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Return to Darfur Offers Hope

[Extra credit post]

Our group podcast looks at the trauma and violence experienced by Darfuri refugees living in camps along the Chad/Sudan border. The future has looked bleak for many of these refugees, many of whom have lost any hope of returning to their homes in Darfur. So I was very encouraged when I recently read this New York Times Article, explaining the return of over 100,000 refugees to Darfur. As Gettleman articulates, “people who have been victimized and traumatized are sensing a change in the air and acting on it, risking their lives and the lives of their children to leave the relative safety of the camps to venture back to where loved ones were killed.”

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Sven Torfinn for The New York Times

The violence experienced by the Darfuri refugees in the beginning of the conflict was, and continues to be devastating. The janjaweed raided villages, killing tens of thousands of civilians, entire villages were burnt down with a single match, and families were forced to flee in hopes of preserving their lives. While conducting our podcast interviews, it was saddening listening to recounted stories of these refugees, many of whom were raped by militia groups or experienced the killing of a loved one. The trauma of these experiences have left many scars, but this return to Darfur and a decline in major violence brings hope. United Nations officials state that the voluntary return of the refugees offers “one of the most concrete signs of hope this war-weary region has seen in years.”

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