Updated: 10:59 a.m. Monday, June 1, 2009 | Posted: 12:00 a.m. Thursday, May 28, 2009
Darfur tragedy: No end in sight
By Johnny Isakson
For the Journal-Constitution
U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson is writing about his fact-finding mission to Africa this week for the AJC.
At 5:30 a.m., we catch an air charter to El Fasher in Darfur, Sudan —- just two miles from Abu Shouk Camp, home to more than 55,000 people pushed out of their homes by conflict in Darfur. Less than four hours later, we approach the camp by Land Rover. The temperature is already over 100 degrees. On the right is the carcass of a horse baking in the sun; on the left men of the camp are slaughtering a goat.
The people of the camp fled their homes during Sudan's civil war, which ended five years ago. They remain here now because of rebel militias warring in the region, the destruction of their homes, and the systematic violence against women who dare venture outside the camps.
And so a temporary refugee camp has become a permanent tragedy. It is heartbreaking to witness the horrific conditions these in which these people live —- no electricity, no running water, lives hanging on by a thread. It is worse than any poverty I could have ever imagined.
Failure to resolve the violence in Darfur threatens any hope of a unified and peaceful Sudan. As Africa emerges in the 21st century, it is imperative to the security of the free world that it does not become a home for those who harbor terror and violence.