Students packed in to a classroom Tuesday evening at the Stubblefield Building for a panel discussion on the genocide in Darfur.
The event, sponsored by the University of Miami Model United Nations, the School of Law and Center for Ethics and Public Service, aimed to inform and encourage students to act and get involved to stop the killing in Sudan’s western region.
“Our goal is to bring awareness to UM students and hopefully to the community at large,” said Laura Farach, president of UM MUN.
Ambassador Ambler Moss, a professor in the international studies department, compared the conditions to the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.
“During the crises in Rwanda, the world just sat, watched and did absolutely nothing about it,” he said.
The UN, as well as other countries and their governments, are trying to stop the situation from reaching the enormity of the Rwandan genocide. Yet, efforts have not been enough and the death toll as a result of the crisis is estimated to to be between 100,000 and 400,000, but possibly more.
Speakers discussed statistics and Sudanese history with students, making it clear that the genocide occurring in Darfur is a holocaust in the making.
“The first step is learning about it,” said Joanne Koren, chair of the Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board. “The second step, and the more critical one, is to speak up.”
The speakers encouraged attendees to contact congressional representatives, sign petitions, rally and join organizations, such as SaveDarfur.org. They said getting involved also meant spreading the word about the inhuman conditions in the refugee camps, widespread rape and the lack of supplies.
“A lot of people haven’t heard of what is happening in Darfur, and after this [panel] I believe that many will get involved,” Kate Liggett, a junior, said.
At the end of the night, green rubber bracelets with “Save Darfur” written on them were on sale and students were told that they have the ability to prevent killing of more innocent civilians and to end, once and for all, the four-year long genocide.
Gabriela Campos may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.