While the world is distracted by events in the middle East, first in Tunisia, then Egypt, followed by riots in Jordan, in Yemen, back to Egypt – let’s not forget the persecution of Christians in Iraq – and back to Egypt, with the history that is being made in that country, and yesterday, Algeria… there is history being made somewhere else in that part of the world.
Sudan is a country that is just south of Egypt. Most of the population in northern Sudan is Muslim. Most of the population in southern Sudan is Christian. Sudan has been involved in various conflicts since the 18th century. (You may have heard of Darfur. Well, Darfur is in the north–west region of Sudan.) In particular, since 1955, when the British left and Sudan separated from Egypt, the region has been devastated by two civil wars between the north and the south. In the south, more than 2.5 million people have been killed and more than 5 million have been displaced.
So where’s the good news? Last January, people from Southern Sudan
voted on a referendum on whether they should break away from Sudan and be independent. On January 30th, the results were in: Almost 99% of the population voted for independence! The Sudanese government has accepted this vote and the declaration of independence is expected to happen on July 9th this year. And so, who says that the only way for autonomy and independence is through war? The people of Sudan have proven (at least ‘til now), that there are other ways of achieving our goals.
This fledgling new nation is comprised of mainly Catholics and Anglicans and I don’t know for sure, but they seem to have placed their trust in God. Their new national anthem South Sudan Oyee! begins:
We praise and glorify you
For your grace upon Cush,
The anthem ends:
“So Lord bless South Sudan!”
to the complete anthem)
Can you imagine a Canadian national anthem that begins by praising and glorifying God and ends with a resounding “God bless Canada?” I can’t.
And so, maybe we have something to learn from the South Sudanese.
May our prayers be with South Sudan; they have a long, hard road ahead – as they make their way in the world: A way of justice and peace.
May the Lord bless South Sudan!