Rationale: The purpose of this lesson is for students to learn about the genocide in Darfur (Sudan), and to explore the reasons why the world has not interceded when at the end of Holocaust the international community said "never again." Referring to the Genocide Convention, students debate the obligations of the international community to intervene in Darfur, and discuss the resistance of world governments to respond. This lesson is designed to teach students that ordinary citizens can make a difference by taking action and speaking out on behalf of genocide victims, even as leaders of the world stand by. The final part of the lesson empowers students to take action against genocide by implementing various student-led projects and humanitarian campaigns to aid Darfur.
- Students will learn about the violence in Darfur (Sudan) through fact finding, research and analysis of primary sources.
- Students will develop a greater understanding of international law.
- Students will analyze forms of global intervention and reasons for responsiveness to acts of genocide.
- Students will create an action plan to implement a humanitarian project in their school and community to aid citizens of Darfur.
National Standards (.pdf format -35 KB - requires Acrobat Reader)
Age Range: Grades 10-12
(Click on the link above for a master pdf file with all of the handouts or click on any individual title below for an html version of that single handout.)
Other Materials: chart paper, markers, masking tape, journals (one for each student)
Time: 2 hours or 3 class periods
Techniques and Skills: analyzing maps, analyzing primary documents, brainstorming, building an action plan, connecting past to present, consensus building, cooperative group work, critical thinking, debate, forming opinions, large and small group discussion, media literacy, reading skills, research skills, social action skills, using the Internet, writing skills
Key Words: Amburu, Arab, Bahai, Cariari, Chad, civilian, Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Darfur, decimated, dehydration, destabilization, displacement, Doctors Without Borders, enslavement, ethnic, genocide, humanitarian, inhabitant, International Rescue Committee, Janjaweed, Justice Equality Movement, malnourished, massacre, militia, millet, mosque, Muslim, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, refugees, re-hydration, sorghum, Sudan, Sudanese Army, Sudan Liberation Army, suppress, sustenance, UNICEF, USAID
Part I (40 minutes)
- Given the tasks students will be asked to engage in throughout this lesson, it is preferable for students to have gone through Lessons 1 - 3 of this unit, prior to implementing Lesson 4.
- Given the time-sensitive nature of this lesson, it is advisable to consult sources on the most recent events occurring in Darfur. A list of internet sources is provided in the attached handout, Darfur: Internet Links & Sources. Should this lesson become outdated, it may also be used as a model for exploring a case of genocide that may be occurring currently (check www.genocidewatch.org for current details).
- This lesson does not provide a full cultural or historical overview of Darfur (Sudan). For further information, you may wish to refer students to the following sources:
- Historical dictionary of the Sudan, African historical dictionaries, Richard Lobban, Robert S. Kramer, and Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, no. 85, 3rd ed (Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2002).
- The root causes of Sudan's civil wars, African issues, Douglas Hamilton Johnson (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003).
1. Inform students that they will be working in pairs for the first part of this lesson. Once students have been paired, distribute the Peter Biro: a Journalist Diary handout, one to each student.
2. In pairs, ask students to read through the diary, and consider the following questions:
3. Post five separate pieces of chart paper with the following headers: (1) "Displacement", (2) "Devastation & Destruction", (3) "Delivery of Aide", (4) "Latest Developments" and (5) "Questions we still have."
- What is the time and place of Peter Biro's diary?
- Why did Peter Biro submit his diary excerpts from Chad's northeastern border?
- Do we know from reading Peter Biro's diary why people left their homeland of Darfur?
- What are some of the ways that the refugees from Darfur were targeted and attacked in their home towns?
- What are some of the devastating effects experienced by the refugees as a result of the violence in Darfur?
- Peter Biro writes extensively about the death of the livestock. Why is this particularly devastating for the Sudanese refugees?
- What are the some of the forms of humanitarian aide mentioned in Peter Biro's diary?
- The last entry in Peter Biro's diary is dated May 16, 2004, what is the situation in Darfur today? (Note: Assure students that they will have an opportunity to learn more about the situation in Darfur, should they not offer responses to this question.)
4. Hold a class discussion on the questions posed above, chart their responses or questions under the corresponding categories (i.e., responses about time, place, or ways that the Sudanese refugees were displaced would be charted under "Displacement"; responses about the devastating effects experienced by the refugees would be charted under "Devastation & Destruction"; questions not answered in the diary would be charted under "Questions we still have?"; and so forth).
5. Distribute a copy of the handout, Darfur: The Facts, to each student. In their same pairs, ask students to review the fact sheet and take note of any additional information not currently listed on the posted chart paper.
6. Remind students that events in Darfur develop with every passing day; therefore it is important to remember that the fact sheet on Darfur is a living document. Students should conduct further research using the various sources listed on the Darfur: Internet Links & Sources handout to ensure they have the most recent information about the conflict in Darfur, and to answer any of the questions listed on the flipchart, "Questions we still have?"
7. Once students have had time to digest all of the facts on Darfur, ask students if they found additional information that should be added to the posted chart paper. Chart their responses on the corresponding chart paper.
Part II (40 minutes)
8. For the second part of the lesson, divide students into groups of 4 - 5.
9. Distribute a copy of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of GenocideUnited Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to each student.
10. In their groups, ask students to discuss the following questions using the Genocide Convention as a reference:
- Based on the evidence, should the situation in Darfur be legally termed "genocide" by the United Nations and the world community?
- Why or why not?
- Has Sudan ratified the Genocide Convention, and what does this mean in terms of its legal commitments? (Note: Students can find this information on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
11. Once each group has had an opportunity to discuss the questions, ask each group to appoint a reporter to present the group's argument on each of the questions above. Each group reporter should present their group's position to the class.
12. Once each group has had an opportunity to present, ask three volunteers (one per quote) to read aloud the following quotes to the class:
Quote 1: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell determined Thursday that the violence in Sudan's Darfur region, which has killed some 50,000 people and displaced more than 1 million, constitutes genocide. "We concluded that genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the government of Sudan and the Janjaweed (Arab militia) bear responsibility -- and genocide may still be occurring," Powell said in prepared remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Krishnadev Calamur, United Press International, Washington, DC, Sep. 9, 2004
Quote 2: A U.N. commission investigating atrocities in Sudan has concluded that the government did not pursue a policy of genocide in the Darfur region but that Khartoum and government-sponsored Arab militias known as the Janjaweed engaged in "widespread and systematic" abuse that may constitute crimes against humanity. Colum Lynch, Washington Post Staff Writer, "U.N. Panel Finds No Genocide in Darfur but Urges Tribunals", February 1, 2005
Quote 3: …Call it civil war, call it ethnic cleansing, call it genocide, call it "none of the above." The reality is the same. There are people in Darfur who desperately need the help of the international community. Former U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, in his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Sept. 9, 2004 (quoted by CBS News Online, "The Genocide Convention", September 20, 2004)
13. Ask students the following questions in reaction to these quotes:
a. Is it important that the United Nations did not find that the violence in Darfur constituted "genocide" [U.N. International of Inquiry on Darfur]? Why or why not?
b. Did the U.N.'s determination affect whether other countries responded or intervened in Darfur?
c. Considering the various reasons for global unresponsiveness discussed in Lesson 3, "Never Again or Again and Again? Barriers to Preventing Genocide Since the Holocaust": Why would countries be resistant to intervening when mass atrocities have occurred in Darfur?
d. What are the different ways the world could intervene or respond in the case of genocide in Darfur?
e. Is not taking action a form of action?
14. Journal assignment (can be assigned as homework):
Distribute a copy of Survivors of Rwanda Genocide, Nazi Holocaust Find Common Ground to each student. Ask students to read the article, and write in their journals a 5 -8 paragraph response to the following questions:
Ms. Murekatete says in the article, "The United Nations and other world leaders always say, 'never again, never again,' but so far it has continued to happen and it is up to each and every one of us to make sure that that phrase 'never again' is not just an empty phrase but a reality…"
- What are some ways that Mr. Gewirtzman suggests that each and every one of us can make sure that the phrase 'never again' is not just an empty phrase?
- Are there other ways that are not already mentioned by Mr. Gewirtzman?
Part III (40 minutes)
15. Brainstorm the following questions with students:
16. Inform students that they are going to have an opportunity to take action to aid Darfur. Distribute the Darfur: Student Action handout to each student.
- Does each and every one of us have a responsibility to respond to the situation in Darfur?
- What are some ways we could respond?
- Do you know of someone involved in a student project, or other forms of action to aid the victims in Darfur? If so, what action have they taken?
17. Divide students into groups of 4 - 5.
18. Ask for each group to review the various forms of action taken by students across the world, and to add any other ideas for ways to take action on Darfur in their school and/or community.
19. Inform each group that they should choose one project from the list to implement in their school and/or community. Ask each group to come to a consensus on which project they would like to implement.
20. Inform students that once their group has chosen their project, they will need to build an action plan that reflects:
(1) the specific goal of their group project to aid Darfur,
(2) specific action steps they will take to achieve their project goal, and
(3) a timeline that reflects when and where they will complete the action steps they have outlined.
21. Teachers should review the action plan of each group to ensure that each of the three questions listed above have been completed satisfactorily. Once each group action plan has been approved by the teacher, students may begin implementation of their project or campaign.
22. After students have had time to successfully complete their projects, ask each student to write an reflective essay on:
(1) the successes of their project or campaign,
(2) challenges that may have arisen, and
(3) their individual impression of the impact of their group project or campaign on their school and/or community.
23. Encourage students to continue their aid for Darfur by implementing an additional project listed on the Darfur: Student Action handout. For each additional project that students pursue, they should repeat Steps 20 - 22 to ensure students meet and reflect on their project goals.
Follow-up Topics & Activities:
1. Have students discuss their positions on different forms of justice for human rights abusers and perpetrators of genocide (Nuremberg trials, International Criminal Court, truth & reconciliation, international tribunals, and so forth), and debate which form of justice should be implemented for perpetrators of genocide in Darfur, Sudan.
2. Have students read novels that offer first-hand accounts about the conflict in Darfur, such as Dream Freedom (Author: Sonia Levitin, ISBN: 0152024042), or Emma's War (Author: Deborah Scroggins, ISBN: 0375703772).