This is the basic text of this morning's Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2's Chris Evans Show. Search blog for 'Sudan' to read posts.

I guess most of us have at some time in our life entertained some romantic ideas about exotic places we dream of visiting one day. I remember reading Antony and Cleopatra – Shakespeare, not the Carry On version – when I was at school in Liverpool and imagining the River Nile. Plagued with queen-biting asps, obviously.

Well, a few weeks ago I actually went to the Nile. In fact, I went to both Niles: the Blue and the White. We were visiting Bradford's link diocese in Sudan and every day drove over the bridge in Khartoum where the two rivers converge before heading north to Egypt and so on. I'm not colour-blind, but I tell you: both the Blue and the White Niles look brown to me.

Life is tough for many of the people we were visiting there in Sudan. Outsiders and foreigners are being told to leave, and southerners are being sent… er… south. Now, the reasons for all this are complicated and the politics somewhat controversial; but, what we saw was the human cost of other people's privilege. Put simply, when life gets tough between different peoples, the easiest thing to do is separate… grow apart deliberately.

But, the solving of one problem doesn't bring peace – it simply creates more problems and causes lots of misery for the ordinary people who have to pay the price of powerful people's greed and vanity. But, we in Bradford are bound up with our friends in Sudan and, whatever happens, we will stick by them.

An hour after we left our guesthouse for the airport at one in the morning, the house was raided, guests taken in for questioning, and the place confiscated by the security services. It might be a world away from Bradford and the Yorkshire Dales, but, like the Blue and the White Niles, we have converged and cannot be separated as we travel into the future together.

Disappointingly, I saw no queen-biting asps.

 

Isn’t it awful that when a crisis leaves the front pages of the newspapers we quickly forget the horrors that continue?

I have posted on Sudan and the dreadful persecution in South Kordofan. Today one of my clergy in Bradford got an email from a Christian leader in Northern Sudan and this is what he wrote:

Thanks so much for your deep love to us and your great concern for the suffering people in the those war zones. We are sorry for the loss of our brother Bishop Yusif of Port Sudan diocese: we went to Egypt for the mission consultation, he died on the second day of our meeting…

About the fighting in Blue Nile, you might not get enough information of what is really taking place there – many people losing their lives daily. In our Diocese, we have a list of 490 families, a total of 12996 people  from Blue Nile and many are coming while many are wandering in the bushes. We tried to pass information to all the humanitarian consortium NGOs, to alert them on the urgent situation in which there is clear evidence that an event of war in Blue Nile has occurred which causes human sufferings. We urge them for the emergency relief of basic needs; food, medical care, shelters, clothing, water. But not any respond to this. Its seems many do not know much of Blue Nile,
people know more of South Kordofan. There is not any help to people of Blue Nile.

Sorry for this long letter but I know your deep love to these people.

In the Diocese of Bradford we haven’t forgotten them. We are praying for them and have raised substantial funds for relief work. But, by way of such posts as this, we need to keep their plight in the public eye – and before the politicians and the media.