I watched the documentary Darfur Now over the weekend and it left an indelible impression on me. I greatly admire George Clooney for raising his voice against the ongoing crisis in Darfur. In 2006, Clooney and his journalist father smuggled cameras into the refugee camps in Darfur to film this documentary.

I went online to gather more information about the Darfur genocide and ways to help stop it. During my research, I found an interesting connection to fashion. I learned from an article that fashion conglomerate Louis Vuitton has filed a lawsuit against a student artist for copyright infringement over her Simple Living campaign, a fundraiser for the victims of Darfur.

Nadia Plesner has designed posters and t-shirts dressing up a Darfur victim with a chihuahua and a Louis Vuitton inspired bag. The drawings are a mockery of the Paris Hilton-esque images that flood the media today. The artist said that the media has a distorted way of prioritizing between big and small world news, so she decided to use a recognizable image to bring attention to the tragedies in Darfur. All proceeds from the sale of the items go to the Divest for Darfur organisation.

Darfur- a region in the west of Sudan-home to 6 million Muslims of African descent has long been ruled by  fundamentalist Islamic leaders who believe that only those born of Arab descent are “pure Muslims”. People from this region are being systematically displaced and murdered by the Janjaweed- a government supported militia recruited from local Arab tribes. The genocide in Darfur has clamied 400,000 lives and displaced over 2,500,000 people since 2003. The U.N. calls the genocide in Sudan today’s greatest humanatarian crisis.

I think that Louis Vuitton is acting a bit too harsh considering that the images are being used for a good cause. I am firmly against copyright infringements and support L.V’s right to protect its image and designs but I feel that this particular case calls for some concession.

What do you think?