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Sudan: Underreported and Ignored

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Where media is being thrown at us in high-speed quantities from all sides, it's all we can do to keep up with every new tragedy occurring, whether it's the Ukraine crisis this week or the devastations occurring in Syria the week before. These all deserve equal press, not one more than the other, yet Sudan has been all but forgotten in the wake of the newest top stories like a trend that has gone out of style. But nothing has really improved in Sudan since it was last in the headlines and the international community was paying attention to the dire situation there. If anything conditions there continue to get worse. In Darfur, the UN has reported that 100,000 people have fled within the last 6 weeks because of an upsurge in violence. East Sudan is now considered one of the most drawn out refugee crises, with over 85,000 refugees, at least 28-40% of whom are malnourished. The local population lives in fear of old landmines from a previous conflict exploding at any moment, and because of this farmers are unable to cultivate their land, thereby compounding the already desperate humanitarian situation. In Khartoum, security forces used tear gas and beat citizens before arresting 110 Darfuri students for demonstrating after the memorial service of a student who had been assassinated the week before by security forces during protests. Only 6 months before over 200 Sudanese citizens were killed and at least 800 arrested in Khartoum when protests broke out in September. This is only a small snapshot of the bigger situation in Sudan at the moment, a moment that has gone on so long that it has apparently lost its novelty in the media, and threatens to ceaselessly continue.

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Credit: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

Living in the fast-paced world that we do, it is undeniable and unsurprising that the situations most reported on are those that have occurred most recently. And unfortunately journalism has seen a copy-and-paste trend arise, where the stories of the moment are repeatedly regurgitated by various media outlets, creating a homogenizing effect where we end up reading the same words over and over again manipulated into new sentence structures. Regrettably, this means that other important events that should also have our attention are forgotten underneath the heap of newer, shinier news stories. And this non-attention means a lesser chance of inciting strong reactions from the international community, as the victims are not given enough of a platform without the media to back them up. The roar of the international community asking questions is much harder to silence or ignore than that of the already repressed and weakened victims of violations.

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President Omar al-Bashir Credit: EPA

The president of Sudan, Omar-al Bashir can more easily turn his back on his own victims than he can to outcries from the rest of the world. The second we consider the situation in Sudan as hopeless, the second it becomes so. That is why those of us who can must demand he be once and for all brought to justice for the human rights violations he has been indicted on by the International Criminal Court: crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. A man who is easily on par with the worst dictators roams freely and too little is being done to stop him. Why is it that this man can travel and still be considered the President of Sudan, while whole families starve or are killed while too weak to protest the unthinkable travesties being done against them? Why is it that governments across the world continue to negotiate with Bashir despite his murderous actions? And do we not understand that by stationing our embassies in Khartoum we give the impression that we do not care because it's just 'business as usual.' One of the only weapons we have to stop this is a unified voice of protest that echoes around the globe. Let us not forget this power that we have.