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mia farrow

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March 2, 2010

Goz Beida, meeting friends

I first met Abdullah Idriss Zaid in 2006 as he lay in the tiny Goz Beida medical center. His eyes had been cut out by janjaweed knives. I could do nothing but hold his hand. On my next visit to Chad, I found Abdullah in a nearby camp for displaced persons. He told me he was 27 years old. He had been a farmer and was tending his fields when the janjaweed arrived on horseback. Hc ran as fast as he could but they caught him, held him down and cut out his eyes. Hewas sure his attackers were not Chadians. He had never seen them before. He believes they came from Sudan. The Darfur border is about 35 miles from here. He told me he lives in fear that they will return.

Hell is a blind man in a lawless land waiting for his attackers to return.

Today Goz Beida is quiet. Peaceful. I asked Abdullah if he feels safe now. He said, " I feel safe only because Minurcat is here". He was referring to the United Nations peacekeeping force which has a base nearby. The soldiers at this base are Irish, Russian and Finnish. Abdullah added, "if Minurcat leaves they must take me with them. The Janjaweed will return and they will kill me."

He doesn't know yet that Chadian President Deby has decided to oust the international peacekeepers before the end of April.

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