Wednesday, 23 September, 2015

Bouye

Bouye is a survivor of the Genocide in Darfur who today lives in London. This photograph is taken on the balcony of his flat. We have created this portrait to share his story without revealing his identity as it is still dangerous for him to speak out against the genocidal crimes still being committed by the Sudanese Government in Darfur. Bouye is concerned about reprisals against his family members still living in Darfur, as well as for his own safety.

Bouye grew up in Fashir in Darfur. He is from the Zaghawa tribe, one of the biggest in Darfur.  He speaks Zaghawa (his mother tongue), as well as Arabic, Greek, English and French.

The Zaghawa tribe is one of the Black African tribes in Darfur that is targeted by the genocidal policies of the Sudanese Government. Bouye says that the Sudanese Government in Khartoum marginalises the Darfuri people by not providing any services or infrastructure to the region. Darfur has few schools, hospitals or roads. 

People in Darfur started a militarised movement against the Sudanese Government. Bouye supported the military rebellion groups, as a result he was arrested and tortured for six months. Eventually he was injured so badly he had to be sent to hospital. 

Bouye’s doctor in the hospital was part of the same tribe as him, the Zaghawa tribe, and once Bouye had healed the doctor helped him to escape. Bouye fled the country with the doctor's support. He travelled to Libya, then by boat across the Mediterranean to Greece, where he sought refuge. He says:

‘I was in prison and I was a victim of torture. My condition was so bad that they had to send me to hospital. The doctor in the hospital was from my tribe so he helped me to escape. He gave me this bag, with a toothbrush and some biscuits and I escaped. Since then I’ve held onto this bag.’

Several years later he decided to travel to the UK to seek more opportunities, he was smuggled to Calais and then through the Channel and was dropped off in Oxford Circus in London. Bouye now has two Masters degrees, completed in Greece and the UK.

In the foreground is Bouye’s bag which was given to him by the doctor, it is the only thing he had with him when he escaped from Darfur. Bouye says:

‘I want to say to people – the war in Darfur is still going on, and you can support Darfuris to find peace outside.

‘Today in Britain the media is free, you can click and find information, but people don’t care - it is hard to get people to be activists.'

The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) 2016 is Don't stand by which encourages us all to focus on the contemporary relevance of the Holocaust and genocide and consider our individual responsibilities not to be bystanders to hate crime and prejudice, nor to international threats of genocide today. You can use Bouye's Moving Portrait at your HMD activity to help raise awareness of the genocide taking place in Darfur today. 

Bouye's portrait was produced to include the experience of a Darfuri survivor in our series of Moving Portraits. You can download our series of Moving Portraits of Holocaust and genocide survivors here. 

HMDT would like to thank Waging Peace for their support with this project.