Waging Peace Against Darfur's Misery

Many voices have been raised over the misery and murder that is Darfur. A lot of those voices are famous. None of them - so far - have been wholly effective. The misery - and what's being called a genocide - continue, CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reports.

Lately, an aid worker who works in the refugee camps had an idea that hadn't been tried before. What about letting the hundreds of thousands of displaced people speak for themselves?

What about the simple idea of getting them to sign a petition?

The response was overwhelming: Testimonials of horror from about 60,000 people.

"Some are saying they killed my husband, they killed my sons," said the aid worker, who CBS News was asked only to identify as "Anna." "Others would say, 'we were raped; our villages were attacked.'"

"Anna" doesn't want her identity known so that she can continue to work in the camps. She was shocked when a large box containing the petition arrived.

"As soon as I opened it up, there was this incredible smell of camp dust and firewood," she said. "I was in shock, so I knew immediately where it came from."

It was a box ... of misery.

"Yeah, full of textbooks with the petitions of these people," she said.

And full of graphic drawings by children of the horror being carried out by the Janjaweed militias.

Killings, burning of villages, rape of women. It shows the Janjaweed pursuing the women, killing the men … the attacks and the bombs.

To keep its side of the bargain, the Waging Peace group delivered an abstract of the petition to the British Prime Minister's office at 10 Downing Street.

It's also addressed to another famous leader's residence … The White House.

The Letter to President Bush reads: "I sincerely request from all presidents and world leaders, yourself in particular as President of America, to accelerate this process so agony is stopped in Darfur and peace is restored."

The petition gives a voice to the previously voiceless. But even its organizers say, there's no guarantee it will be heard.

  • Mark Phillips

    Mark Phillips is CBS News senior foreign correspondent, based in London.