Thursday, October 23, 2008
So I just wanted to write all of this down before I forgot. My group made excellent connections!
Today, Thursday the 23rd of October, We started of by having them review the UN definition of genocide. Josh reviewed that with them. Then Jeff talked about the Declaration of Human Rights. Then I gave a brief synopsis of the History and we had a map up on the board. After that we broke up into three groups. and we went through a worksheet on the history of Sudan. The got to understand the difference between Arabs vs. Non-Arabs. They learned the difference of who was fighting who in both the Civil War and the Genocide.
The first hard concept was the imposition of Sharia Law in 1983. First they did not understand what it was and I gave them a brief definition. Then they did not understand the implications of imposing Sharia Law. And I told them that Sudan's population is made up of mixed religions and not all Muslims are "orthodox" Muslims-there are secular Muslims. I asked them how would they feel as non-Muslims or as secular-Muslims if they suddenly had to follow Muslim law if they did not believe in Islam or practiced the Islamic faith to the full extent. That helped them understand why the Sharia Law incited more violence.
Then we talked about why the JEM and SLA rebelled in 2003. We talked about Sudan being rich in oil and the high demand of oil in the world. I showed them a map of oil reserves in Sudan and they noticed that a bulk of the oil is in Darfur and a bulk of the oil is in South Sudan! Then it made sense to them that the rebel groups and the South Sudanese would be upset with the governement for drilling oil and not redistributing the money. And then we talked about how Darfur was left out of peace talks and treaties between the North and the South and how the lack of representation annoyed the Darfur Citizens. We related that to "no taxation without representation" in the US Revolutionary War. That resonated with them.
Then the relationship between the Janjaweed and the government got hazy. And I was struggling to have them understand that though the Janjaweed are not government soldiers they are still funded by the government. Then one kid said the Janjaweed were"henchmen" and they all understood the relationship!
The finally moment of supreme realization came when we were talking about evidence for the relationship between the Janjaweed and the government. I told them that although people know there is a relationship hard evidence is hard to come by. And one girl said "how could we then accept that there is a relationship?" and then she related the whole situation to a drug deal in which you know a person is a dealer but the police cannot convict or arrest until they see the drug dealer in the act and get the real hard evidence!
They made some great realizations today. I loved teaching today!
Friday, October 17, 2008
Yesterday (10/16/08) we started to teach again for the fall semester! We are teaching in Mr. Marszalek's class in the new Middletown High School! The students That i was working with were extremely engaged and surprised that they had not heard about Darfur when a genocide has been occurring there since 2003. One girl who hadn't heard of Darfur before was confused as to why the world could let this continue for so long. The first class entailed having the students watch "Voices From Darfur" and then fill out a handout that gave them a preliminary background to the conflict. It was a great first class. The students were engaged and by answering these questions and seeing the video they understood why we were coming into their high school class to teach them.