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Canadian Students On Darfur Crisis

By  | 1 August 2005 at 04:32 | 883 views

The genocide and horrendous suffering in Darfur, Sudan has pricked the conscience of Canadian students in British Columbia, Canada, as this article by Dan Pinese of the Peak newspaper, SFU, illustrates.

By Dan Pinese

Canadian Students for Darfur, an organisation started by Simon Fraser University students, is organising a candlelight vigil to raise awareness and promote possible solutions for the refugees of the ongoing situation in Darfur.

On July 30, 2005, representatives from all major federal political parties and student groups will be speaking from 6-10 p.m. at the Vancouver Art Gallery. According to Simon Fraser Student Society president and chair of the Canadian Students for Darfur, Clement Abass Apaak, though political speakers will be present, the focus of the event is not political in nature.

"We are not really interested in the political aspects. Of course, we condemn what the government of Sudan is doing, but we don’t support what the rebel groups from Darfur are doing either. Our concern is primarily with the victims who are caught in the crossfire and that don’t have anything to do with the politics of the situation. They are the ones that are suffering and they are the ones that have no one to advocate and speak on their behalf. So, we feel like we are the voice of those refugees," Apaak said.

In order to help the victims of the conflict, Apaak stated that the event is part of a broader plan to raise awareness and promote a national fundraising campaign geared at post-secondary students.

"Essentially, we are planning to launch a national fundraising drive that would involve every student in Canada donating one dollar to the fund that we can then distribute to aid agencies working with the refugees," Apaak said.

The campaign, according to Apaak, could mark an unprecedented student movement if successful in its goal to raise one million dollars. And this, said Apaak, is something that SFU students should be proud of and get involved in.

"This group was started by SFU students, including myself, that is one reason why they should be involved. And they should be proud that this initiative is coming from SFU. I think it speaks volumes about what our university stands for, which is that, not are we interested in acquiring degrees and educating ourselves, but we are always looking at other things within the broader context and what role we can play to improve the conditions of the human family, regardless of whether they are here in Canada or in Africa," he said.

Apaak added that the event would be geared toward getting youth involved and how youth can influence world issues; something Apaak sees as empowering and necessary.

"Young people can make a difference . . . We have a role to play and we have to start playing that role now. There’s no need for us to wait," he said.

The Peak Publications Society, 1994-2004. Back to Top

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