Only the name remains.

Amira close up 4 “Please keep putting a fire under Bashir,” Amira asked from us and all Americans. She said that Bashir needs pressure, so that he will allow peace to come to Darfur. Amira wants to go back home with her husband and six children. She does not understand why her own government and the Janjaweed have destroyed her village and forced them to leave. All Amira knows is that her village “exists only in name,” Cornoye.

All of the people from Amira’s village, the ones that were not killed during the attack, are now living in displacement camps, most of them as refugees in Chad. They are scattered in different camps, and many family members are attempting to reunite.

messages from darfur Amira’s beautiful daughter, Hadja, stood next to her mother and listened intently to the story of the destruction of her village. I wonder what a child feels and thinks, knowing that someone or something powerful hates her and her people so much—wants them dead or gone—and only because of who they are. I’ve tried to ask, without trying to push or be overly intrusive, but we usually hear that they do not understand, and they many times ask us for that answer.

When peace comes to Darfur, will that name without village go back to being a peaceful home for Amira, Hadja, and all their family and neighbors? This can only happen, if we keep “putting a fire under Bashir.”

Paz,
g

Gabriel co-founded Stop Genocide Now in 2005, which gave birth to i-ACT in 2009.

He became involved in the situation in Darfur out of a sense of personal responsibility. He believes the power of community and compassion, combined with personal empowerment, can bring about meaningful change.

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Category: Day 2: Aug 2, 2008 · Tags: , ,

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5 Responses to “Only the name remains.”
  1. Mimi and Gabo says:

    I remember when my dad and me were talking about all that was happening to Darfur about three years ago. I had thought that by now everything would be good again. But I guess I was wrong. After three years I still can’t believe that this could still be going on.
    Stay Safe,
    Mimi & Gabo

    • Gabriel says:

      Hola Mimi & Gabo!
      I also remember our conversations, Mimi. It is pretty incredible that I”m out here three years later, and the situation in the camp looks a little worse. The kids are pretty amazing, though. I know that you and Gabo would enjoy playing with them and seeing what their days look like. It would be so nice to have peace in Darfur and be able to travel to their village and just have a good time with them. Los quiero mucho. Dale un abrazo grande a Gabo de mi parte. Dile que el tambien me escriba; que te diga a ti que escribir. Besos,
      Papi

  2. teresa says:

    The children’s drawings are very touching. You see the drawings from the kids from Petaluma and they look like beatuiful decorative pillows when they put them up and then it’s amazing how every single darfurian child seems to draw the same pictures of attacks on their villages. It’s sad to know that those are the thoughts that are present in their minds. I wonder what they would draw if you ask them to draw something that makes them feel happy. I assume there are very few things they can relate to.

    • Gabriel says:

      Hey Tere!
      This was such a good group of kids. They were polite and shared their pens and crayons, and they took to their jobs with seriousness. They just need to play. Play therapy would be so good for them, so that they can find other things to think about. I think so much of Mimi and Gabo and the contrast in lives.
      Gabe

  3. Rachel says:

    OMG! These kids are so cute… I was thinking in the same lines of Teresa… I wonder what they would draw if you told them to draw something that made them happy or if they had one wish, what would it be… But I guess the answer of that one is told time and time again… They want to return home; they want more education; they want to leave a peaceful life; they want to eat good food; they just want to live…So many things we take for granted.

    Thanks for sharing their lives with us.

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