The documentary DARFUR DIARIES features interviews with many victims of the devastating genocide taking place in the area. The filmmakers seek to shine some ...
James Compere's insight:
The documentary "Darfur Diaries: Message from Home" shows how war and genocide in Darfur has destroyed millions of peoples lives. The movie states that the fighting was heightened by intervention by the Sudanese government who supported arab tribesmen and created sort of militias.It shows how the war has left thousands of people homeless. It shows images of rubble where village leaders say people's houses used to stand. There are unexploded bombs, and artillery shells littering the streets and villages. Men and woman are seen clothed in little more than rags, children lie in their homes wounded from bombings while flies crawl all over their bodies. It shows a village called Fara'wiyah that used to be home to a couple thousand people but is now a ghost town, with its streets littered with broken furniture and pottery. A woman states that the people have been forced to live under trees in temporary shelters. The movie really just shows the horrors inflicted upon the people of Darfur and asks for people to help them.
This image shows a tribal village in South Sudan. This relates to "They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky" because in the book the Sudanese tribe called the Dinka were a large part of the book. The first couple of chapters were about Dinka culture and traditions. Also, it shows how many of the people in this war were unequipped for the type of modern warfare that it was.
This picture shows children from Sudan in a refugee camp. They are all very skinny, their clothes are dirty and sometimes ragged, and all of their faces are sad, and worn out. This relates to "They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky" because it sort of provides a visual sense of what the boys may have looked like and how they felt while they lived in the refugee camp in Ethiopia.
Relief International is a humanitarian organization that dedicates itself to helping people in areas that have suffered from disasters such as war, economic or political strife, and natural disasters. They have kind of been the front lines for relief services in multiple large-scale crises. They believe that "one of their main functions is to communicate the pronounced needs of the vulnerable and affected populations to the international community" (Relief International). They work closely with the local communities so that they are not just forcing their ideas of what will work onto that community but are actually working together to solve the problem, seeing what programs are working and what programs are not, what can be made more effective and what should just be scrapped. They provide food rations, clean water, emergency medical services and other services that attend to the immediate needs of the people being affected by these disasters. But they don't just attend to the immediate needs of the victims they also try to establish stability in the country. They work with local farmers to establish "sound agricultural methods" (Relief International) so that they will have self-sustaining food sources. They believe that education is of the utmost importance for a suffering or young country so they establish programs such as teacher training programs, library and school house building projects, and school supplies provisional programs that supply things like books, and classroom furniture. Through all of these different tactics Relief International tries to get countries and people that have been affected by disasters of various forms back on the road to success.
Irving Greenberg's article "Carnage in Sudan" describes the war in Sudan and the millions of lives it has destroyed. He writes about how not only is the body count staggering but the number of people who have been forced out of their homes is more than twice that number. He states that the government of Sudan is not only not doing anything to stop the horrors of the genocide but is basically encouraging it. Distribution of UN and other relief organizations' aid is not currently enough to relieve thousands of people from the risk of starvation. Greenberg states that even though their tactics have had little change in their severity and cruelty the government has been seen in a better light because of a "charm offensive" so the plight of the victims in this war is remaining in the dark.
This disturbing image shows how the war has caused a lot of suffering for the people of Sudan. Many of them are starving and homeless and although they can sometimes find shelter in refugee camps they are often little better at solving the problems of starvation and disease due to overcrowding. This relates to "They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky" because in the book the boys often times had to scrounge for food around their refugee camp by fishing, begging, or boiling grass into a stew. Also, on their journey to the refugee camp many of people died from starvation or dehydration long before they made it to the camp.
Authors: Benson Deng, Alephension Deng, and Benjamin Ajak
James Compere's insight:
In They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky, three boys Benson, Alephonsion, and Benjamin lived normal lives in the Dinka culture. They got their bottom front teeth removed when they were young, they herded their families' cows and goats, and they fought off hungry predators such as lions and hyenas. That all changed when the Murahiliin, muslim raiders, attacked their village. Benjamin and Benson ran away from the fighting, they had no idea whether their families were alive or dead but they knew going back to the village would be a bad idea so they continued on. They eventually found each other again when they joined a group of refugees that were trying to find somewhere safe from the war. The group eventually joined up with some soldiers from the SPLA, the rebels fighting the Murahiliin for control of Sudan, who were taking refugees to an Ethiopian refugee camp. The only times they got new provisions was when they passed through a generous village willing to give them water or food. It was in one of these villages that Benson met a young boy named Monyde who had also lost his parents, Monyde joined the band of refugees, even though the soldiers said he wouldn't survive a day, him and Benson soon became best friends. The journey was long and full of danger, many people died in the first couple of days due to dehydration and starvation. Monyde died of yellow fever two days before reaching the refugee camp. Even though the refugee camp was supposed to be their salvation, it turned out it was not much better than Sudan. There was very little food or water, and diarrhea and yellow fever killed many of the refugees. Meanwhile Alepho had been back at the village, but it was attacked again. This time he ran away like Benson and Benjamin, and began his journey as a "Lost Boy". He eventually made it to the same refugee camp as Benson and Benjamin. The UNHCR came to the camp a few times bringing food, water, and medicine. One of the times they came they took a few of the boys with them back to America. In America they had the chance to start over and build better lives for themselves.
Sudan is a warm country with large savannas and deserts. There are many dangerous animals that live there such as lions and hyenas. It home to multiple ethnic tribes of people such as the Dinka and Nuer. It is currently in a civil war between a rebel group known as the SPLA and the official government. All in all I would say although it is a beautiful place I would not advise visiting there.
In the article "Refugees in Their Own Land: South Sudan Camps Breed Idleness, Frustration", the author Jason Patinkin describes how in South Sudan although the cities of Tomping and Juba are bustling and full of life the refugee camps which are just outside the city are overcrowded, pigsties in which the only forms of shelter are poorly built huts that are packed closely together. He writes about how many of the refugees sleep on the ground in these tiny huts which are next to clogged drainage canals. The refugees are more often than not victims or witnesses of intense violence and consider themselves lucky to be in the camps despite the adverse conditions because at least in the camps they have access to food rations and medicine. Patinkin also explains that not only are the camps almost in hospitable, they are boring. The refugees have nothing to do to occupy themselves because the cities had no time to prepare for the sudden growth. Many of them turn to drinking and fighting because they have no other way to entertain themselves. This lack of activity breeds frustration which in turn breeds further violence. Patinkin ends the article by stating that the camps have exceeded the recognized international humanitarian overcrowding standards and that even with presence of medical clinics and food distribution programs there are still problems with disease and hunger in the camps
The war in Sudan has left many young displaced without homes or families, fending for themselves or hiding in refugee camps. Dan Berry's article "A Wandering Lamb Finds a Sheepskin" describes the life of one of the boys who have been branded "Lost Boys" a man named Joseph who's childhood was robbed from him by a civil war he had no part in. Berry described how Joseph's story began when he was separated from his family. He fled to Ethiopia with a few of his relatives after his home was attacked but he was then forced back into Sudan when the fighting followed them. They moved from place to place trying to find somewhere that was safe from the war. He wandered for a long, long time until he arrived at a refugee camp in Kenya where he stayed for many years. Berry states that Joseph eventually was released from the refugee camp by a program developed by the UN and the Immigration and Naturalization Service and was brought to Philadelphia in the December of 2000. Joseph and another one of the Lost Boys moved in with an american woman and began their journey to become normal american teenagers. Berry describes how even though Joseph went to college and did all the things that normal american kids do he would never be normal he said that Joseph didn't go out much and he didn't gorge on the food he was still in part a Lost Boy. But when he got his diploma Berry said that written on it was his real name Malual Manyok Duot and the words "Lost Boy Found".
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