Conversation can help prevent Sudan conflict

By Kelsey Kastrava
November 8, 2010

What would you do if you had the chance to prevent a genocide from happening? The chance is right now to call attention to the crisis in Sudan.

A country plagued by civil war for most of its history since it obtained its independence in 1958, Sudan faces a referendum in which the south will vote whether or not to secede from the north and become its own country. Jan. 9, 2011 is the election that could decide the ultimate fate of the entire continent of Africa.

The ground rules of the referendum include a census, which will clearly divvy up the political power and wealth between the two regions if in fact the south chooses to secede. Either way the result is likely to cause massive turmoil that unfortunately is nothing new to the Sudanese people.

Divided into two regions, north and south, Sudan’s battleground is over oil. Southern Sudan occupies the land where the oil is but the north controls the wealth, political power and the way to export the oil. Since the south is landlocked, they have no way of exporting the oil through their southern borders and are forced to go through the north. Considering it’s the north that profits from this precious commodity, the south is left an extremely poor region in Africa. If it were at peace, Sudan could feed all of Africa because it is so fertile.

If in fact the south does vote to break away, a potential mass slaughter may take place. This potential genocide could surpass the Rwandan genocide, which murdered 800,000 people in 100 days in 1994.

In addition to the slaying of an entire country, the turmoil in neighboring regions like Darfur and Congo are likely to be affected. Millions of people inside and outside of Sudan are displaced and a similar number of people continue to seek refuge.

Are you wondering how you can possibly do anything to stop this from happening? Think again.

The power of prayer, knowledge and communication can help save this country from a massacre. Get involved by briefing yourself on the situation and joining the Catholic Relief Services Sudan working group on campus.

In years to come when our children study the Holocaust and the genocide in Rwanda, do you want Sudan to be included in that textbook of heinous history? If you knew your voice mattered in this world of injustice, would you speak up?

Loquitur knows your voice matters. By noticing what may be about to happen in Sudan and bringing awareness to your roommate, parent or even your congressperson, you are making the world aware. You are just one person in this world, but it means something to someone who is voiceless in a world without freedoms.

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Kelsey Kastrava

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