Over the course of the past half decade, Sudan has witnessed the deaths of 400,000 civilians as well as the displacement of 2.5 million more. The media switches back and forth, calling it either a crisis or a genocide. Call it what you will, what’s happening in Darfur, Sudan has no parallel since the Rwandan genocide of 1994. While Iraq and the Middle East hold our attention, the horror continues on the opposite shores of the Red Sea.
But momentum is building. More and more activist groups are forming, and at the University, the group Students Taking Action Now: Darfur is in full swing, raising awareness through the universal media of art and music.
About a year ago, I covered a STAND-sponsored art exhibit at the Michigan Union that displayed art made by children in Darfur. Walking through each picture was an exercise in restrained rage, a withstanding of cathartic hopelessness. Humanitarian crises are thrown into sharper, heartbreaking relief when the subject is a helpless child. STAND’s message was loud and clear: End this ongoing atrocity. Now.
“Our hope is that if enough people voice their outrage over what is happening in Sudan, the international community will be compelled to act,” LSA senior and co-president of the University’s STAND chapter Maggie Glass said in an e-mail.
STAND is a national organization sponsored by the Genocide Intervention network with individual university chapters. They are constantly recruiting and host some type of event every few weeks, including fundraisers, guest speakers and art exhibits. But how do events such as these play into the bigger picture?
“I understand the difficulty in challenging a system across the world that has so many political undertones that are hard to grasp as a student in Ann Arbor,” said Grace Kotre, a graduate student in the School of Social Work and co-president of the University’s STAND chapter. She went on to explain that the ongoing genocide is something no one can ignore until it is stopped, and that’s what continues to motivate her.
Tonight, STAND will host the Save Darfur Tour at The Blind Pig. Hip-hop artist Alexipharmic is headlining what looks to be a barn-burning show, with a slew of others as opening acts.
Every cent of STAND’s proceeds goes to aiding the humanitarian effort in Sudan. The group’s primary target is Doctors Without Borders.
Activists such as Glass and Kotre are steadfast in their commitment to catalyzing change. As they and others continue to fight, they give the people of Darfur and the rest of humanity hope.
Save Darfur Tour
Tonight at 8 p.m.
At The Blind Pig
$6, $9 if under 21