A club for youth to exchange ideas on peace, to be established in all schools of secondary and above levels in Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region, was launched this weekend, the African Union-United Nations joint peacekeeping operation there (UNAMID) said today.
Over 100 new members attended the opening of the first UNAMID Peace Club, sponsored by UNAMID’s Community Outreach Unit, at the Model Secondary School for Girls in El Fasher – the headquarters city for the mission.
While skeptics might characterize this step as “fluffy” — and there’s no expectation that a “peace club” will end the violence in Darfur — the reality is that thousands of children have now grown up in sprawling displaced persons camps, relying on international humanitarian aid and unable to venture far out of the camps. And as the tumultuous case of the Kalma camp demonstrates, radicalism thrives where disillusioned and displaced young people have been clustered for years. So rather than nurse resentment, Darfuris now have an opportunity to talk about peace in an open way. It won’t quell the very real dangers that a reconstituted Darfuri society will face, but at least it’s a start.
And even though the club has been organized by UNAMID, it seems to me a little self-indulgent that the first meetings featured a quiz game “in which the students showed off their knowledge of UNAMID and its activities in Darfur.”
(image from flickr user Samuel Stroube under a Creative Commons license)