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My Sudan: A Country of Conflict
By Joseph B. H. Marona
Sudan has been in civil war and armed conflict for 44 years. Before independence in 1955, the first civil war broke out. At that time I was a teenager. Now I am an old man, at 63 years of age. I grew up and was educated and became a leader during the civil war.
Before independence in 1955, the first civil war broke out. At that time I was a teenager. Now I am an old man, at 63 years of age. I grew up and was educated and became a leader during the civil war. The civil war in Sudan has destroyed the lives of about 2.5 million people, including my own.
The civil war in Sudan has destroyed the lives of about 2.5 million people, including my own. Many people have been forced to leave their homes to find safety as refugees in neighboring countries like Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, the Central Africa Republic, Egypt, Syria, and the Middle East.
There are many in the Diaspora – the U.S.A., Canada, Australia, the U.K., Lebanon, Botswana, and West Africa as a region – while many others are internally displaced (estimates of about six million). These internally displaced peoples live in three major camps, namely: Imvepi, the Rhina camp, and the Adjumani District in Moyo. Others are found in the Masindi District, Kiryandongo and Kiyangole in the Hoima District.
We still have people living in northern Congo, despite the troubles that Congo itself is suffering. These people are looking to the church for help. Many of them are teenagers and elderly people. Many have sought shelter in the centres for displaced peoples. However, conditions in those places are very difficult.
I have extensive ministry and personal experience with these destroyed lives, because I minister to these people myself. I am educating some 200 orphans through the help of good Samaritans who support me towards this education programme. Some of the orphans have now graduated from universities, while many others are in secondary and primary schools.
Although the Sudan is rich in natural resources, there are high levels of poverty and hunger. There is a severe food shortage. The nation's arable land is littered with land mines – in Western Equatoria, for instance. Levels of malnutrition are high among children, and they are more vulnerable to disease. The Episcopal Church in the Sudan (ECS) seeks relief funds to purchase much-needed food, especially for returning families and the peoples in Western, Eastern and Central Equatoria. We need to obtain essential foods like maize, beans, potatoes, sugar, salt and biscuits.
Many people have commented that the civil strife in Darfur is the worst of its kind ever found in the history of human suffering. Young girls between the ages of 8-19 are raped in front of their parents. Married women are raped in front of their husbands. Even pregnant women are raped.
Many people have commented that the civil strife in Darfur is the worst of its kind ever found in the history of human suffering. Young girls between the ages of 8-19 are raped in front of their parents. Married women are raped in front of their husbands. Even pregnant women are raped. So many people have died in such a short period of time. Many of these people are now displaced in the nation of Chad.
The Machakos Protocol is the foundation of the final comprehensive peace agreement between the government of the Republic of Sudan (GOS) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). It lays down the principles and procedures to guide the transition period until the referendum in the south at the end of six years. It also identifies the levels and roles of government to be created under the new constitution for the interim period. The protocol also spells out the agreements reached on issues of state and religion as follows:
The people of the Sudan agree to work together to:
The church is very active in the dialogue regarding peace, and is now educating and preparing for a time of peace. The ECS has established a Peace, Justice and Reconciliation Commission that is being chaired by Bishop Daniel Deng Bul. To prepare people, since we do believe that the current peace process will lead us to peace, we have drawn on a passage from Jeremiah:
But I will heal this city and its people and restore them to health. I will show them abundant peace and security. I will make them prosperous, and I will rebuild them as they were before. I will purify them from the sins that have been committed against me, I will forgive their sins and their rebellion. Sudan will be a source of joy, honour and pride to me, and every nation in the world will fear and tremble when they hear about eh good things that I do for the people of Sudan and about the prosperity that I bring to the city or the country. (Based on Jeremiah 33:6-15)
The Most Rev. Joseph Biringi Hassan Marona is archbishop and primate of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, and bishop of the Diocese of Juba.
Interested in more information about the Episcopal Church in the Sudan?
From February 18-20, 2005, the American Friends of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (AFRECS) will hold an organizing conference at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Speakers include Enock Tombe, the interim general secretary of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, and U.S. church leaders from across the nation. A $50 registration fee covers all conference events, materials and meals as well as one year's AFRECS membership. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more info.
Hope for Sudan and the Church by Patrick Augustine (December 2004)
The World's Most Wretched Victims by Roy Nielsen (June 2004)