In Dinka Bor tradition, long ebony shafts serve as walking sticks for the elderly, as scepters for newly married women and as weapons for initiates into manhood. Wooden spears are vital to Dinka cattle herders moving through alien territory. Hardwood branches, carved by Christian evangelists into crosses, are still implements of worship.
Christians from all traditions and from across the political spectrum have been pressing President Bush to try to get more United Nations peacekeeping troops on the ground in Darfur to stop the unrelenting violence there. The National Council of Churches endorsed the UN resolution in August that called for sending UN troops.
Following the signing in Nigeria of a peace agreement between Sudan’s government and Darfur’s biggest rebel group, Africa’s largest grouping of churches urged that UN peacekeepers step in for duties now carried out by African Union (AU) troops.
Church and political leaders are urging Sudanese to stay on the peace path after the death in a helicopter crash of John Garang de Mabior, the guerrilla leader who steered the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement into a government of national unity with the dominant Arab-Islamic government of Sudan after 21 years of civil war.
When the government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army signed a peace accord and power-sharing arrangement on New Year’s Eve at Lake Naivasha, Kenya, South African President Thabo Mbeki, who witnessed the signing, declared, “Africa begins the year 2005 on a very good footing.”
The U.S. does little and the rest of the world does less
Oct 19, 2004
What happened to the United Nations?” asked Haruun Ruun, executive secretary of the New Sudan Council of Churches. “The killings and rapes are still happening in Darfur.” Ruun was in New York last month to press the UN to impose sanctions on the Sudan government, which has implicitly backed the marauding Arab militias that have terrorized the black population in western Sudan.
Delegates of the Sudan Ecumenical Forum (SEF) from Africa, Europe and North America have hailed recent peace protocols signed between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and the government of Sudan, but they would like to see a final agreement clinched.