Almost every Armenian I have met tells me, “Genocide is in my blood.” And I see this in the constant work of In His Shoes and through the annual Genocide Awareness Week organized by UC San Diego’s Armenian Student group. Not only do these groups work to raise awareness about the genocide committed against their community, they want people to know that it is happening today, right now. It’s part of their healing process.
Just last week the government of Sudan attacked displacement camps inside Darfur. Families who fled their villages years ago because of attacks have been attacked again. As the targeted violence continues inside Darfur, we likely see an increase in families making the grueling and dangerous journey across the desert and into Chad. Others may try to make it to South Sudan, whose camps are not much better than those in Darfur.
The ones who make it to Chad could be considered the lucky ones, but it’s not without a price. The camps may be safer from violence organized by the Sudanese government, but it’s far from a place where individuals flourish. On Gabriel’s trip last spring, one refugee called the camps an “open prison.”
There are many people, adults and kids, who Stop Genocide Now has connected with since our first trip in 2005. Those who were once children are now young men and women. But unfortunately as the years pass in their open prisons their emotional and physical trauma is left unaddressed. I fear that this combined with continued attacks on their people will inevitably create a lost generation. A generation of people who didn’t know Darfur before the genocide. Will their great grandchildren one day also say, “Genocide is in our blood”?
I’m sure they will.
I often listen to the soundtrack to this video. It’s from Gabriel’s final day of his first trip. It tells their story, shares their laughter, and challenges us all to never stop working: