The Darfur Conflict Chelsea Bushee
There are two main people groups that live in the Darfur region of Sudan; the Arabs and the non-Arabs, which are the black Africans. The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) groups accused the Sudanese government of oppressing and even killing the black Africans in favor of the Arabs. The northern, Arab region of Darfur has the official Sudanese military and the police on their side. The Janjaweed is also a part of the Northern group. The Janjaweed is a Sudanese militia group that is mostly made up of camel-herding Arabian nomads. The Southern region that is predominantly black Africans is mainly armed with rebel groups. The SLM/A and the JEM are the primary forces associated with Southern Darfur.
It is speculated that the Sudanese government sides with the North. The government publicly denies any involvement with the Arabs, but is accused of funding the Janjaweed with both money and weapons. It is also known that the Sudanese government has participated in attacks that targeted civilians. The Janjaweed is described as “a grotespue mixture of mafia and the Ku Klux Klan.” The goal of the Janjaweed, and the indirect goal of the Sudanese government, is to completely remove non-Arabs from the area.
The reason for the divide in Darfur is because the Arabs consider themselves better than the blacks. The Northerners consider themselves as intellectuals and look at the Southerners as slaves, regardless of if they actually are slaves. While the Arabs are referred to as “people”, the blacks are known as “tribes-men”.
It may seem as though religion is fuel for the war, but that is not always the case. Some people say that the Muslim Arabs are against Christian black Africans. However, many of the victims of the Darfur conflict are Muslim, just like the Arabs.