The True Life Hunger Games Happening in Darfur

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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