I began this quest to try and understand the back-story of the tragedy of Darfur. The great diaspora from Darfur began more than five years ago, in the spring of 2003, when the government of Sudan, led by a regime of Arab fundamentalist, embarked on a campaign to crush an uprising by the black African farmers of Darfur.
The government’s strategy was to obliterate the villages from which the rebellion had risen. The favored tactic was to drop rudimentary bombs (fifty-five gallon drums) packed with explosives and scrap metal from Antonov cargo planes. This was followed by an assault on the villagers by the mounted Arab militias, the Janjaweed, the ‘devils on horseback‘. The Janjaweed killed those who had not fled into the bush, poisoned wells with their corpses, set ablaze buildings, destroyed stocks of food and seed, trampled fields and hacked down fruit trees. Tens of thousands of villagers, most of them women and children, set off across the bleak Sahel landscape in search of refugee. Many dispersed throughout Darfur, and others headed towards the border of Chad. They arrived in Chad with few possessions and camped on the outskirts of villages and towns. For the most, the Chadian villagers greeted them with compassion, offering water and food. The refugees hoped to return soon to their homeland, but as the months wore on, more refugees kept arriving, bearing horrific accounts of Janjaweed atrocities in one village after another. The carnage in Darfur continued for many months before it became known to the outside World.