Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Slowing the velocity of atrocity

Darfur activist coming to Ojai to raise awareness of genocide

By Nao Braverman

The Thacher School will receive a visit this evening from the president and founder of the Darfur People’s Association of New York.
Sudanese activist Bushara Dosa grew up in Darfur. The son of an agricultural researcher, he traveled around Sudan, from Darfur’s most rural areas, to villages that border Chad.
A survivor from a region which has seen systematic murder, rape, abduction, displacement and continual abuse of human rights, Dosa is on a mission to work toward putting a stop to the atrocities that are occurring in his home country.
In February of 2003, Dosa united with other refugee families from Darfur in New York to form the Darfur People’s Association.
“The people who are here in the United States don’t want to see their family members in Darfur die,” said Dosa. “Their purpose is to work to stop this genocide.”
Dosa himself has many family members in Darfur, and is perpetually worried about their safety. Just recently his grandmother had to leave her home but was not able to go to a refugee camp in Chad, he said. While he does travel frequently to Sudan and speaks with family over the telephone, Dosa knows that they are always in danger.
He hopes that spreading awareness of the issues at hand will result in pressure by the Unites States government to facilitate peace negotiations in the war-torn region.
“People can’t help unless they understand the issues,” said Dosa.
While drought and overpopulation in Sudan, causing groups of people to relocate and mingle with other ethnic and tribal groups within the country, have been cited as part of the cause of conflict, the Sudanese government is also involved, said Dosa.
The Sudanese military has sided with the Janjaweed militia group, on one side of the conflict, and is accused of providing money and assistance to the militia group, which, Dosa says, has exacerbated the conflict.
While the U.S. government has described the conflict as genocide, little has been done by the United States and the United Nations to really work toward bringing peace to Darfur, said Dosa.
Dosa has been traveling around the United States, spreading awareness of the conflict in Darfur. He spoke at universities in Washington, D.C., Denver, and New York before coming to Ojai.
The talk was organized by The Thacher School staff through Amnesty International, the student-led division of the Genocide Intervention Network, and the Darfur People’s Association of New York.
Dosa will speak about the conflict and answer questions at The Thacher School Humanities Building, Room 14, at 6:30 p.m. at 5025 Thacher Road.

No comments: