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Darfur: Is Unity the Answer?

In hopes of raising awareness about the reality of genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, Sam writes every Monday about a key issue in an attempt to stop the atrocity. Doing so may not bring about a wave of change, but it is a small ripple that represents the tide that needs turning.

Is unity the answer? I suppose it depends upon what the question is. Nearly ten days ago, a new Vice President of Sudan was installed in the war-torn country. What is so interesting is that the man chosen for the post was a former rebel leader, one who fought for the south against the Khartoum regime who sought to impose Islamic law throughout the country. Some 2 million people died in the fighting that began in 1983, but the south is still autonomous to the Muslim law applied in the rest of the country, including that a Muslim be president.
John Garang’s installation as first vice president also came with legislative reform granting more freedoms to the Sudanese. Garang, a Christian from the south of Sudan, had not been to Khartoum in some 22 years. (Sort of a political Ray Charles returning to Atlanta to receive an award where he once was banned from performing)

There are several seeds of hope sown here, particularly in terms of an end to the genocide in Darfur. It is encouraging to see a man with religious and political differences occupy the second highest seat in the government (complete with veto power). It is good to see a person in charge who understands the horror of war, the noble cause of independence, the disadvantages of religious rule, and the beauty of reconciliation. Kofi Annan said, “The international community must work together to preserve and nourish this tender plant, so that it grows into a sturdy tree of peace, prosperity and freedom for all the people of Sudan.”

This is a start. It will be inspiring for the whole world to watch a nation triumph with diversity in thought, religion, and politics at the helm of their government. It will be a relief for those in Darfur to witness those who are most able to stop the genocide do so quickly and safely. It will be heaven on earth to see forgiveness for past ideologies and actions personified in a unified effort to stop one of the worst atrocities of our lifetimes. And it will be a happy day for all to see an African government free of sanction and corruption because those in power sought to serve the people, their diverse, starving, needy people, instead of self-interest.

It has been said that disunity is the greatest heresy. With that in mind, I pray on behalf of all Sudanese, particularly those marooned in Darfur, that the Sudanese government can work together as a unified whole. Because when the political machines that be are well oiled with the grease of unity and action, the results are exemplary. Unity alone cannot be enough. Unity producing action brings about the greatest results.

I continue to encourage my readers to seek out news about Sudan on their own. A new poll shows the obvious: Iraq and celebrities get more airtime on American news. If you want to be a responsible world citizen, you will have to dig for news about Sudan. See previous Monday posts for links to such information.

“Darfur: Is Unity the Answer?”