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Sudan: Will We Keep Putting Them Off?

Sudan, Christianity, The Church, 9/11, Holocaust

While it is not always true that one finds the devil in the details, it is most certainly the case with respect to the Sudan. Every month in the Darfur region of Sudan—a state roughly the size of France—more than 10,000 people are being killed or are dying from disease—keeping in mind that this is merely one state in one country in Africa. Arab militias raid refugee camps on a daily basis, laying waste to what little many Sudanese have for food and shelter. Women and small children are raped and beaten, women are left without husbands to provide for the family—a relative catastrophe in the oppressive misogynist culture of the ruling Sunnis.

In twenty years more than 2 million Sudanese have lost their lives in what appears to be the worst mass-genocide since the Holocaust. Sudan’s roughly 10 million Christians and animists have, indeed, seen the greatest incidence of killing and famine—formerly occurring, by majority, in the south of the country. Many Sudanese Christians have the misfortune of being both Black and Christian while living under the fist of Sudan’s Shari’a law. Many have been forced into conversion to Islam at the point of a barrel, while others have been fortunate to remain out of the sight of the theocratic regime.

With regard to Sudan, it seems, antagonism quickly manifests realism. By virtue of the presence of widespread killing raids, famine, and disease, the five million Sudanese who are known as IDPs—Internally Displaced Persons, or “refugees”—will inevitably take their places in shallow graves alongside the two million who have gone before them in the last two decades—further poisoning the water supply for those barely clinging to life.

Can you even fathom what five million looks like? Just picture ten Miamis, five Detroits, three Philadelphias, filled with the sick, the starving and the homeless. Now, five million isn’t just a number.

Our country is the most giving of all the nations of the world. We have had the resources and the good will to do many great things in this world. But, we have not been able to shake loose of the narcissistic belief that we are, as a nation, a higher grade of human beings. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, our people, with the help of insurance companies, gave upwards of 40 billion dollars in generous donations and payments to the family members of the victims. After this money was doled out, most of the families had cleared three million dollars in compensation—3.1 million dollars on average. I understand how difficult it can be to put a monetary value on life, but how much more difficult should it be to place no value on life whatsoever? We have, however, taken this in stride. One American life appears to be worth many thousands of “other” lives. This is the noxious sentiment that pervades the American culture. But, are we, the Church, immune to this noxious element of our culture?

Where Christians stand? Or do we sit? Do we consider the calamities of the Sudanese to be a little less traumatic on account of their ethnicity? What if two million ethnic Albanians, Orthodox Christians, had been killed in a cleansing effort by a malevolent dictator? In the late 1990s it took a mere fraction of two million to get the attention of our world, our troops, and our young people. What if 12 per cent of Russia’s 144 million people were turned into refugees, dying of starvation and being executed by the rulers of a Chechen coup? Would we sit back and do nothing? Would our children know about it? What if two million people simply vanished in two decades in any other country outside of the Third World? Would our children know about it? Would the Church act?

I firmly believe that we are at a critical impasse in the history of our world. The Church cannot afford to shy away from standing up for human rights—even the rights of those who don’t look like us. It pains me to think that the worst humanitarian disaster since the Holocaust could be lost on our hearts and minds—a forgettable calamity, a contradiction in terms. God has blessed our country, and his Church, with the means to stand in the gap for the squalid nations of the world. We must recognize this blessing as a responsibility. It is a perverse generation that rewards freedom only to those who can pay for it.

Freedom in Christ, it is said, is free but not cheap. Service and sacrifice are two lynchpins of Christianity that we can ill afford to put aside. In Luke, chapter 18, it says, “…and will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.” I firmly believe that God brings about his Justice in many ways, often utilizing his servants here on earth.

So the question remains, “will we keep putting them off?”
Published: 2006-04-11
Author: Jared Field

About the author or the publisher
I am a graduate student with a BA in Political Science. I am currently about halfway done with my MA degree in Social Science at the University of Michigan in Flint. In my free time, I operate a web-based basketball publication in my home state for which I have received press credentials.

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