Sunday, January 9, 2011

Can we learn to be peaceful?

During December, while we were staying in the town of Rumbek in Southern Sudan, the compound near us was raided by men with AK-47s looking for (and getting) cash from the ex-patriates living there.  This was, I’m told, the fifth such armed robbery in the neighborhood over the past month.  Anxiety fills the air regarding the January Referendum . Some Southerners are already moving their women and children down to Kenya’s Kakuma Ref camp again for safety. NGO’s and the UN are mobilizing for the influx of half a million Southerners who’ve been living near Khartoum for many years. 

President Bashir has declared that all Southerners will be instantly unwelcome if the vote results in secession, as expected. So throughout the South there is significant unrest mixed with hope for an independent future. Sadly, violence remains the norm in Sudan: wife-beating, cattle-raiding, family feuding, drunken shootings, ethnic rivalries, school riots.  The Bishop of Rumbek, Cesar Mazzolari, pulled most of his personnel out of the town of Marial Lou—where MBB had a thriving micro-enterprise project with a group of women—after rioters attacked the Principal (a nun) of the local school over alleged injustices regarding teacher salaries and student resources. 

Violence has become the default response to any problem, real or perceived. It’s understandable in view of decades of war, but tragic nonetheless.  The human heart needs to be taught how to wage peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment