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August 27, 2007

Before The World Knew


Those who are counting say more than 200,000 people have died in Darfur since 2003. Mohamed Yahya, who was born in Darfur and lost 21 family members from his village, begins his count many years before.

In 1993, Mohamed received a letter from his mother telling him that their village had been destroyed, his grandparents had been burned alive in their home, relatives and neighbors had been shot and raped and that they were on the run, but didn't know where to go. It was one of the first attacks by the Sudanese government's Arab militia, the Janjaweed, on a village in Darfur.

At the time, Mohamed was living and studying in Cairo. Frantic for information, and wanting to spread the word about what was happening in Sudan, Mohamed banded together with other young men from Darfur - but no one would listen to them. For six years Mohamed struggled to get the world's attention, but when the international community finally began to ask questions, the government of Sudan tried to kill him.

Fifteen years later, Mohamed has received asylum in the United States, and continues to speak out about the situation in Darfur. It wasn't until last year that he discovered his mother was still alive. This summer they were reunited in Egypt. His father is still missing. 


For many children across the U.S., today is the first day of school. These first days of the new academic year can be tough no matter the age of the child. But take heart - students may be about to come face-to-face with a teacher who'll change their lives. That's what happened to Leslie Rudd. Leslie says her life was changed by a theater teacher she met in first grade, and a role in a play that she reluctantly accepted. 


Sudan by Solace for the album The Gathering Season; Sudan by Bobo Stenson, Anders Jormin & Paul Motian for the album Goodbye; Linus & Lucy by Vince Guaraldi Trio for the album A Charlie Brown Christmas (Remastered)

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