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.


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.


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.


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.