Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Junior Serves as Witness to Darfur

Correction (August 22, 2005): The article incorrectly said that Nate Wright (COL `06) traveled to Darfur, Sudan as part of an MTV-U television delegation last March. Wright traveled to the Darfur region but he remained in Chad, not Sudan.

It sometimes gets over 110 degrees during the day. And the wind blows so hard that it hurts.

Somewhere amid this heat and desolation, genocide occurs. The citizens of Darfur, Sudan don’t live, they survive.

Nate Wright (COL ’06) saw the devastation of genocide first hand over spring break as he traveled to Darfur with a team of two additional students from Boston University and Swarthmore College, as part of a special MTV-U television delegation.

Wright, vice president of GUSA and one of the founders of Students Taking Action Now: Darfur, an on-campus human rights advocacy group, said he won’t soon forget what he saw there.

“While there are so many reasons not to talk, [the people in Sudan] really believe that when someone in the U.S. or Europe hears these stories, they will have to act,” Wright said.

While in Sudan, Wright visited numerous refugee camps, spoke with government officials and met with Sudanese villagers.

A typical day for the team of students began at the break of dawn. They were not allowed to stay at actual refugee camps so they had to drive there every morning. Their days were spent going from camp to camp, talking with people and listening to their stories.

Wright’s journey to Sudan began with the founding of STAND in September 2004.

Along with a group of friends, he attended a July 2004 speech by a Sudanese Bishop. Two months later he and other Georgetown students attended a conference at the Holocaust Museum about the situation in Darfur. After the event, the students decided to form STAND.

The organization’s three-pronged approach of raising awareness, providing relief and pushing for political solutions culminated in a November 20 event in which students were asked to give up one luxury for the day and donate the money saved to be used in Darfur.

It was then that MTV-U first expressed interest in what STAND was doing.

A few months later, they invited Wright to see the situation in Darfur personally.

Many of the people in refugee camps have similar stories, Wright said. They told him how the Sudanese government bombs the towns before first light. At dawn the militia enters the region and attacks the local population. Men are often killed immediately. Women are divided into groups and raped.

On Easter Sunday, while millions of people throughout the world were celebrating, Wright and the MTV-U crew visited a refugee school. Wright described sitting with one student who pulled out a U.N.-supplied booklet of his drawings. The first picture that caught his attention was a picture of planes, armored vehicles and men in uniform attacking people.

“Many times a child would point out a figure that represented their dad being shot,” Wright said.

At the end of Spring Break and on April 7, the 11th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, MTV-U broadcast a rally in Red Square. Wright spoke about his experiences and said that politicians must begin to stand up for what’s right.

“In a society where men are not supposed to cry, they are; where women are not supposed to bear the burden of society, they are, and where there is an international community that is not supposed to be indifferent to human suffering, they are,” he said.

Wright certainly will never be indifferent.

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