Darfur: Civil War or Genocide?

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According to Raphael Lemkin , Polish-born jurist who escaped Nazi Germany and served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of War during World War II, genocide is defined as “…the systematic murder of an entire national, ethnic, or religious group”(Vile). Despite the clarity that Lemkin’s term genocide brings, the world is still having trouble deciding when to apply the word. This is sharply exposed by the unending debate on the crisis in Darfur. To understand the crises in Darfur to be genocide, one must reflect on the history of the crisis, acknowledge the actions that constitute genocide, and evaluate the responsibility of other countries in ration to the crisis.

The beginning of the crisis’ history began with civil war. There are those who believe the high casualty and displacement statistics are the result of an unrelenting “… gurilla conflict” (Aliprandini) or civil war between the Arab and non-Arab peoples, who are predominantly native African Sudanese, since Sudan gained its independence in 1956 (ProQuest). The Arabs, who are primarily herders, and non-Arabs, who are generally farmers, coexisted for many years (Lerner). In 1984 a brutal drought hit Dafur. Prior to the drought the farmers would let the herders use the land for grazing. As a result of the drought, there was less land for grazing and farming creating great tension and competition between the farmers and herders. As the drought worsened, the African farmers stopped sharing the land with the Arab herders. The Arab herders suffered immensely. Some Arab herders tried to farm land themselves, but without the proper tool or knowledge, most were not successful. Other herders stole cattle from the African farmers, which turned into a miniature civil war between the ...

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Kramer, Otis, and Rosalind Montanez-Muhinda. "Counterpoint: U. S. Options Are Limited in Darfur." Points of View Reference Center. EBSCOhost, 2009. Web. 6 Mar. 2011. 0

Lerner, Adrienne, Brenda Lerner, and K. Lee Lerner. "U.S. Congress Terms Situation in Darfur 'Genocide'" Human and Civil Rights: Essential Primary Sources. Global Issues in Context, 2006. Web. 27 Feb. 2011.

Mamdan, Mahmood. "Genocide or Civil War?" American conservative Vol. 6 No. 14. SIRS Researcher, 16 July 2007. Web. 28 Feb. 2011.

Milkias, Paulos. "Crisis in Darfur: Is Intervention Necessary?" Issues: Understanding Controversy and Society. ABCLIO, 2011. Web. 2 Mar. 2011.

ProQuest Staff. "Darfur: History." World Conflicts Today. SIRS Researcher, 2011. Web. 28 Feb. 2011.

Vile, John. "genocide." Issues: Understanding Controversy and Society. ABC-CLIO, 2011. Web. 7 Mar. 2011.
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