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This paper will argue that Penn State students should write letters to their elected officials and members of the United Nations, urging these politicians to help end the ethnic cleansing taking place in Sudan. As a civilized people, we must value human life. When human life is being thrown away, as is the case in Sudan, we must take action to stop the problem. As Penn State students, and citizens of one of the most powerful nations in the world, it is not only our right, but our responsibility, to help those less fortunate than us, namely the suffering ethnic Africans of Sudan.


Currently, Sudan exists in a state of utter crisis. For over twenty years the nation of Sudan has suffered through a prolonged civil war. The Government of Sudan in the North and the Sudan’s Peoples Liberation Army in the South have been battling over the few and far between natural resources that lie within Sudan’s borders (Kebbede 31). Very recently, the North and South came close to reaching a peace agreement and a cease fire. However, the government in the North negated this step toward peace by supporting the Janjaweed militia group. The Janjaweed wreak havoc on the Western parts of Sudan by brutally attacking and murdering non-Arabs. While the government publicly announces that it wants peace, it covertly supports this group that stands on violence and terror. The Sudanese government literally says one thing and does another. In response to the hypocrisy demonstrated by the government of Sudan, new rebel groups have formed. The Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) formed, and after their demand that the government stop supplying the Janjaweed with weapons went ignored, they began fighting the Sudan Government and the Janjaweed (Darfur: A Genocide We Can Stop). All of the fighting wreaks havoc in everyday civilian life: villages are torched to the ground, tens of thousands of people are displaced from their homes, women are raped, children are kidnapped, poverty rises, and the enormous death toll is continues to rise (Petterson 197). The soldiers and militiamen fighting the war in Sudan violate almost all of the rules of war. The Janjaweed and government target civilians belonging to the Fur, Masaalit, and Zhaghwa tribes. Not only are civilians targeted, but they are treated unnecessarily brutally. Soldiers, encouraged by the government, use rape as a weapon of terror against women and children. This not only physically damages the victims, but in African society, rape makes the victim “unclean”, and they become ostracized from the community, looked down upon, and are usually unable to find work (Sudan). It has been documented that Janjaweed soldiers have entered a school for girls, raped all of the students and teachers, and then branded them with a hot iron. Politically, the Sudanese government lies to and kills its own people. Socially, women are raped and scorned, men are tortured and killed, and children are kidnapped. Economically, the country is almost entirely impoverished and thousands of people are starving. Thoroughly immersed in chaos, Sudan lies at a critical point; the country is on the brink of genocide and, without help, the crisis will become even worse.


One of the causes of prolonged fighting in Sudan can be traced to the uneven distribution of the limited natural resources in the North and the South. In short, the Southern Sudanese have resources while the Northern Sudanese do not. Sudan is a country strictly divided, and the two parts are entirely different. Northern Sudan is inhabited mainly by Muslims, the climate is arid desert, and there are virtually no natural resources of which to speak. Southern Sudan’s inhabitants are mostly racial Africans who predominately practice Christianity. Southern Sudan ranges from Savannah to lush Tropical Rainforest and contains many resources such as water, forests, gold, iron, copper, and oil. (A Brief Overview on the the War and Genocide in the Sudan) The Northern Sudanese want the Southern Sudanese’s resources. Most of the fighting can be attributed to human greed. Because resources in Sudan are unevenly distributed, the Northern Sudanese turned to violence to obtain the land that harbors resources from the South. They will do almost anything to obtain this land, including stopping humanitarian aide, poisoning water supplies, and committing mass murder. It can be seen that a shortage of Natural resources and differences between the North and the South caused the initial fighting to break out in Sudan.


The Janjaweed is a group of armed militia men supported by the government in the North that terrorizes ethnic Africans throughout Sudan. Janjaweed literally means “Devils on Horseback” (Riding with the Janjaweed). These militiamen usually ride on horses or camels and attack during the night. The government supplies the Janjaweed with weapons, transportation, and means of communication. (Janjaweed) The government officially denies any ties with the Janjaweed. However, it is documented many times that the government works hand-in-hand with the Janjaweed and often times follows Janjaweed ground attacks with military air raids.

In an effort to get ethnic Africans, especially the Fur, Masaalit, and the Zaghawa, to leave their land and never return, the Janjaweed raid, pillage, and burn their villages (Riding with the Janjaweed). The Janjaweed is entirely comprised of Arab Muslims. The fighting between the Janjaweed and the ethnic African Christians has escalated into more than just war, it has become a Jihad, and soon to be genocide. “They came at four a.m. on horseback, on camels, in vehicles, with two helicopters overhead ..."they killed fifty people in my village. My father, grandmother, uncle and two brothers were all killed.... They don't want any blacks left," says Idris Abu Moussa, a Sudanese farmer (This is What's Happening in Darfur). The Janjaweed use very brutal methods of forcing ethnic Africans from their homes. They viciously kill and display mutilated bodies as a warning to others, they contaminate drinking water with corpses, they cut off humanitarian aid, and they do not discriminate against victims. Whether a man, woman, or child, the Janjaweed will murder them all (This is What’s Happening in Darfur). This group of rebels is so set on destroying, or “ethnically cleansing”, all of the “black Africans” that they chase fleeing refuges into the neighboring country of Chad. The Janjaweed have even attacked refugee camps. To sum it up, the Janjaweed are a group of violent, Arab men on horseback, who draw their resources from the Northern government of Sudan, whose goal is to rid Sudan of ethnic Africans.


The bloody victories of the Janjaweed can be attributed to the Northern government of Sudan. The government aids the group, knowing full well its intentions of murdering civilians and soldiers alike. The activities of the Janjaweed are no secret, and the Janjaweed could not accomplish the military victories that they do without weapons. The government gives the Janjaweed those weapons. Therefore, the government of Northern Sudan is the cause of the Janjaweed victories. (Lost Boys of Sudan)


Sudan can be compared to the former Nazi Germany. Germany, under the Nazis, was a terrifying place to live in much like the current nation of Sudan. Hitler and his regime viewed non Aryan people of Germany as second class and inferior humans. Nazi ideology, which centered on Adolph Hitler’s “Mein Kamph”, declared that there were three kinds of cultures in the world: culture creating, culture bearing, and culture destroying. The Third Reich viewed the Jews as culture destroying; they saw them as squatters who were not true citizens of the “Volksgemeinschaft”, or the German National Community. Nazis did not believe that Jews should live in Germany. The Sudanese government views non-Arab citizens as second rate and in the eyes of the government, their lives are worthless, much like the German Jews. The Sudanese Janjaweed feels that the ethnic Africans of Sudan should not be entitled to their land. The Janjaweed view the Fur, Masaalit, and the Zaghwa as “squatting” on land that is not rightfully theirs. In Germany, Jews lost all of their rights, and their very own government persecuted them. More specifically, the Gestapo, SS, and SA, which were all branches of the German government, turned to brutality and violence when dealing with the Jews. These branches of German Law Enforcement committed mass killings and buried their victims in mass graves. They did not discriminate against victims, and in at least one instance, Nazi soldiers killed an entire Jewish village, including elderly, women, men, children, and even infants. In Sudan, non-Arabs are violently persecuted by the Janjaweed, a government supported group, so one could say that the government persecutes them. Much like the German government, this group uses unnecessary force and violence when dealing with ethnic Africans. Much like the Nazis, the Janjaweed do not discriminate against their victims, they will hurt anyone. Countless women have been raped, and children are beaten to death. Nazi legislation persecuted German Jews; legislation was made that systematically impoverished Jews. They lost their jobs, were unable to work in many fields, had no means of income, and had to pay ever increasingly high taxes. The majority of Jews could no longer afford to live in their homes due to the combination of unemployment and high taxes imposed upon them by the Third Reich. Jews had to move from their homes into the ghettos where they starved. The lucky Jews immigrated, the unlucky ones were eventually sent to concentration and death camps. These camps had deplorable conditions and many people died simply on the journey there. In Sudan, the Janjaweed are cutting off and contaminating water supplies, which stops farming. Without a job or food, ethnic Africans are also being systematically impoverished, starved, and forced to move from their homes. “Lucky” non-Arabs become refugees in Chad or Ethiopia. These refugee camps, while mostly Janjaweed free, are still a dangerous place to live. Much like the Jewish ghettos, most of the inhabitants of the camps are on the brink of starvation. Not only are the refugee camps a dangerous place to live, the journey there is especially treacherous. Refugees must travel through the untamed Ethiopian desert; the travelers usually have nothing more with them than the clothes on their backs. The unlucky refugees are murdered. Lastly, Jews in Nazi Germany were persecuted because of their race. Non-Arabs in Sudan are persecuted because of their race. Instead of just fighting other rebel soldiers, the Janjaweed also goes after any civilian of the same ethnicity as the members of the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice Equality Movement. So, like Jews were targeted, the Fur Masaalit, and the Zaghwa are singled out and killed. Nazi Germany under the third Reich was a nation of terror because it was the government that was practicing policies of hate and discrimination. Sudan is in the same boat, it is the government supporting the terrorist militia group, the Janjaweed. In the case of Nazi Germany, the world community did not come to the aide of German Jews until millions died, and it was almost too late. Unfortunately, in the case of Sudan, millions have already died, it is almost too late, and the world community is silently watching the horrors unfold. The parallels between Nazi Germany and Sudan are plentiful and terrifying. We need to make sure that there is one major difference in the comparison of the two nations, we can intervene faster than the world did in the case of Germany, and make a difference while it is still possible.


Action needs to be taken as soon as possible before any more Sudanese die gruesome deaths. We can aid the people of Sudan by writing letters to our government and members of the United Nations, urging them to support the African Union and encouraging them to deliver more humanitarian aide to the non-Arab Sudanese. This will meet the need of the Sudanese people. Most people will read this and think, “How can one letter make a difference?” I will compare writing the letters to voting. Some people think that their vote can’t possibly make a difference, but if everyone felt that way, no one would ever vote and no candidate would be elected. Our government is a Democracy—it is for the people and run by the people. We elect our local officials and it is their duty to listen to what their people want. Therefore, if enough people write letters to them, they have to listen to what their voters want. One letter might not make a difference, but if many people write letters, use their voice, and express their opinions, our government will listen. So, like our country must come together and vote at election time, we as Penn State students must come together, write letters and let our government know that we care about the ethnic cleansing taking place in Sudan. Because our government is one of the most powerful in the world, if it cares enough about an issue, the world community will listen. If we as Penn State students write letters encouraging our government to take action, our government will come up with ideas to help the Sudanese and present them in front of the United Nations. The solution will be a chain reaction that can begin with United States citizens and more specifically Penn State students. If every student writes a letter, forty thousand letters will be mailed. There is no way that our government could ignore forty thousand letters. The change in Sudan can begin with us here at Penn State.


Penn State Students coming together for the Sudanese people could be like Penn State Students coming together in the name of THON. Just one or two students would not be able to make a major impact on cancer research, but when forty thousand students unite as one for a cause such as THON, the results are tremendous. If Penn State students would unite in the name of the Sudanese like they unite, “For the kids” (www.thon.org) then the result would be tremendous.


My argument proves that the nation of Sudan lies in complete and utter turmoil. The Fur, Masaalit, and Zaghwa tribes are being “ethnically cleansed” as you read this. Action needs to be taken. Everyone can make a difference by writing to their local elected officials, it is such a simple action, and if enough people take it, the pay off will be enormous. We have the chance to help a nation full of persecuted people, but we must take action now, before they are all massacred by the Janjaweed and there is no one left to help.








Works Cited


"A Brief Overview on the the War and Genocide in the Sudan." The Anti-slavery Portal. iabolish. 12 Dec. 2005 <http://www.iabolish.com/today/features/sudan/overview1.htm>.


=, . "Crisis in Darfur." Darfur Information Center. Human Rights Watch. 2 Dec. 2005 <https://webmail.psu.edu/webmail/main.html>.


=, . "Janjaweed." Wikipedia. 2 Dec. 2005 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janjaweed>.


Kebbede, Girma. Sudan's Predicament. Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 1999.


=, . "Lost Boys of Sudan." Lost and Found: Sudanese Orphans come to America. Red Cross. 2 Dec. 2005 <http://www.redcross.org/news/in/africa/0108lostboyspage.html>.


Petterson, Don. Inside Sudan. Cambridge: Westview Press, 2003.


"Riding with the Janjaweed." Sunday Herald. Sunday Harold. 12 Dec. 2005 <http://www.SundayHerald.com/43939>.


=, . "Sudan." Sudan. Amnesty International. 2 Dec. 2005 <http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engafr540762004>.


=, . "This is What's Happening in Darfur." Darfur: A Genocide We Can Stop. Res Publica. 4 Dec. 2005 <http://www.darfurgenocide.org/darfur.php>.




Contact Addresses


Senator Arlen Spector

Room 1104, Federal Building

228 Walnut Street

Harrisburg, PA 17101


Senator Rick Santorum

100 West Station Square Drive

Landmarks Building, Suite 250

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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