The Prospector (Helena, Mont.) 1916-2015, April 06, 2005, Image 11

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“Hotel Rwanda” should remind students that they can do more by Anjalie Graham Staff Writer Recently, I watched “ Hotel Rwanda.” But it was more than a mere “ watching,” it was an experi­ ence. As the movie began, the woman sitting behind me turned to the man next to her and asked, “ Is Rwanda a real country?” Her question set the mood for the movie. I could not blame her for her naïveté; people today do not know what is going on if it is not in the newspapers or on television. “Hotel Rwanda” profoundly made the point that the West in general, simply did not care. It is barely ten years later and we have already forgotten about that which we promised the world we would never forget. Throughout the movie my mind kept returning to the current situa­ tion in Darfur, Sudan. Darfur con­ sists of the western region of Sudan and is the site o f yet anoth­ er genocide. The UN recently declared that it was not officially “genocide” as such, despite US declarations to the contrary. Reports often state that there have been 70,000 deaths in the region. But those 70,000 constitute only nonviolent death, in other words, deaths from starvation, disease, exhaustion, dehydration, etc., and only from a particular seven- month period. Conservative esti­ mates currently put the total deaths, from the beginning of the conflict, at over 220,000 with over 10,000 more dying per month. Throughout the movie, all I could think was: right now, as I sit here, these same things are happening in Darfur. The same violent means of murder and torture are being used in Darfur as were used in Rwanda. But we do not count those victims. We said “ never again” and “ not on our watch.” And yet, once again, we have turned our backs. The UN has been unable to pass any substantial resolutions because Russia and China have significant economic interests in the region and, with the threat of their veto power within the Security Council, have been able to stymie any efforts to impose sanctions on the government of Sudan, which is currently arming the militias that are terrorizing the people of Darfur. Just as in Rwanda, the dif­ ference between the people who are being killed and the people who are killing, is virtually nonex­ istent, they all share physical appearances and histories. At one point in time, one group was Arab and the other was native African, thus the groups are labeled as “Arab” and “ Non-Arab.” Current distinctions maintain that the “Arabs” speak only Arabic and the “ Non-Arabs” have retained their indigenous languages. Despite this, the people are virtually all Muslim and, to various extents, African, yet they are killing one another. The con­ flict started in February of 2003, two years ago, when drought conditions increased the frequency and severity with which nomadic herders encroached upon farmers’ land. The farmers pleaded with the gov­ ernment in Khartoum for protec­ tion, but their pleas were refused and they subsequently began to arm themselves. As the farmers thus sought to protect themselves, Khartoum began to recruit, arm, and pay nomadic herders, forming a militia, called the Janjaweed, of 20,000 people. The government in Khartoum commissioned the mili­ tia to put down any insurrections among the farmers. Just imagine the government in Helena deciding to arm all o f the ranchers against the farmers and giving them free reign to, kill and torture them i f they got out o f hand. It seems absurd, but that is what is happening in Darfur. This is my challenge to everyone: watch “ Hotel Rwanda” and be rightfully horrified, but do not go on with life as usual. Instead, realize that we are allow­ ing this to happen again. Do your own research. For example, visit and The first site keeps an updated page o f links to current articles and op-ed pieces related to the cri­ sis. On the second site, you can print off a letter and send it to President Bush, requesting that strong actions be taken on behalf o f the victims of Darfur. And, if nothing else, spread the word. The more people who realize that Rwanda is a country, Darfur is a region, and that they are united by the unspeakable atrocities o f geno­ cide, the more likely we will be able to help the victims whom we have once again forgotten. “Just imagine the government in Helena deciding to arm all of the ranchers against the farmers ...” Tenth Annual Helena si i s i s j Fair W e d n e s d a y , April 6, 2005; 11 a m -4 :3 0 pm Carroll College PE Center N E T W O R K I N Q , J O B O P P O R T U N I T E S I N T E R N S H I P S Q R A D U A T E S C H O O L S U M M E R J O B S R E S U M E C R I T I Q U E S D O O R P R I Z E S M CUTTERS' O lL W M M i L T M J l i 8S 1 A L D M ikcSt ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 1302 Prospect 442-2053 Use our Call Ahead Program call up to 1 hour ahead - leave name Largest selection of professional products at lowest prices \ Show student ID and receive $2.00 off your haircut! iS (¿3 We love walk-ins! V I S A WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6, 2005 VOLUME 88, NO. 6

The Prospector (Helena, Mont.), 06 April 2005, located at <>, image provided by MONTANA NEWSPAPERS, Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana.