Genocide, it’s just a word, it’s a word that you read in history books. But what does it really mean? Well, if you want to get rid of weeds in your lawn you use a herbicide, if ants are invading your house you likely will use a pesticide. You have probably noticed the use of the word ending ‘cide’. There are lots of words that end with ‘cide’ and I can not think of a single one that is good! A little bit of research reveals that ‘cide’ comes from Latin, and in it’s basic form, it means ‘to kill’. Genocide is the systematic removal of a people, and genocide is what is happening in the Sudan right now.

HBO are definitely making a name for themselves in the documentary world, they are willing to take on projects that the other networks turn a blind eye to. Sand And Sorrow takes a very long hard look at the African country of Sudan, more specifically the Darfur region and the genocide that has been taking place.

Without doubt this is one of the worlds poorest regions, with few natural resources, and no strategic geographic location, no-one seems to want to help the people. I may be cynical, but I am sure that if Darfur had oil, the world powers would be breaking their necks to help.

Sand And Sorrow explores what is happening in Darfur, and the findings are not good. This is not about religion, everyone is Muslim, this is about Arab versus Non Arab. The Arab led government in Khartoum is systematically killing the non-arab population of Darfur, moving village by village the militia are killing and raping their way through the region. It is estimated by some that the number of dead exceeds 400,000.

This is must see TV, produced and narrated by George Clooney, this is both a disturbing and frighting look at a situation that we, as decent people should not allow. Sand And Sorrow pulls no punches and the footage that is used is horrific. It not only shows the current status of the Sudan but explores the history and the West’s apparent apathy toward the problem. The US comes out of this in a very poor light, because  Khartoum is on board with the ‘War on Terror’ the US is loath to intervene, the other world body that could help is the UN, but they are portrayed as a toothless Bulldog, growling and snarling, but unable to act for fear of veto by China or Russia.

This is indeed a very sad situation.

I am involved on the fringes of the education system here in Canada, and one of the groups I work with is the Immigrant Youth Organization, these are primarily young people who are refugees, many of who are from the Sudan. I had noticed how reticent they were to discuss their previous lives, through Sand And Sorrow I now understand why. They have lived through a nightmare that is unbelievably shocking.

Sand And Sorrow premiers December the 6th at 8pm on HBO. There is an accompanying web site which contains some interesting background, and a short trailer. If you cannot receive HBO or cannot make the airing you will be able to watch it in its entirety online between December 7th and 9th. After Rwanda I was convinced that the world had learned a lesson, but The Sudan is living proof that we have not.

Simon Barrett

http://zzsimonb.blogspot.com 

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