When Sudan went to the referendum polls last year, it seemed that partition was the only way this divided nation could move forward in relative peace. I look back and accuse myself of both ignorance and romanticism.

It looks obvious on paper. The Muslim north could live with their own integrity and a new nation of Southern Sudan would be shaped by it’s Christian character. That would clear it up, wouldn’t it?

Well, no, actually.

As we know, not from media reports alone, but also from personal contacts on the ground in the communities affected, what has been unleashed in the north (South Kordofan) amounts to ethnic cleansing or genocide – choose your own word. Bashir has already reneged on the agreements reached with mediators recently and seems unabashed about declaring open war on those in the north who aren’t ‘his people’. Conflict seems not only frighteningly likely, but also enthusiastically wanted by the Bashir government.

This is serious. And it isn’t just about conflict between north and south. The Nubans, who comprise Muslims, Christians and others, are being wiped out on purely ethnic grounds – northerners being attacked militarily because they refuse to move south where they have never lived.

The Episcopal Church of Sudan wants to remain a single church after partition. Given the ‘cleansing’ going on in the north, this is going to pose formidable challenges.

The General Synod will see a video during Evening Prayer tomorrow (Saturday 9 July) in which Archbishop Daniel Deng pleads with great urgency and dignity for intervention now in order to avoid genocide that otherwise looks inevitable. The Archbishop of Canterbury will ask the Synod to endorse his strong appeal to the British Foreign Secretary to act on behalf of Sudan now.

The celebration of independence in the south should not hide the cost of such independence in the north.

This stuff even puts the News of the World stuff into perspective. It also demonstrates why (a) democracy should never be taken for granted and (b) why journalists who get news out of places like this deserve massive respect.

Pray for the people of Sudan.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:York