Genocide in Darfur
The Secret Genocide Archive
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: February 23, 2005
hotos don't normally appear on this page. But it's time for all of us to look squarely at the victims of our indifference.
These are just four photos in a secret archive of thousands of photos and reports that document the genocide under way in Darfur. The materials were gathered by African Union monitors, who are just about the only people able to travel widely in that part of Sudan.
This African Union archive is classified, but it was shared with me by someone who believes that Americans will be stirred if they can see the consequences of their complacency.
The photo at the upper left was taken in the village of Hamada on Jan. 15, right after a Sudanese government-backed militia, the janjaweed, attacked it and killed 107 people. One of them was this little boy. I'm not showing the photo of his older brother, about 5 years old, who lay beside him because the brother had been beaten so badly that nothing was left of his face. And alongside the two boys was the corpse of their mother.
The photo to the right shows the corpse of a man with an injured leg who was apparently unable to run away when the janjaweed militia attacked.
At the lower left is a man who fled barefoot and almost made it to this bush before he was shot dead.
Last is the skeleton of a man or woman whose wrists are still bound. The attackers pulled the person's clothes down to the knees, presumably so the victim could be sexually abused before being killed. If the victim was a man, he was probably castrated; if a woman, she was probably raped.
There are thousands more of these photos. Many of them show attacks on children and are too horrific for a newspaper.
One wrenching photo in the archive shows the manacled hands of a teenager from the girls' school in Suleia who was burned alive. It's been common for the Sudanese militias to gang-rape teenage girls and then mutilate or kill them.
Another photo shows the body of a young girl, perhaps 10 years old, staring up from the ground where she was killed. Still another shows a man who was castrated and shot in the head.
This archive, including scores of reports by the monitors on the scene, underscores that this slaughter is waged by and with the support of the Sudanese government as it tries to clear the area of non-Arabs. Many of the photos show men in Sudanese Army uniforms pillaging and burning African villages. I hope the African Union will open its archive to demonstrate publicly just what is going on in Darfur.
The archive also includes an extraordinary document seized from a janjaweed official that ...
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Why are we not outraged by this? Why are we not doing anything? We have a world outpouring of support for natural disasters that we have no control over (tsunami) but this, that we can change, is allowed to continue? Why?