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In Memoriam

Just two weeks ago, I wrote with great hope about Sudan's new vice president, Mr. John Garang. Tragically, Mr. Garang died this weekend in a helicopter crash after a trip to Uganda. I pray that my hope, and the hope of countless Sudanese, does not die with him.

I hoped the symbolism in Mr. Garang's getting elected could unite Sudan, allowing its citizens to see past petty differences to the core of their common humanity. I hoped that by doing so, a horrible genocide could be ended before even another person dies. Mr. Garang was a beacon of acceptance, diversity, and hope. It was a dream that his vice presidency could be a demonstration to the rest of the world how a nation can have differing ideologies at the forefront of its government and still provide for all of its citizens.

Tragically enough, Mr. Garang died while traveling back from Uganda, where he went to offer what help he could to end a rebel uprising and bring peace to another African nation.

The fallout from his death already looks bad. Sudanese TV originally reported his aircraft landed safely after losing contact, and now it looks like there have been riots and deaths in Khartoum. Mr. Garang was the great hope of southern Sudan and their quest for independence. Now, they must be their own hope. Their best bet will be to peaceably deal with their hero's death, instead of initiating the violence the former rebel leader never wanted to see again in his lifetime.

Things in Sudan may have just gone from bad to worse. A man who survived assassination attempts and warring factions died during peacetime. May peace be with all Sudanese, and those of us who hope for an end to all violence.

“In Memoriam”