Friday, March 27, 2009

War or Peace?

Technically, Southern Sudan is at peace. The 21-yr civil war between North and South ended in 2005. Yet violence remains a fact of life, and this anti-aircraft gun beside a thatched hut reminds us that the globalization of arms sales has brought weapons of destruction to even the remotest places on the planet.
On March 6th the President of Sudan, Omar Bashir, was indicted by the ICC for war crimes. He retaliated immediately by evicting all major aid organizations from the Western, Northern and Eastern sectors of Sudan. Mercy Beyond Borders was not affected because we are operating in the South--but Bashir's actions show how vulnerable the displaced are throughout Sudan.
Southern Sudan itself was disrupted this month by a strike organized by former rebel soldiers, all of them disabled by war injuries. Claiming they had not been paid their pensions for many months, they blockaded the roads and stopped all traffic in and out of Southern Sudan. After ten days or so, the dispute was resolved, but not before 17 people were killed for trying to run the blockade.
So violence in Southern Sudan persists, but Mercy Beyond Borders remains committed to easing the extreme poverty of displaced women and girls there. The girls' school we are supporting, St. Bakhita's, now has 850 students. Educating these girls, with English as a common language across tribal divisions, just might tip the future of the country toward peace.... It certainly will help them to raise the standard of living for their own families in the years ahead.

No comments:

Post a Comment