"RUMBEK, Sudan — Sudan appears to be a country in waiting.It has been a while since I blogged about the problems in Sudan, but this Presbyterian News Service article snapped me out of my lethargy.
Waiting for a crucial census that will clarify for the first time since 1993 the population figures in the north and the semi-autonomous south Sudan.
Waiting for elections in 2009.
Waiting for a critical referendum in 2011 that will allow the people of the 10 states of South Sudan to vote on the question of self-determination from the Khartoum-based north.
But, after a 21-year civil war that crippled much of the nation’s infrastructure, and an increasingly shaky peace agreement signed in 2005, Sudanese people, especially those in the south, are also waiting for more basic, essential things: water, healthcare, roads, schools."
People who are in Sudan, or have closer knowledge of the region than I, are saying that the people are slowly shifting from a culture of violence to one of peace. But without education their development will be slow -- there is a very low literacy rate due to the inability of schools and other necessary services to operate. Many of the trades and skills have been seriously diminished by the lack of schools, not to mention the significant death toll of the past 20 years.
The US Embassy in Khartoum has an informational page on the situation in Darfur, and mentions the Darfur Peace Agreement of May 2006, which seems to clear the way for increased humanitarian aid. Wikipedia also has an article on the peace agreement, but it appears to be a verbatim copy of the US State Department information that I linked in the previous sentence.
The question is who and how. The United Nations has not had a stellar record in Sudan, but they can rectify that with effective peacekeeping and aid programs. Christian groups might be able to help, but considering the fact that Sudan is predominantly Muslim, such groups need to be particularly sensitive.
Sudan is still waiting.