|“Darfur Drawn: The Conflict in
Darfur Through Children’s Eyes” |
Through March 24
The Kimbo Gallery
William Pitt Union
“I see Janjaweed coming — quickly, on horses and camels,
with Kalashnikovs — shooting and yelling, ‘Kill the slaves,
kill the blacks,’” Abd al-Rahman, 13, said, describing a
picture he has just drawn. “They killed many of the men with
the animals. I saw people falling on the ground and bleeding.
They chased after children. Some of us were taken, some we
didn’t see again. All our animals were taken: camels, cows,
sheep and goats. Then the planes came and bombed the village.”
Abd is one of nearly a quarter of a million Sudanese
refugees who have been displaced from their homes in the
Darfur region of the country into neighboring Chad.
His drawing, along with 26 others by refugee children
between the ages of eight and 17, makes up “Darfur Drawn: The
Conflict in Darfur Through Children’s Eyes,” an exhibit
offering a unique point of view on genocide.
Beginning in 2003, the Sudanese government has been accused
of backing the Janjaweed militia, which is behind the genocide
in Darfur that has been horrifically escalating in recent
The United Nations estimates that beyond the Chad refugees,
there are approximately two million more Sudanese left
homeless — and over 100,000 dead — because of the mass amount
of villages destroyed by the Janjaweed.
“Darfur Drawn” is the result of collaboration between Human
Rights Watch and the Weinberg Tzedek Hillel program. Pitt’s
Hillel chapter has brought the traveling exhibit to the
William Pitt Union in the Kimbo Gallery through March 24.
The unsettling depictions were drawn by the children
without any instruction or guidance beginning in February 2005
when Human Rights Watch aids and researchers came to document
the horrors of the genocide.
Dr. Annie Sparrow and Olivier Bercault visited Chad to
investigate issues of protection and sexual violence within
the refugee camps. As she interviewed adults, Sparrow would
give the children crayons and paper to keep them occupied.
Surprised at the number of kids who depicted their
experiences of the war, Sparrow and Bercault visited schools
to find that nearly all of the Sudanese refugees were drawing
bombings, shootings, burning villages and even women being
dragged off by Janjaweed soldiers to be raped.
When they reported their findings to Human Rights Watch,
the organization felt a strong urge to show these images to
the world in an effort to raise awareness of the atrocities.
It is through Hillel that these images are being shown on
campuses throughout the world.
Hillel International President Avraham Infeld expressed his
concern over this humanitarian outrage, adding this should
especially be a concern for the Jewish people, who are all too
familiar with the effects of genocide.
“We can’t say ‘Never Again’ in reference to the Holocaust
if we sit on the sidelines today,” Infeld said.
The drawings themselves are very powerful and disturbing.
Putting the dreadfulness of genocide in the context of how
children view it and being able to see a physical picture
through their eyes makes for a moving statement.
At first, one is struck with just the awful knowledge of
the things that children have witnessed.
When a child was asked why a woman’s face was colored red,
the response was simply because she was shot in the head.
Another graphic drawing is of a man shooting a gun at another
man with a red groin lying on the ground — the subject had
Despite attempts by the UN and other humanitarian
organizations, getting people and troops into Sudan to help
the situation has been minimal. Most efforts are blocked by
the Sudanese government.
More than anything, these drawings make one aware of the
dire need for immediate help in this region. There is a
petition at the exhibit, calling for more effort to be put
into ending the Darfur Conflict.
For those who are more interested in the Darfur Conflict,
Amnesty International is screening “All About Darfur,” a
documentary explaining the genocide from the perspective of a
Darfur native, tonight at 8:30 in Room 121 of David Lawrence