Mia Farrow on Human Compassion In Darfur (2007)

“This is a seminal moment for us. Who are we? We’re defined in this moment, in our reaction or our non-reaction to the genocide in Darfur. You said two-and-a-half million people were being driven from there, burning. Y’know, we’re seeing in Darfur, 80-90% of those villages have been bombed or burned by the Government of Sudan, and their proxy Arab militia, the Janjaweed … 80-90%. According to the Lemkin definition of genocide, it’s pretty well complete. Two-and-a-half million people have been driven out of their villages and are being forced to live amidst deplorable conditions in these refugee camps; 230,000 have fled in terror into Chad – of all places, Chad. Where now – in the last year – the Janjaweed have crossed into Chad, and the women who have fled Darfur and have burned feet and have lost their children and have walked 10 days, [one of them] crossed my hand and said, ‘But now they’re here. Now the Janjaweed are here. We can’t gather firewood here. We can’t plant here … We missed the planting season.’ … I was in an area called Jebel Marra last June, and the children were waiting with signs. And one of the signs that they held up [read]: ‘We need water. We need food.’ And the biggest sign read: ‘We need protection.’ And they had taken pains to write it out in English – somebody had taught them how to say¬†protection. And this was the plea from all across Darfur, and Eastern Chad, and Central African Republic – an extremely vulnerable population. Such good people; good parents … extraordinary. I could only hope that if I were in that situation that I would have that courage, that determination, and have the dignity that I witnessed there. I have never seen a people like that in my life. But the plea was for protection. We could do that. We should do that. We owe them that.”