by Tony Magliano
The new independence day for the nation is July 9 – the nation of the Republic of South Sudan that is.
Both celebration and sorrow are in order. Celebration – because after more than two decades of brutal fighting with the Republic of Sudan, the independent Republic of South Sudan is being born as the world’s newest nation. Sorrow – because much of the oppression heaped upon it from the Republic of Sudan continues in the form of an economic blockade and its support to Southern Sudanese militias who raise great havoc.
Additionally, according to the Genocide Project, the Republic of Sudan has attacked the disputed border areas of Abyei and South Kordofan – killing many innocent civilians and displacing over 70,000 very poor human beings.
A Maryknoll priest, Father Tom Tiscornia, ministering in Southern Sudan, e-mailed me saying that the northern Republic of Sudan is also bombing the Nuba mountain region. He wrote, “Things are BAD in the Nuba Mountains. One of my former students was taken from his house and murdered by the northern soldiers because he was Nuba. He had just gotten married.”
Furthermore, the chaotic situation launched by the northern Republic of Sudan, has created a thick enough smoke-screen for it to also attack its war-torn western section of Darfur.
While all these atrocities committed by the government of Sudan are reprehensible in themselves, they also seriously threaten the survival of the government of South Sudan. As one of the world’s poorest regions, the newly emerging Republic of South Sudan has enough growing pains to contend with. It certainly doesn’t need more armed aggression on its borders.
In the midst of all this suffering, there are life-saving ways you and I can make a difference. Go to The Project to End Genocide and Crimes against Humanity at www.enoughproject.org and click “Sudan now”, and then click “take action.” There you will find five easy ways to politically advocate on behalf of the multitudes suffering grave injustice in both the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan.
Then please make a donation to Catholic Relief Services, Donor Services, P.O. box 17090, Baltimore, Md. 21203. And kindly earmark your check “For South Sudan.” Or you can make an online donation to Solidarity with South Sudan – a consortium of 170 religious congregations dedicated to training teachers, nurses and pastoral personnel throughout South Sudan. Simply go to www.solidarityssudan.org and click “how you can help” then click “make a donation.”
In their pastoral statement “A Call to Solidarity with Africa” the U.S. Catholic bishops wrote, “… The United States has a clear moral duty to adopt policies and support programs that encourage integral development and long-term economic growth for the poorest countries, with particular attention to sub-Saharan Africa. This is not just a policy option; it is a moral obligation. …
“Our voices can join with others to encourage a sustained, just, and comprehensive engagement of the world’s vast resources to generate lasting solutions that respect the full, human dignity of our brother s and sisters in the poorest countries of Africa.”
Near the end of her life, former slave and native of Sudan, Saint Josephine Bakhita, experiencing the terrible memories of her slavery, said to her nurse, “Please, loosen the chains … they are heavy!” Through the powerful intercession of Saint Bakhita, may we be inspired to tirelessly work to “loosen the chains” of all the suffering people of both Sudans.
Tony Magliano is a columnist whose work appears in diocesan papers throughout the United States. If your diocesan paper does not carry his column, we encourage you to call them and request that they do.