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In Sudan, a fragile peace is vanishing at the rate of more than 10,000 corpses per month. Murder, disease, and starvation in Sudan's western Darfur region have taken between 210,000 and 350,000 lives, according to a recent U.N. estimate.

Starting in 2003, Janjaweed Arabs, a Sudan-backed militia, have driven 2 million villagers from their homes in ethnic-cleansing attacks designed to suppress local rebels. Satellite imaging has documented hundreds of burned-out villages. In remote border camps, displaced families live under plastic sheeting with grossly inadequate food and water. They have just enough food to starve—slowly. Already 20 children a day may die in these camps, where 70 people sometimes share one pit latrine.

Eyewitness accounts detailing the militia attacks are horrifying. "They killed my 3-year-old son right in front of my eyes," one father from West Darfur said. Since last fall, women have reported more than 500 rapes. Three women said five militiamen beat and raped them last August. The women said, "After they abused us, they told us that now we would have Arab babies. And, if they would find any [more] women, they would rape them again to change the color of their children."

Forgotten by the World

Human-rights activists call the situation in Sudan a "genocide in slow motion." But it has not captured the public's imagination even though the compelling film Hotel Rwanda provides a fresh reminder about genocide. After a recent visit to Sudan, Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., said, "I have seen with my own eyes the crisis of Darfurian refugees, who are being forgotten by much of the world."

Last year, then Secretary of State Colin Powell appropriately labeled the Darfur crisis as genocide. Also, the U.N. Security ...

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Hotel Sudan Isn't a Film—Yet
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In the Magazine

May 2005

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