Fragments of Darfur.
Photographs by Nektarios Markogiannis.
Dewi Lewis, 2013. 96 pp., 63 duotone illustrations, 8¼x11".
The war in Darfur, which has been controversially termed as ‘genocide’, is still ongoing, alongside a tardy peace negotiation process which began back in 2010. Around 300,000 people are estimated to have died from the combined effects of war, hunger and disease.
Darfur is inhabited by tribes of both African and Arab lineage. Both groups had co-existed for centuries, however, as a result of the increasing desertification of the region in the 1970s and 1980s, the nomadic Arab tribes began to head south in search of water and grazing land. They soon arrived at the settle-ments of the Africans. Skirmishes followed, though the fighting was small in scale and ended in 1994.
The conflict resumed in 2003 when African rebel groups, believing their communities to be neglected and marginalised, came together under the banner of the Darfur Liberation Front and initiated attacks on government locations. The Sudan government responded with major land and air assaults. By the summer of 2003 the infamous Janjaweed had become involved and by Spring 2004 they had killed several thousand non-Arabs and an estimated million more had been driven from their homes. Yet it was not until more than 100,000 refugees, pursued by Janjaweed militia, escaped to neighbouring Chad that the conflict captured the attention of an international audience.