Darfur exhibit opens in Houston

April 25, 2008 6:33:04 PM PDT
Millions of people have been killed after 20 years of unrest, and some say it's ethnic cleansing. It's going on right now in Darfur. That's half a world away in the African nation of Sudan. A new one-of-a-kind museum exhibit is here in Houston to show the pain and horrible conditions that are happening in Darfur.

The exhibit was put together here in Houston by the Holocaust Museum. The idea is to call attention to and create a lasting image of a modern day Holocaust, the mass killings and displacement of millions of people in Darfur.

The photographs are disturbing, moving, and yet in some cases, beautiful and vibrant. Each of them is a snapshot of a conflict that has killed millions. Each of them is on display for the first time anywhere here in Houston.

"The exhibit is the work of eight photojournalists who have all been in the region in Sudan and Darfur over the last five years," said Marci Dallas with the Holocaust Museum of Houston.

The photographs come from a book that illustrates the struggle in Africa's largest nation. It's western region is Darfur, the size of Texas.

"The photojournalist Colin Finley took this photograph," said Dallas of one of the images.

The photograph is demonstrative of the pain in Darfur. It is a 38-year-old woman who crawled across the desert from her burned village to find help at a refugee camp.

"If you see the individual people in the photographs, you can see that it's not just numbers of people, mass numbers of people," said Dallas. "It's that these atrocities are happening to individual human beings."

While some of the images are so hard to view, the Holocaust Museum has put together the display in the hopes that it, in a small way, may affect change.

"In our mission statement, we say that we teach the dangers of hatred, prejudice, and apathy, using the lessons of the Holocaust in contemporary genocide," said Dallas.

And as there was with the Holocaust some 60 years ago, there is a lesson to learn here, within the pictures, within the eyes of the young and the abandoned.

"Because these genocides just happen out of nowhere," said Dallas. "They don't just happen by chance."

The exhibit is here until August 17. It then leaves for its first travelling exhibition, which is at a school in New Jersey.

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