Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Really bad terror: Darfur

Really bad terror is to be found in Darfur, a place which also suffers from Muslim on Muslim violence which is the theme of Adams's article, though I think that's coincidental to what Adams was saying. Just a couple of days before the 1 October 2005 Bali bombings, at least 32 people died in a Janjaweed terrorist strike on a refugee camp in Sudan.
Imagine the terror of living in Sudan, governed by an Islamic military dictatorship keen on Sharia law, with Central African Republic, Chad, and Libya as your neighbours. If there is an end of the earth, this is probably it, (though I have my suspicions about backwaters of Mongolia and of the former Soviet republics). There, genocide is proceeding, and that's according to Colin Powell. According to the BBC, "About 180,000 people have been killed and two million have fled their homes since the conflict began in early 2003."

Imagine living in a desert where life is cheap to start with, brutal thugs appear in jeeps and on horseback, the government bombs you from the air, groups of women and girls are gang raped in public, and pregnant women's bellies are slit open.

Be warned, what follows is truly horrifying, Amnesty testimony of the Janjawid's terror on the black(er) co-Muslims whom they are terrorising while the world takes a nap:

"After six days some of the girls were released. But the others, as young as eight years old were kept there. Five to six men would rape us in rounds, one after the other for hours during six days, every night. My husband could not forgive me after this, he disowned me."
"When we tried to escape they shot more children. They raped women; I saw many cases of Janjawid raping women and girls. They are happy when they rape. They sing when they rape and they tell that we are just slaves and that they can do with us how they wish."
"UNICEF has completed a child protection survey in Tawila. The report confirms a host of disturbing findings from the recent inter-agency mission, including a very large number of rape cases, in one case targeting 41 school girls and teachers, gang rape of minors by up to 14 men, abduction of children and women as well as killings of many civilians."
Nothing could be more horrendous, or could it? Far from doctors, police, and counsellors after the ordeal, this:

"Given the cultural taboo associated with rape, women are reluctant to report it to the few medical workers present in refugee camps, which can lead to further medical complications of injuries they may have sustained during the rape. Women who have become pregnant as a result of rape often suffer complications before, during and after giving birth, because of the physical injuries resulting from assault. When giving birth, women who have been raped are prone to the problem of fistula. A fistula occurs when the wall between the vagina and the bladder or bowel is ruptured and women lose control of the bladder or bowel functions. They become isolated as a result of their incontinence. The problem can be resolved by surgery.

Even if women raped have not sustained consequent grave physical injuries, the apparent lack of hygiene and sanitary products in the context of material relief shortages in Darfur and Chad contribute to the risk of infections.


In western Sudan, female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced: the majority of women are circumcised and many women are infibulated. This increases the risk of injuries during rape and consequently increases the risk of contracting HIV/Aids or other sexually transmitted diseases. At present there are no adequate medical facilities to provide comprehensive medical care on HIV/Aids amongst the refugee population in Chad or in IDP camps in Darfur, as a consequence of the fact that humanitarian organizations are overwhelmed by the nutritional emergency and difficulties in access, logistics and capacity. The consequences of this lack of medical support for rape survivors living with HIV/Aids are severe."


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