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Benefit for People of Darfur to Take Place at Smith

Murder, violence and terror continue in the Darfur region of western Sudan though a peace treaty has been negotiated between the country’s government and a major rebel group.

Now in its third year, the conflict between government-supported Arab militias and non-Arab peoples in Darfur has claimed an estimated 400,000 lives and displaced more than 2 million people. Millions more face starvation and disease.

Inspired by the ongoing efforts by Eric Reeves, professor of English language and literature at Smith, to focus international awareness on the Sudan crisis and advocate for human rights there, Smith College is joining some 20 regional organizations in sponsoring “Witnessing Darfur,” a benefit for victims of the Sudan conflict, on Wednesday, June 21.

The benefit, which will take place from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in Stoddard Hall, is coordinated by the Congregation B’nai Israel Darfur Action Group. Stoddard Hall is wheelchair-accessible.

The event will include a talk by Peter Chambang, a student at Western New England College in Springfield who escaped his native Sudan, as well as comments by Reeves about the current situation in the north African country. Also, the event will feature the screening of two brief films on Darfur produced by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and an exhibition of artwork by children from Darfur.

“In the absence of robust international humanitarian intervention—to protect desperately vulnerable civilians and increasingly threatened humanitarian operations —hundreds of thousands of human beings will die,” says Reeves. “If we fail, we ensure that there will never again be any meaning to ‘never again.’”

Benefit organizers hope to raise $10,000 for the Sudan Aid Fund, which is administered by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts to provide food, clothing and shelter for people in Darfur.

Donations will be accepted in cash or check at the benefit. To make a donation before or after, mail checks, payable to Sudan Aid Fund, to Community Foundation of Western Masssachusetts, P.O. Box 15769, Springfield, MA 01115-5769.

For more information on the benefit, contact Henry Rosenberg, 586-9781.


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