IDP Children Injure Peacekeeper

A UNAMID peacekeeper in West Darfur sustained a critical head injury from rocks thrown at him by children from the Hamadiya camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Camp leaders, the UN Department of Safety and Security, UNAMID, and the National Intelligence Security Services met to discuss the incident. An apology was given by camp leaders, as well as a statement that such an event would not happen again.

This incident brought me back to a previous blog discussing the “shabab” or “Darfur’s Generation X” – a growing population of angry, frustrated, and perhaps fearful youth residing in Darfur’s various refugee camps.

Yes, these individuals are acting out. However, the appropriate response is not to condone or condemn their actions. The appropriate response is to ask ourselves why they are committing such actions.

Darfur’s “Generation X”

_45311970_shock2A new political force is gaining power in Darfur. It is the “shabab” – young men and adolescents residing in refugee camps across the region.

Increasingly angry and outspoken about their uncertain fate, the generation that came of age in the camps is challenging the traditional sheiks, upending the age-old authority structure of their tribal society and complicating efforts to achieve peace.

You cannot call them a unified group with one political ideology, but they are all angry. That is the factor unifying them.

The shabab have a right to be angry. They have had their entire lives ripped out from under them, their existence is in a constant state of upheaval, and there is no guarantee that they will live to see tomorrow.

We should not call the shabab’s actions right or wrong – just simply understandable. A person cannot go through war and emerge unscathed.