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The Messenger

In hopes of raising awareness about the reality of genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, Sam writes every Monday about a key issue in an attempt to stop the atrocity. Doing so may not bring about a wave of change, but it is a small ripple that represents the tide that needs turning.

Now that we've defined our message of overlap and commonality, we must find someone who will bring the message to the Janjaweed soldiers. Who is best equipped to deliver this message? Who can accurately bring the good news that there is hope in a shared suffering?

In Gerry Mackie's description of Tostan, the message is initially delivered by Western 'outsiders.' However, allies are quickly formed so that the message is not seen as being exclusively delivered by foreigners 'who think they know better.' Understandably, any such attitude would lead to the messengers being branded as irrelevant and the message itself would fall on deaf ears.

However, due to the overlap in the message, the Darfurians should be the ones to bring the message to the Janjaweed. Their shared suffering allows them to deliver the message with integrity. They have authority due to their victimization and their privilege as 'insiders,' even though their position is viewed as inferior by the Janjaweed.

The plan? Upon impending attack, a village should formally surrender, announcing that they want to meet the demands of the soldiers as best they can. They must appeal on the grounds that they know why they soldiers attack, and that there are common threads upon which a bridge can be built to lay foundations for a healthy future together.

While such an idea seems ludicrously naïve, there is no doubt that in some cases there will be more killings, and the vulnerability of the Darfurians will be taken advantage of. Thus, it is recommended that the first attempt at this be done with a small group (five or less) of attacking Janjaweed (as opposed to a band of twenty or more).

Once an envoy from the village has appealed to the soldiers, a bond will be formed on their shared commonality and a peaceful future can begin. This approach will be combined with a public awareness and education campaign aimed at the Janjaweed soldiers. This campaign will be detailed next week.

Now, who will bring the message to the Darfurians so that they know how to speak with the Janjaweed?

Again, following Tostan’s method, an educational campaign must be done initially so that people can find hope in the message and its delivery. The campaign in Darfur will mirror that in Senegal that ended female genital cutting. Once Darfurians have been trained, they will be able to not only communicate effectively with the Janjaweed; they will be prepared to ultimately lead their own autonomous communities and governments.

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