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African Famine 2017-

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African Famine 2017-

Unread postby onlooker » Mon 20 Nov 2017, 02:46:59

Thought I would start a separate thread re this ongoing humanitarian crisis in MENA. I think it deserves it's own thread
Moroccan food stampede
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Re: African Famine 2017-

Unread postby Tanada » Mon 20 Nov 2017, 13:42:03

Three years ago, Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) flew us from Uganda onto a dirt landing strip in Yei South Sudan, a wind-blown village bravely holding onto life. For four days, with 90 chiefs, elders, and government ministers, we endeavored to broker a peace. These weren’t enemies because of religion; instead, they were fighting and killing each other over cattle dowries. In a Dispatch then, I outlined the feud going on among the tribes.

Recently, I landed with Aiah Fouday-Khanenje, head of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa, in Juba, capital of this newest of nations, South Sudan. Since its 2011 independence, warring factions within the government has left thousands dead and exasperated food shortages. Five years after independence it has what it wanted: nationhood. But it also got what it didn’t want: civil war.

At home in Canada, a friend winced when he heard of the places I visit. He asked, “How can you do it?”

I heard myself say, “I love being there.” There are more convenient and comfortable places to visit; yet it is here, in a county hanging on by its fingernails, that one experiences the joy of faith. The opportunity to make a difference sounds its call.
A Great African Nation

As a country, before its separation into the north and south, Sudan was Africa’s largest. It was critical to the spread of the Christian message. One of the largest missionary agencies in the world, SIM, had its name by way of this country: Sudan Interior Mission. Catastrophe after calamity, this area and its people are still at the forefront of the church. What they do and become matters, and this is made more urgent by the steady crawl southward of Islamic influence.

Historically, Sudan has had a natural, ethnic, and language north/south division. The north is mainly Arab and Muslim. The southern region is more Christian (although many are quite nominal). The drive of the south to separate was accelerated by abuse and persecution. Being both non-Arab and Christian only added to the religious and ethnic hatred by the dominant groups in the north.

Prior to their formal separation in 2011 of the north and south, two million people died and four million were displaced. Pastors were routinely killed. Churches, schools, mission stations, and hospitals were bombed and burned. Even so, in 30 years, the Christian population jumped from one and half million to 11 million.
Constant Crisis

One year before the 2011 separation of the north from the south, in a one-year period, 2.035 billion U.S. dollars was given to Sudan by ten donor countries. Its dependence on aid at all levels has created enormous dependency. This is not a criticism, but it is important to what Christians see, as we pray today and plan for tomorrow.

It was hoped, even assumed, that separation would break the cycle of persecution and killing by northern Muslims against southern Christians. Euphoria lifted the newly-created South Sudan as July 2011 dawned. For them, the page had turned. They believed that surely a new chapter was about to be written, and a good one at that.

The euphoria lasted, at best, two years. Its new president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, fired his cabinet. In retaliation, Vice President Riek Machar mounted a coup. Civil war broke out. They’ve tried to broker a deal, but killings continue. Not only do people die, but what adds to the desperation is the number of people exiled, fleeing to Uganda, Kenya, and bordering countries.

Here is where the circle of food shortage and civil war join. South Sudan is considered, as an agronomist in Juba told us, one of the most fertile agricultural lands in all of Africa. He estimates that, if put to good use, the lands of this one nation could be the breadbasket of the continent. But as civil war wrecks its fear, people flee, and those who flee are the very ones needed to plant and harvest.

It seems so true that droughts are ecological disasters. Famines are political disasters. The dog chasing its tail creates a downward spiral, which all the aid in the world won’t arrest.

The ten million people of the South is complex: 60 indigenous languages, impossible roads, a completely broken down infrastructure, and a people who are majestic, able, and as resilient as I’ve met anywhere.
Vision of Life

It is in such moments and places that good intentions and generosity seem inadequate. Groups from Bill Gates to the World Bank analyze inputs and outcomes, pressing to find solutions. We applaud all who give and serve for the very best of reasons.

A long meeting with a senior cabinet member surfaced an issue that underlies growing concern: the civil war increasingly is being fought around tribal loyalties. President Kiir and VP Machar resort to their tribal groups, each building their case, currying favor and creating inter-tribal tension, which—as we have seen elsewhere—devolves into hatred and genocide.

How can we forget Rwanda?

Racial or tribal hatred, flowing along fault lines of historical grievances in time, jumps the banks of conventional behavior. Instigating it is the presence of evil. To ignore that reality is to admit we live in a closed universe. Yet as Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire—the UN commander in Rwanda whose hands were tied and was unable to intervene—told us at a prayer breakfast, evil exists not as a creative myth, but as a real and present danger.

I ended my time with the executive of the evangelical alliance with a promise to ask our wider world to pray for intervention: that there be a holding back of rage; that there might be a release of Spirit empowerment; that events will interject to calm the coming storm and point people to Christ. In the boiling ferment of political and social discord, our contribution is to reach out to the One who, in his resurrection, broke chains of evil so that good can be done and that faith will entreat and engage the living God to save a people.

To those in churches and prayer groups, pray so that in a swelling chorus together we will hold hands of faith that Southern Sudanese will be emboldened to stand for the power of the gospel to redeem and buy back what is under bondage.

South Sudan Famine
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Re: African Famine 2017-

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Mon 20 Nov 2017, 14:50:41

The 'majestic' South Sudanese made 'home invasion' & 'car jacking' daily events in Melbourne, Australia. Fighting beats working apparently.
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Re: African Famine 2017-

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Mon 20 Nov 2017, 15:24:05

I worked on projects in Sudan years ago before the separation of the south. Even in the early days what was happening in the south was less about religion and more about tribal politics. Rik Machar was jostling for power almost 2 decades ago and it continues to this day. The church groups want to make the problems all about religion but when you speak to a lot of the south Sudanese they admit that they are only Christian when asked so they can access food, medicine etc, most of them are animist as they have been for generations. The standard comment by the church groups is that the south is Christian and the north is Arab which isn't the case at all. Khartoum has a number of churches and seeing an orthodox priest walking along the Nile in the morning is an everyday occurrence. I knew many Christians who lived in Khartoum, also lots of Muslims and also lots of "none of the above". The article points to bombings of churches, inferring they were targeted which is a bit of a laugh. What was happening is the southern insurgents purposefully set themselves up around the few churches and hospitals thinking that this would protect them (believing the gov't wouldn't want the bad press) but the method of bombing was the gov't flew antinovs with a cargo release door at the back. The "bombs" were essentially rolled out the back door and where they landed was pretty much anyone's guess. They couldn't have targeted a church or hospital if they wanted to. It is all pretty sad what has gone on there but for anyone who has spent time in Africa and understands how ingrained tribal conflicts are the situation is somewhat predictable. It was said by many people back when the south was first making noise about the separation that it would not result in peace, just a bit different style of unrest.

The issue with the "lost boys" and other Sudanese who have migrated around the world during the crisis is not surprising either if you understand how tribalism drives them. Where ever they move they get together in groups loosely based on their tribal affiliations. The distinction between tribe and gang sometimes is blurred. Of course not all the Sudanese are criminals, and some are great citizens of wherever they choose to live. But the certainly aren't the unfortunate saints the churches would like to portray them as.
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