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USF Libraries Exhibits

Criticism of the Drawings

Justice and Equality Movemnet (JEM) was one of the rebel groups in Darfur fighting the Sudanese government. JEM had been successful in attacking major Sudanese government installations to stop attacks on unarmed civilians. 

After Waging Peace, the British non-governmental organization offering humanitarian aid, wrote a report implicating Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in the recruiting of children from refugee camps to join JEM as soldiers, JEM wrote a letter that was critical of Waging Peace and the drawings that the NGO had collected.

In the letter, Abdullahi Osman El-Tom, a senior member of JEMS’s strategic planning team challenges authenticity of most of these drawing. He argues that armored tanks depicted in most of the drawings as having been used to attack and destroy villages is innacurate as armored tanks were rarely used in the Darfur war. Tanks tended to only be stationed around major towns because they were slow compared to the rapid attacks that characterized the war in Darfur. He also questions the use of circular homes in the drawings although most homes in Darfur are square or rectangular. He does not believe the use of straight lines, perfect 90-degree angles and symmetrical positioning of items in the drawings was the work children from rural Darfur who have little schooling and access to geometric tools. He also says that some names inscribed in the drawings were Christian names yet Darfur was predominantly Muslim.  El-Tom is convinced that Waging Peace used children from Darfur for propaganda and fundraising purposes contrary to the needs and aspirations of the Darfuri people and provides an example of a child who was burned during the Darfur conflict and whom Waging Peace attended to.