November 8, 2006
UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM TO PROJECT WALL-SIZED IMAGES OF GENOCIDE IN DARFUR ONTO BUILDING EXTERIOR IN WEEK-LONG EVENT
U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Andrew Natsios, Darfurian Refugee and Young Rwandan Genocide Survivor to Speak at Program Launch on November 20
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum will project wall-sized images of the escalating genocide in Darfur onto its façade during Thanksgiving week, marking the first time the national memorial’s exterior will be used to highlight contemporary genocide. The program, “Darfur: Who Will Survive Today?” is a unique and highly symbolic Museum project produced in association with Darfur/Darfur to draw attention to the continuing crisis in Darfur.
The wall-sized photographs will be projected onto the Museum from Monday, November 20 through Sunday, November 26, between 5:30 p.m. and midnight. Andrew Natsios, U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan, will officially open the week-long project at a Museum program on November 20, at 6:30 p.m. Other speakers include Holocaust survivor Nesse Godin; Omar Ismail, a Darfurian refugee living in the U.S. since 1989 with family still in Darfur; and Clemantine Wamariya, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, who was recently featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show as a winner of Oprah’s nationwide high school essay contest on Elie Wiesel’s memoir Night.
“We can’t afford to be bystanders to genocide in Darfur,” said Fred S. Zeidman, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council Chairman. “This Museum is a harsh reminder of the consequences of inaction during the Holocaust. During Thanksgiving week, a time of reflection and gratitude, we are lending the Museum’s moral stature to alert the public to the urgency of stopping the human catastrophe in Darfur.”
The photographs of “Darfur: Who Will Survive Today,” were taken in Darfur and neighboring Chad by former U.S. Marine Brian Steidle and photojournalists Lynsey Addario, Mark Brecke, Helene Caux, Ron Haviv/VII, Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum, Ryan Spencer Reed/GroupM35, and Michal Safdie. The photographs will also be available on the Museum’s Web site, www.ushmm.org/conscience.
“Darfur: Who Will Survive Today,” comprises images from the exhibit Darfur/Darfur, which was conceived and curated by Leslie Thomas, a Chicago mother and architect who, with the support of her friends throughout the country, was motivated in July 2006 to provide national awareness of the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The exhibit is presented in association with Global Grassroots, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which invests in social entrepreneurship to advanced women’s well being in poor countries. The show will be held in 24 cities over 24 months.
“Once you see photos of a murdered three year old little boy whose face has been smashed or the body of a one year old girl who has been shot you cannot look honestly look at your own children without doing something to stop this killing,” says Thomas.
In July 2004, the Museum’s Committee on Conscience declared a “Genocide Emergency” for Darfur. Since then the Committee has been working to educate policy makers and the American public about the urgent need to take action to end the genocide there. The Museum has mounted a display on the emergency in Darfur; held educational programming on the topic featuring members of Congress and Holocaust survivors; hosted two national conferences for student leaders engaged on the issue; and more. The Committee recently launched a weekly podcast series and blog, “Voices on Genocide Prevention,” featuring leaders in government, media and advocacy addressing how citizens can get involved in genocide prevention efforts.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum honors the memory of the victims by teaching their story to each new generation; and stimulating citizens and leaders to confront hatred and antisemitism; prevent genocide; promote human dignity; and strengthen democracy. Through a public/private partnership, federal support guarantees the Museum’s permanence and donors nationwide make possible its educational activities and global outreach. More than 24 million people—including over 8 million schoolchildren—have visited the Museum since it opened in 1993, and through its Web site, podcasts, traveling exhibitions, and educational programs the Museum reaches millions more. The Web site averages 15 million visits per year coming from more than 100 countries daily. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.