March 22, 2005
GENOCIDE EMERGENCY, DARFUR, SUDAN DISPLAY OPENS AT UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM
WASHINGTON, DC — The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has opened a display on the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Genocide Emergency—Darfur, Sudan: Who Will Survive Today? Genocide Emergency provides historical context to one of the world’s largest ongoing humanitarian disasters. The display, in the Museum’s Wexner Learning Center, features photographs of and testimony from Darfurian refugees in Chad obtained by Jerry Fowler, Staff Director of the Museum’s Committee on Conscience, on his May 2004 visit to the nation. Several artifacts from a destroyed Darfurian village are also on exhibit. The artifacts were retrieved by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Samantha Power and John Prendergast of the International Crisis Group (ICG). The ICG intends to return the artifacts when the civilian population is able to safely return.
“Stopping genocide requires individual action, and action requires knowledge,” says Jerry Fowler. “Genocide Emergency aims to educate Museum visitors about the genocide and equip them with information on how they can get involved in bringing it to a halt.”
The conflict began in early 2003, when rebels drawn from non-Arab (or so-called “African”) ethnic groups attacked police stations and military bases in Darfur in disputes over allocation of resources. The Sudanese government in turn enlisted militias from some of Darfur’s “Arab” ethnic groups to attack the “African” civilian population from which the rebels drew their recruits. The distinction between “Arab” and “African” may be largely subjective, but it is fueling a conflict in which hundreds of thousands of Darfurians have been murdered and raped. More than 1.5 million have been driven from their homes.
In July 2004 the Museum’s Committee on Conscience, which is mandated to address contemporary genocide and crimes against humanity, issued its first-ever “Genocide Emergency” for the region. Since then, the Museum has launched a number of initiatives to focus attention on the crisis and encourage individuals to work on become active in stopping it. More information on the Committee’s efforts and Darfur can be found at www.committeeonconscience.org.
Mandated by Congress, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is America’s national memorial to the Holocaust. A public-private partnership that has welcomed more than 21 million visitors, the Museum brings the history and lessons of the Holocaust to the nation through educational outreach, teacher training, traveling exhibitions, and scholarship. The Committee on Conscience guides the Museum’s efforts to educate about, prevent and respond to contemporary genocide.