The world outside our borders can be harsh and cruel.
Consider Nasir, a 14-year-old refugee from Sudan in Africa.
Nasir's parents are dead. He lives in a tree with his brother Mohammad. They are living off rainwater and sparse vegetation in one of the harshest landscapes on Earth. According to BBC News, which featured Nasir in one of its documentaries on the human rights crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan, the two boys escaped their homes as militant groups ran rampant through their country. The brothers lost their parents, uncles and siblings in the attacks.
For about three years, Arab Janjaweed militiamen have been systematically slaughtering natives in Darfur.
The Sudanese government backs this campaign, apparently in hopes of clearing the land for Islamic populations. About 180,000 people are dead, and 2 million are displaced and on the run.
Every day, children our age lose their parents, family, homes, pets and friends in Darfur.
Ninety percent of these refugees are women and children, according to the Web project SaveDarfur.com, which has been tracking the violence for several years.
Sudan's government does not want the world to witness atrocities in Darfur, and reporters are no longer allowed in the region. Many reporters have managed to cross the border into Darfur under the protection of rebel caravans. They bring back tales and pictures of burning and bullet-torn bodies, orphaned children and ashes in the sand - all that is left of countless Sudanese villages.
After repeated documentation of the ongoing genocide in Darfur, why is nothing happening? Why hasn't the world and our government stepped in?
Here's why: We don't want to impose on Sudan President Umar Hasan al-Bashir. Mr. al-Bashir might have connections to Osama bin Laden, and our president doesn't want to step on any toes in hopes that perhaps Mr. al-Bashir will reveal Mr. bin Laden's location, the BBC reported.
In our efforts to befriend Mr. al-Bashir, the U.S. has ignored the Darfur crisis.
It's time for the United States to step up to help these innocent people, not for our own self-interest, but because, as the self-declared world superpower, it is our duty to do so.
In the next month, 7,000 innocent parents and children will be slain in Darfur, according to the BBC.
You can help in the effort to prevent this. Tell your friends about the crisis. Tell your congregation, your parents. Spread the word. We, as Americans, must show our government that we care about the world around us.
Maple Dynan, 17, is a senior at Lakeside High School.