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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Panel on Sudan crisis

“I come before you today because this issue is important,” said Lecturer in Political Science Victor Archibong at the April 11 panel on the Sudan, an event that included an information session and a discussion between the speakers and the audience. The panel mainly focused on the conflict at Darfur, but explored the issues, such as years of civil war, arbitrary map lines drawn when Britain left the Sudan, corrupt government and the discovery of natural resources, most notably oil, that have complicated the Darfur conflict.

The event, organized by senior Jini Kades, featured four speakers, Archibong, two Sudanese natives, Hamid Adbelrasoul and Kuanyin Abur, and UNCG student activist involved in the group STAND (A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition), Katie Mariategui.

A large number of topics were discussed. Mariategui focused on the numbers. Statistics estimate 500,000 people have been killed and 3 million displaced because of the Darfur conflict.

The panel also spoke about the difficulty of creating peace in the Darfur region.

Adbelrasoul, born a few miles from the Darfur region, talked about the corrupt government and their involvement in preventing peace. According to Adbelrasoul, the United Nations has passed several resolutions regarding Darfur, some of which would deploy U.N. peacekeeping troops into Darfur.

“(Sudanese President) Omar al-Bashir doesn’t want the U.N. there because they can catch people guilty of war crimes,” Adbelrasoul said. “This includes al-Bashir and his cabinet.”

According to Abur, “The government is hurting its own people.”

The government is reportedly giving guns to the Janjaweed, an Islamic militia that has been destroying villages, tearing apart families and killing people.

Also discussed was the lack of attention placed on the Darfur conflict.

“People may know what’s happening, but they need to see what is happening,” said Abur.

Media outlets have shown apathy towards the crisis in Darfur. In 2004, the Martha Stewart stock scandal got more airtime than the conflict in Darfur.

The panel focused on the complexity of issues in the Sudan, as well.

“The British allowed the Sudan to be divided, the people of the South do not mingle with the people of the North,” Archibong said.

The Sudan has been long divided by religious tension, resulting in a Civil War, which has created unrest in the nation.

What the speakers tried to emphasize is that the conflict is more than just a Christian-Muslim conflict.

Adbelrasoul said that the conflict is also over “sharing wealth and power,” the power of those leading the nation, and wealth from resources, particularly oil.

The discussion of Sudan left students who attended more informed.

“Going into the panel all I knew was that the conflict was a Muslim-Christian conflict, but the speakers informed the audience that there are other problems going on, and it’s not so clear cut,” said first-year Amanda Ross.

“I’m sure attendees will be able to hold onto this first-hand knowledge and will be more aware of the effects we have as Americans, how our presence is felt,” Kades said. “I wanted to do my part in educating other Guilford students.”

Beyond educating attendees, the panel also sought to figure out ways to solve the conflict.

Archibong stressed the importance students have had in the past in helping create change and social progress.

“Get on the State Department Web site and bombard them with e-mails,” Archibong said. “Demand that something be done in Darfur.

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