Lesson from 1960s: Protest Darfur

Alysis Richardson

Today, Hitler is synonymous with such evil that you almost have to whisper his name. When you think of Nazis you fill with hate, sickness or terror. However, I will bet my entire tuition money that most people don’t know who Musa Hilal is and no emotions are triggered by the word Janjaweed.

In my time at this university, spent behind the sheltered marble and gold walls, a bloody genocide has swept the Sudan in Africa. Before your eyes roll and shift to the next article, take a moment to imagine this scenario.

A heavily armed group invades campus and you have no means of escape. The dorms are set ablaze; you lose all belongings and have no place to live. Starving, you sneak around in search of food but the threat of death is so tangible you’d rather starve. If you’re female, you and a group of friends are stripped naked in the quad by men with guns and forced to watch as each other are brutally raped. You will have your breasts cut off only to live with the physical and emotional scars. If you’re male, you don’t have the chance to live. You will be blindfolded, tied at the hands and feet, cotton will be shoved in your mouth and will be set on fire. Then you will be shot.

This is a sugar-coated allusion to what is going on in Darfur. It would take over 66 Quinnipiac Universities lined side by side to equal the number of people who have been murdered in the Sudan. That doesn’t include the millions that are hungry and displaced. Had this actually occurred on campus it would make world headlines and ignite a widespread public outcry. Military troops would be sent to Hamden and the situation would be immediately terminated. There is no military assistance from the United Nations and the African Union’s army is comparable to one security guard controlling hundreds of unruly fans at the TD Banknorth Sports Center on a Friday night.

What happened to protestors of the 60s? What happened to Kent State and why doesn’t international chaos register on Generation Z’s radar? There is no draft to the Sudan, that’s why. Our lives are in no imminent danger so why should we care what occurs outside our cozy lives?

This is where STAND comes in. The Quinnipiac chapter of STAND, a student anti-genocide coalition, has just been established and will epitomize exactly what this campus needs: a radical, vocal and passionate group of students dedicated to spreading awareness of the tragedy in Darfur. I am convinced QU STAND, and similar campus organizations, can change the minds of our “apathetic” peers.

Thousands of students like us are protesting the laissez-faire approach to Darfur, we just don’t hear about it because we’re bombarded with coverage of Anna Nicole Smith’s death. If you look at major political movements throughout history, they were often started by students. We need to abandon the assumption that we’re too young and can’t make change. Our voices can and will be heard. STAND up for what’s right and join the campaign to end genocide in Darfur. It only takes one voice to be heard. Imagine what we can accomplish with all our voices together.

For more information about STAND please contact: Luis.D’[email protected]