled with loads of problems. So where is our time to bother about Darfur!', this is the attitude of many of us. But we still have something in our heart and that is the feelings for our fellow human beings. And we cannot be indifferent towards the scream of the dying children of Darfur because we cannot overlook such a humanitarian catastrophe. And now it's up to us whether we should think like a world citizen and feel for the whole world.
We can do a simple thing just sitting in Bangladesh, we can log on www.dayfordarfur.org and sign a petition in our name there which will be ultimately sent to the United Nation's Secretary General. Also you can look at the pictures of worst manifestations of human misery. I have found it interesting to see myself wearing a blue beret from the websites, browsing your photo you can put a blue beret and feel unity with the worldwide movement for Darfur. Let's help DARFUR and be a world citizen.
(R) thedailystar.net 2006