The True Life Hunger Games Happening in Darfur

I can’t speak for you, but for me I can definitely say I know more people who have seen The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, then those who haven’t.

The second installment put us at the edge of our seats the entire film. Why? Because there was so much intensity and emotions unfolding before our very eyes, and we really feel for these characters. We idolize Katiness, and hold back tears as she watches society slowly falling apart and government destroying lives of the innocence.

You’re on the edge of your seat because it feels SO REAL! Well, it’s because this is very real.

The author of these books, Suzanne Collins, originally came up with this story after flipping through the channels and watching the news covering the invasion in Iraq, and then every household’s secret favorite, reality television.  She has said that both “began to blur in this very unsettling way”.

Every moment in Catching Fire, from start to finish made me think of a society currently experiencing this, and has been so for years, that probably 1 out of 4 people don’t even know about.

There’s a country going through a genocide. Genocide! Yet, the media isn’t interested to show this on the news.

Since 2003, Darfur has been facing heartbreaking violence. Darfur is a region located in Sudan, which is the largest country in Africa. It’s been TEN YEARS since civilians have been living in fear!

Darfur’s populations once was 6 million people. Since the genocide began, nearly 3 million have been displaced and forced to leave their homes, and over 500,000 innocent lives have been taken and killed.

The definition of genocide is “The systematic and widespread extermination or attempted extermination of an entire nation, racial, religious, or ethnic group”.

In Darfur millions of people are being murdered, raped, and watching hundreds upon hundreds of their villages burned down.

Catching Fire begins where the previous film leaves off. After Katiness and Peeta win the Hunger Games, more and more citizens are slowly finding strength to make a change, coming closer to starting a revolution.

We begin watching people be beat and killed in the film. We watch Katiness visit various Districts, and seeing them falling apart and completely destroyed by the government, because they tried to challenge government dictatorship.

After two rebel groups in Darfur, known as the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) found the courage to speak up and try to change the way the government was neglecting them in 2003, the Sudanese government made sure to destroy any possibility of revolution.

The government’s campaign against this was to “get the fish by draining the sea”.

The government has since been supplying weapons to the Janjaweed, an Arab tribe militia, to hunt down those who maybe “threats” even if they didn’t want to start a revolution. Those simply in the same ethnic group as the rebels are viewed as enemies who must be destroyed.

In the Hunger Games competition, we’re seeing randomly selected civilians be chosen from each District and fight each other in order to survive. Not only must they do their all to make sure they don’t get hunted down, they also are in constant turmoil fighting against harsh weather conditions, wild animals, and suffering from depression of memories they’re haunted by from watching  innocent people die.

The way the Janjaweed help “protect” the government is by destroying villages and leaving people to run and try to find survival without any shelter. Before houses are completely under fire, the Janjaweed steal as much as they can from the homes of the victims.

Thousands upon thousands have no roof over their head. In fact, more than 250,000 refugees are hiding out in Chad and the Central African Republic.

The militia are known for mass rapings and abductions of men, women and children also. So, besides trying to run and hide from the militia, they’re faced with that much more of a challenge.

If that isn’t enough, a huge portion of civilians killed died after suffering from disease and starvation.

In Catching Fire, the Hunger Games is a televised event that everyone enjoys watching and the cameras and minds behind it use the show as possible propaganda, as well as creating their own “truths” and hiding details of what is really going on behind closed doors.

The audience doesn’t see everything. The broadcast is there to trick them and gain their support for government decisions.

The media in the US hasn’t made strong enough efforts to share Darfur’s stories. But don’t worry, you can turn the television on and flip through multiple channels with breaking news stories about which celebrity was voted the worst to ask for an autograph from.

There’s something immensely wrong about this.

Everyone knows when Miley Cyrus goes to an award show and does or doesn’t twerk. Yet, you have to do your own research to find news on a genocide.

The only times I do see anything about Darfur is when George Clooney speaks about it. Don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t love George? He’s amazing and is a hero for trying to fight and help this war.

The issue here is that the news is only reporting this because the headline will read “Mr. Clooney Upset About Darfur”, missing the major crisis and importance of his message.

Listen, I’m not trying to add any shock value for a newsworthy article. I just want to inform people that these conflicts are currently unfolding.

It’s easy to watch in a film and want the protagonist try and make a difference, but you yourself need to stay informed. You yourself can be a hero and help take a stand and make that change.

To follow news about Darfur and learn how to donate money to civilians visit

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About the author

Jade Mason

  • After Life

    I have quite a few thoughts on it but I’ll try to keep it relatively short.

    Especially in the US, with myself included, people have a nasty habit of hearing about something tragic, and then going, “oh that’s horrible” and then moving on. Not only failing to research more on the situation, but ultimately taking no real action. People have become so self-absorbed that even the most trivial aspects of their lives (myself included though) take precedence over the heinous atrocities that others are suffering on the other side of the world.

    I’ve made a conscious effort within myself to correct the way I think and undo the intended or unintended programming i received just by growing up in the US.

    One thing that scares me, and I am noticing this more and more, is that many people understand on some level that the ways of old simply aren’t getting the job done, the world is not in a great place right now. While being able to sense that is a start, a lot of those people are adopting philosophies where they just want to smile at everyone, and think happy thoughts, and get their toes wet with some form of spiritualism. They preach peace and love, but they don’t actually want to clean up any of the muck in this world, because they only want to focus on “positive” things. For me, I know deep down this is not close to enough, but in society these happy people are a delight for most to be around and western culture is so good to them that they think they must be doing things right.

    What’s that famous quote? “Evil prevails when good men (and women of course!) do nothing”

    I myself haven’t done much, but i’m always trying to figure out how best to contribute in healing this planet.

  • Thanks for such a great comment! I love how honest you have been.

    I’ve had the same exact thoughts! You were on the dot with everything. I find it’s very important to stay positive. No matter what the situation is, if you let it sit in your mind, there will always be more negatives then positives. But you need to maintain the harmony to keep going.

    Although, I’m the same way as you. It could be a bit irritating when we come across those people who choose to ignore the facts because they don’t want their peaceful bubble popped.

    The thing is, is that it doesn’t! You can still be a happy person and informed. You should use your positive energy towards the good and help others needing to be touched too.

    It’s complicated to always stay informed with what’s going on when you have to do your own Google search since it’s not “hot” topics in our country’s news. Some good new programs are BBC News, and PBS NewsHour.

    There’s always more we wish we can do, but what’s important is that you KNOW about situations and you WANT to do more. You’re already ahead of the game 😉 Just keep pushing!

  • After Life

    Thank you for the response!

    I also feel like I am ahead of the game, but I want to help others get ahead of the game too. I’ve just noticed through my experiences that the people in the peaceful bubble (my definition for that bubble includes a great many people) are much harder to convince to consider alternative philosophies in life, because there philosophies and the bubble it creates makes them feel so at “peace”, the type of peace you can feel when you neglect the ugly aspects of life, but not the peace you feel when you are comfortable accepting the ugly aspects and changing them. It’s a major drag to me because those people in their bubble can still create a lot of warm and positive energy, but they don’t seem concerned with channeling it towards those who could really be helped with it.

    When I converse with people I often talk about the many “problems” I’ve identified in the world/society. To many it can be a drag but to me, I love it, I like looking at things and figuring out how to improve them, it is a great challenge and I love to be challenged. I don’t let it put me in a negative place, but instead use it as motivation. But because it can be a drag to others, I find that I have to be much more conscientious about who I can discuss it with.

    It’s pretty scary to think that genocide is taking place and so much of the “civilized” world is so apathetic to it.

    Anyway I don’t want to be a major downer here, just wanted to share some of the thoughts that roll around in my head. 🙂