Cincinnati has added its voice to a rising global protest against the genocide taking place in Darfur, Sudan.

Mayor Mark Mallory designated Wednesday through Sunday as “Five Days for Darfur” in the city. The proclamation was read Wednesday morning by Councilman David Crowley at a kickoff of the Darfur awareness program at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Among the speakers were former Cincinnati Mayor Roxanne Qualls; Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk, Rabbi Abie Ingber, director of Cincinnati Hillel; Shakila Ahmad of Muslim Mothers Against Violence; and columnist Nick Clooney. Clooney and his son, actor George Clooney, spent five days in Darfur in April.

In the last three years, more than 400,000 people have been killed there by government-backed Arab militias called Janjaweed. The victims are farmers and their wives and children. They militias are killing people, raping women and burning villages in areas of Sudan inhabited primarily by black Africans.

More than 2.5 million people have fled their homes and live in makeshift refugee camps in Sudan and neighboring Chad, where they lack water and medicine and are dying of malnutrition. Sudanese authorities make it difficult for humanitarian organizations to help these people.

At Wednesday’s event, Qualls spoke of the devastating effects of the rape of Darfuri women.

Because victims often are ostracized by their families and communities, it is used as a means to destroy their culture.

Qualls said that Cincinnatians can help put a stop to it by demanding that national leaders take a stand.

“Five Days for Darfur” is sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Advocates for Darfur Coalition, a group of religious and secular organizations including the Catholic Social Action Office of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Isaac M. Wise Temple Political Action Committee.


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