Drawing by a child survivor of genocide in Sudan, Wiener Holocaust Library Collections

One year ago today, fighting broke out in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. This was only the latest escalation in a bloody conflict that has caused, by a considerable margin, the most urgent humanitarian and refugee crisis in the world today. 

Within the last year eight million people have been driven from their homes, a situation made even more catastrophic because of the legacy of previous escalation in violence and ethnic cleansing, and a disastrous lack of aid.  

The UN warns 5 million people will slip into famine conditions in the coming months. After calls for support from donor countries to und food and aid, the international community responded with a paltry 5% of the total sum required to avert catastrophe. 

This is why, very often to the consternation of Sudanese people both in the country and in the growing diaspora, it has been referred to as a “forgotten war”.  

In the face of potential influxes of refugees, Egypt is reluctant to allow any more Sudanese people across their southern border, just as they have refused access to Gazans in the east. 

The presentation of The Children’s Drawings by Waging Peace to the Library

One reason for the lack of international attention paid to Sudan is due to the impossibility for journalists to report on what is happening from inside the country. Reports without Borders have described how journalists are systematically preyed upon and attacked by belligerents on both sides, and vigilantes acting with impunity.  

Access to the internet is regularly shut down to block the flow of information and propaganda messages are disseminated by the state-owned media, which operates under military control. 

Both sides in the conflict have been accused of war crimes. The International Criminal Court is currently investigating atrocities perpetrated by the RSF (Rapid Support Forces) in Darfur, where some have accused the group of committing genocide, just as their predecessors, the Janjaweed, did 20 years ago under former President Omar al-Bashir. Bashir was indicted but never handed over for trial and remains in Sudan.  

The Children’s Drawings, by child survivors of genocide and mass atrocities in Sudan. Waging Peace.

In 2014 the Library acquired a collection of children’s drawings from Darfur. A researcher from the charity Waging Peace visited Eastern Chad, then home to many refugees from the region. She asked children who had witnessed the atrocities over the preceding years to “draw their strongest memory”. The result is a collection of drawings which show in alarming detail the violence that was exacted, including accurate depictions of weapons and uniforms, fire and destruction, death, sexual violence and slavery. This year the population of Darfur is again facing ethnic cleansing

To mark one year since the start of renewed violence, Waging Peace have created a book, The Children’s Drawings, evidence of the “dignity and agency” of the children and young people who bore witness to the violence almost twenty years ago. The book can be purchased for a donation to the charity to fund their important work.

This week they presented the Library with a copy of the book which we will accession into our collection as a crucial record of this ongoing catastrophe. 

To receive your own copy of this important book, email [email protected] with your enquiry, affiliation if relevant, and your address. They are not producing this book for profit, but are accepting minimum donations of £25 (which includes postage and packaging) which can be made here.