Where Do We Stand?

As anthropology students, where do we stand on the conflict in Sudan and its impact on civilians?

As a result of our research, we completely agree with Alex de Waal’s views regarding the conflict in Sudan and associated humanitarian aid.  We believe that any solutions to the conflict and assistance for the civilians must originate internally in order to be effective and avoid perpetuating political unrest. According to de Waal, “the fundamental response must be political, i.e. a political settlement or change.” The humanitarian aid that is offered to any region must be culturally respectful and sensitive of existing internal structures and policies.

In terms of the resources that are given to Sudanese refugees in the United States, more must be done to help them acclimate to the United States while simultaneously recognizing their cultural roots. In relocating civilians to refugee camps around Africa, we would like for them to remain as close to their home countries as possible in order to maintain their collective identities.

While we acknowledge that popular media portrayal of the Lost Boys of Sudan spreads awareness of their existence, it does not sufficiently represent the horrors of the Sudanese conflict. The media must present a more holistic representation of their stories and varied experiences; their journeys are not just about overcoming trials and overwhelming suffering. They are leaving behind a war-torn area with years of religious, ethnic, political, and economic conflict.