Photos Bring Darfur Genocide Home

By Fiza Najeeb

Students who walked through the upper corridor of the Bronco
Student Center this month may have found it difficult to pass by
without feeling compelled to stop to see the photo collages mounted
on the walls.

These photographs of mothers shielding their babies, huts that
have been lit on fire, plundered villages and bone-thin starving
children are only a glimpse of what life is like for women and
children living in Darfur.

The conflict in Darfur centers on Janjaweed, pro-government
militia that aims to “cleanse” villages of the black Africans that
live there.

“Following air raids by government aircraft, the Janjaweed ride
into villages on horses and camels, slaughtering men, raping women
and stealing whatever they can find,” said a BBC news article.

As part of this year’s Women’s Herstory month’s theme,
“Generations Moving Forward,” students from the ReEntry and WoMen’s
Resource Center, ASI’s GAS Creative Group and the Bronco Exhibit
Gallery put together “Our Walls Bare Witness: The Women and
Children of Darfur.” Their goal was to make students aware of the
Darfur genocide.

“What we show does not capture the enormity of the issues,” said
Anita Roberts, coordinator of Women’s Herstory Month.

Fifth-year art history student Christine Adams, who is part of
ASI, is the artist that put together both the slideshow and all of
the collages that students can see in the exhibit.

“[The pictures I chose were] things that were personal and were
an up close vision of a child and mother, and how they were
affected,” said Adams.

Photos from more than a dozen photographers were used for the
collages including Ryan Spencer Reed, a photojournalist from
groupM35 photography.

According to Unicef, nearly two million children have been
harmed by the violence in Darfur.

Organizations such as Unicef and Global Giving have been
actively trying to give aid by feeding families, building camps for
women and children and providing social workers to offer therapy to
children.

“I think the more students are able to see what they only hear
about in segments of the news, then the more affected they will be
to see the unknown, and to be exposed to what our government is
totally capable of changing and since we are the government, this
is definitely a special project for the community,” said
second-year animal science student Sable Stevens.

“A lot of students are sheltered; we don’t know the truth with
what is going on [and this issue] is being glazed over,” said
Adams. “[Hopefully students] will appreciate more with what is
going on outside of our community.”

Fiza Najeeb can be reached by e-mail at arts@thepolypost.com or
by phone at (909) 869-3744.

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