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Drawings of destruction

At <a href="http://hrw.org/">Human Rights Watch</a>, refugee children aged eight to 15 paint vivid scenes from the conflict in Darfur.
 
 
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In its gutwrenchingly sad web exhibit " Darfur Drawn,” nonprofit activist group Human Rights Watch features artwork by refugee children forced from their homes in Darfur.

The kids’ drawings -- and accompanying descriptions -- are simple, vivid portrayals of destruction and violence: rape, murder, bombings, shootings, fire.

HRW researchers obtained the drawings when, on mission along the Chad/Darfur border, Dr. Annie Sparrow and Olivier Bercault gave notebooks and crayons to the children of parents they were interviewing. Without instruction, the kids began drawing remembered scenes from their own lives in Darfur -- “the attacks by the Janjaweed, the bombings by Sudanese government forces, the shootings, the burning of entire villages, and the flight to Chad.”

The resulting images are moving and -- not surprisingly -- disturbing. In one picture by “Doa, age 11 or 12,” a soldier pulls a woman by the hand to be raped; the victim holds a cell phone at her ear because “she wants to call the agencies for help.”

“Taha, age 13 or 14,” remembers surviving the chaos that inspired her depiction of bombs falling from a hovering helicopter:

In the afternoon we returned from school and saw the planes. We were all looking, not imagining about bombing. Then they began the bombing. The first bomb [landed] in our garden, then four bombs at once in the garden. The bombs killed six people, including a young boy, a boy carried by his mother, and a girl. In another place in the garden a women was carrying her baby son -- she was killed, not him. Now my nights are hard because I feel frightened. We became homeless. I cannot forget the bad images of the burning houses and fleeing at night because our village was burned.

More information about the Sudanese government’s genocidal “ethnic cleansing” in Darfur -- which has already claimed an estimated 100,000 lives at least -- is here .

Laura Barcella is an Associate Editor at AlterNet.