Children's drawings illustrate Darfur atrocities.

Opinions about events beyond our borders.
July 14 2005 4:48 PM

The Art of War

Children's drawings illustrate Darfur atrocities.

1_123125_123036_2112960_2121863_2122101_slideshow_launchmodule

Click here to see a slide show of Darfur children's drawings.

In February 2005, we traveled to camps along the Chad-Sudan border that are home to more than 200,000 refugees from the genocidal conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan. During interviews with refugees, we gave paper and crayons to children, so they could draw whatever they wished while we talked with their parents and caretakers.

The first drawing.
Click image to expand.
The first drawing

The first child, a 12-year-old shepherd, had never held a crayon or pencil before, so he gave the paper to his brothers, who drew, without any instruction, pictures of mounted Janjaweed shooting civilians, Antonov planes dropping bombs on civilians and their homes, and a tank firing on fleeing villagers.

Advertisement

Over the following weeks, these violent scenes were repeated in hundreds of drawings we collected from children aged 8 to 17 who had fled from many areas across Darfur. Children drew Janjaweed assaults on villages and Sudanese forces attacking from Antonov planes, MiG planes, military helicopters, and tanks. They also pictured the attacks as they had seen them in action: huts and villages burning; the shooting of men, women, and children; and the rape of women and girls.

The children's drawings construct a compelling case against the government of Sudan as the architects of the Darfur crisis and explicitly show violations of the laws of war. To hear and read the testimony of victims of atrocities is very powerful; it is even more horrifying to see such mayhem through the eyes of children, uncoached and often uneducated but clearly exposed to brutal ethnic cleansing. Click here to see a slide show of Darfur children's drawings.

Dr. Annie Sparrow, a pediatrician, and Olivier Bercault, a lawyer, are researchers for Human Rights Watch.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.