Sudan, Bible, and Strategy
We enjoyed a wonderful visit here at VTS from a major player in Sudan, Bishop Daniel Deng Bul. Above is a photo from his lunch last Friday with those of us engaged in the program teaching biblical languages at the Bible College at Renk, his diocese. We met out in Scott Lounge and had a very full table. Pictured with Daniel here are Loren H. (left) and Meredith H. (right). Bishop Daniel is inspiring in every way. I hope to give a bit more background about him in another post soon.
Bishop Daniel's lecture last Thursday was extremely informative about the complex situation on the ground in Sudan right now. He is trying to help the fragile peace between north and south go forward while at the same time helping the south make clear to the north that UN troops need to be allowed in Darfur in the west. The south has bravely communicated to the Khartoum government that it supports UN troops, while also trying to stress that they firmly support the legitimacy of the new united government of Sudan.
Did you know that the peace agreement in place gives Sudan three (3) armies? The united government has an army as does the north, and the south was also allowed to keep an army. Having an army gives the agreement a chance to work, according to Bishop Daniel. Without it, the north would surely have breached the peace agreement by now and the war would have broken out again. As it is, the north is not playing very fair on several issues, such as the 50/50 sharing of oil revenue. The north's latest ploy is to insist that the 50/50 sharing only applies to oil pumped from the south, not to all the oil produced in the country as a whole!
One thing that the crisis in Darfur has shown is that the roots of the horrible violence in Sudan are not fundamentally religious but are ethnic. While attacking the south, the north could claim that it was a conflict between Islam and Christianity (even though it was Arab north versus African south). But in the Darfur violence, it is Muslim against Muslim. The roots of the conflict are plainly racial: it is Arab trying to wipe out African.