Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Cry for South Sudan

This past January marked the historic vote that granted Southern Sudan its independence. The country has suffered from a two decade old north-south civil war and the vote was a part of the 2005 peace deal. Despite the country's violent past, including the genocide in its Darfur region, January's vote was relatively peaceful. I can't say I am very familiar with the country's history or its politics, but I was fairly optimistic about what would become of Sudan's future. Though equipped with high levels of illiteracy, malnutrition, infant mortality and other effects of structural poverty, I thought that the newly determined independent southern state would provide a sense of closure for the citizens who have had to endure years of systemic violence.

And then there is this. Published in New York Times' contributor Nicholas D. Kristof's blog, this letter is from a South Sudanese humanitarian worker trapped amidst the massacre currently taking place:

Thursday, 16 June 2011
Dear my fellow tribesmen and women, this is a call of hope and prayers. I am stuck in the middle of the heavy shooting and bombardments at the UNMIS Camp in Kadugli. We are about 26 South Sudanese.

All lives are at risk, all are accused to be Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) supporters. We have almost no food, no water, no proper security, and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Popular Defense Forces (PDF) are planning to attack the camp and take us by force. International staff members have already evacuated, leaving us behind in a very harmful act as they did in Somalia, Rwanda and elsewhere. The United Nations head of office leader made it clear that they don’t have any capacity to ensure our security and protection. Moreover, one local U.N. staff member was killed at the main gate. The Egyptian army was unable to protect him.

This is a call of hope and solidarity, please advocate and mobilize the world so that we are released or at least our security is granted by the U.N. and the Government of Southern Sudan or the Government of National Unity. As you know we are humanitarian workers and have no affiliation to political parties, so please move the possible resources to alleviate this suffering, and please post this to all media over the globe.

I'm still figuring out the 5 W's and 1 H about what is happening now so please feel free to fill me in the comments below. From what I understand, the President of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir and his government have been pursuing an ethnic cleansing campaign in the region right above Southern Sudan- the South Kordofan state. I don't know the number of people killed in the recent escalating violence but approximately 1,500 civilians have been slain this year and over 100,000 have been displaced.

Some are saying that this may be Obama's Rwanda but I don't agree considering how troubled Sudan was before the recent uproar. I guess what frustrates me is the arbitrariness of America's decision to intervene in international crises. If you were President Obama, what would you do???

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