Thousands gathered in 12 different locations yesterday to support Sudan’s Darfur region and rally against the genocide-in-progress. The largest of these rallies was on the National Mall in Washington, DC. “Never again,” the speakers yelled to masses in front of the nation’s capitol. “Never again,” shouted back the diverse, impassioned crowd. The rally lasted a little over four hours and took place in front of the US Capitol. Over 45 political leaders, activists, writers, and celebrities took the stage to speak about the genocide in Darfur, which has left 180,000 dead and about 2 million displaced.
Speakers and participants at the rally came from all walks of life, spanning religions, political views, international lines, languages, and generations. The speakers spoke to this diversity, saying that we are all one people. Another message of the Save Darfur rally was one of personal action. Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel encouraged the crowd to go forward and speak out against the atrocities in Darfur, saying, “Silence helps the killers, never the victims.” Other speakers included Nick and George Clooney, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Samantha Power, and US Senator Barack Obama.
According to Save Darfur, the organization responsible for the rally, “The humanitarian situation remains catastrophic, due to ongoing state-sponsored violence, layers of aid obstruction, the lack of an overall humanitarian strategic plan, and the weakened state of displaced Sudanese. Refugees and internally displaced civilians (IDPs) have been displaced for long periods, they are in terribly weakened states, they are subject to sexual abuse and attack, they do not have adequate shelter, and a new famine is feared.”
“Rape has become a hallmark of the crimes against humanity in Darfur,” according to Save Darfur. “Families must continue collecting wood, fetching water or working their fields, and in doing so, women daily put themselves or their children at the risk of rape, beatings or death as soon as they are outside the camps, towns or villages.”