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What’s the Deal with the Peace Deal?

Ever since a tentative peace agreement was signed last week regarding Darfur, people have asked me what I think about it, what it means, and whether or not I’m done writing about Darfur.

The last question is the easiest to answer: No.

As Jonah Fisher of the BBC puts it, “the short time since the deal in Abuja have shown the size of the challenge ahead.” Exactly.

Genocides don’t happen overnight, and neither does peace. Just as acts of genocide occurring over a period of time combine to form a ghastly ethnic cleansing, so the peace process takes months and years or rebuilding, forgiving, and moving on.

Look at Germany in the 1940’s or South Africa a few decades ago. In fact, look at them today. The scars of atrocity are still upon the land, the culture, the social fabric and the hearts of the victims. Understanding is a slow, but necessary, process. It can’t be microwaved for our convenience.

But, because the process of recovery is long and hard, one can only hope it will be permanent. Because it doesn’t appear out of the air like a magic trick, I hope it won’t disappear out of the air just as quickly. The baby steps of this process are fragile, and the support of the UN, the US, the UK and other authority-having entities are needed to parent the new day in Darfur.

Parts of the deal, like conscription of rebel troops, peacekeeping forces, and representation are only tangible manifestations of the deal. Other aspects, like forgiveness, justice, and healing take longer and aren’t as glamorous or measurable.

Here’s to hoping. Here’s to hoping that the marathon that is restoration happens as needed with the free world cheering on, offering a cup of cold water at mile 18. Here’s hoping for equality and democracy to be full grown out of the embryo of a peace deal. Here’s hoping that this never happens again.

Here’s hoping that Darfur Mondays become irrele

“What’s the Deal with the Peace Deal?”

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