Thursday, July 14, 2011

Welcome to the World, South Sudan

Something happened in the world last week that I think is truly remarkable. As economic pressures continue to increase in the west, and politicians play politics, something of great historic significance is taking place in Africa. As many people (though, not nearly enough) are aware, one of the worst humanitarian tragedies in modern history is taking place in Darfur, which is the western region of the Sudan. Influenced largely by the Muammar al-Gadaffi of Libya, the Sudanese government adopted a policy of "Arab supremacy." For several years, they have worked in cooperation with Arab armies called "Janjaweed" to kill and displace the non-Arab citizens of Darfur.

The only reason for these attacks is that these particular citizens are not Arabs. Since the violence began, nearly 3 million citizens of Darfur have been driven from their homes and have either become nomads or are else living in refugee camps in the neighboring country of Chad. Additionally, nearly half a million people have been murdered and countless women and girls have been abused and mistreated by the pillaging Janjaweed armies. Thousands of families have been left homeless and children have watched their parents butchered before their young eyes. Thankfully, some developed nations are working to attempt to end this crisis, and much international attention has been brought to it by some celebrities, most notably, George Clooney.

Although a lasting resolution has not been reached between Darfur and the government of the Sudan, there was a major development with this nation in general just a few days ago. Because of the genocide and overall tyranny exerted by the Sudanese government, the southern portion of the nation has withdrawn and formed an independent country. It took numerous civil wars and much travail, but as of last week, the Republic of South Sudan is now a nation free of Sudanese rule. This momentous event did not directly liberate the people of Darfur, but it has dealt a major blow to the corrupt system that as prolonged the intolerance and senseless brutality of a horrible government. This new nation's motto is "Justice, Liberty and Prosperity." By God's grace, they will have those as their reality, and our prayer should be that they spread like wildfire to the rest of the Sudan and surround the victims of the Darfur Conflict.

There is no way to separate the Lord from justice. According to Micah 6:8, there are three things God requires of us: justice, mercy and a walk with Him that is based in humility. We should seek to manifest these three things in all that we do, and as Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." I hope this new nation of South Sudan is a worldwide inspiration for people to capture a renewed passion for justice and freedom. Many thousands died in our great nation some 200 years ago to make justice and freedom possible here in America. May their same zeal possess our hearts today anytime we see justice and freedom threatened.

I watched a documentary recently about the Darfur Conflict, and it was heart breaking, but inspiring, all at once. It contained numerous interviews from some of the victims of this tragedy, and one particular gentleman especially stood out to me. He had finished what would be the equivalent of our high school, but because of the ongoing conflict, he was unable to go on to the University. His home village had been displaced by the Janjaweed and many of the men were either killed or were actively fighting against the Arab attack. He joined his village in the middle of the desert in a makeshift settlement and took it upon himself to start a school to teach the children of that village. He taught the children for years in a one room hut without ever making a penny, all for the sake of those children and their future. Even though there has been no end in sight to the conflict, he is sacrificing for the hope that the next generation might know something different and better.

That man's remarkable story should inspire us all. Although he was not on the front lines of the battle, he faithfully filled his role right where he was. He saw in those children something worth fighting for, and fight he did. We are living in a time unlike no other, and here in America, we are at a point where our nation's future is being determined. What happens from here on might have less to do with the decisions made by our government and more to do with what you and I do in our individual spheres of influence. What do you and I have that is worth fighting for? Let us never let it slip away. All are called to pray; some are called to fight; others are called to speak or write and teach our children. No matter what our office, let us carry it out faithfully in the service of the true King. In all that we do, let us act justly, show mercy and walk with our King humbly.

No comments:

Post a Comment