Tag Archives: New Sudans

Dr. John Garang’s Vision by Yassir Arman

Dr. John Garang’s Vision is the Only Game in Town for the Welfare of the Sudans
Tomorrow the 30th of July, as we commemorate the memory of Dr. John Garang and celebrate his life and contribution as well, he would be one of the rare Sudanese who can be honored on the divide of both countries and by many Northern and Southern Sudanese and by Muslims and Christians. He was and he is above the divide being ethnic or geographical, and he had crossed many areas on this great divide. And as we all know, Dr. Garang was his vision, the vision of the “New Sudan”, a vision that was essentially and in essence based on the commonality of the Sudanese historical and contemporary and what brings the Sudanese together in the past, present and future, the peaceful co-existence and the common wealth that respects diversity of all forms.
Today Dr. Garang is not around, but his vision never dies. In actual fact, South Sudan and North Sudan they cannot do much without his vision. They are both very diverse and the massive majority of the two countries are marginalized and only the vision of the New Sudan can deliver peace, food, democracy and stability. Both countries cannot achieve progress without true recognition of their diversities in a true democratic state that respects human rights, the rule of law and accountability, builds a caring society that would address the issues of marginalization including women’s rights and taking “towns to people, not peoples to towns”, the famous jargon of Dr. Garang. The two countries are in need of such a great vision.
Dr. Garang was a true democratic Pan Africanist who believed in the unity of Africa from Cairo to Cape Town and as charity starts at home, he was for the unity of Sudan and he made the biggest attempt to preserve that unity on a new basis against all odds. Now as we have two Sudans, the vision of Dr. Garang remains valid and needed by both countries, and it is also valid to re-unite Sudan, a unity between two independent viable countries and democratic states that share the same values. The present situation full of challenges and liabilities that can be changed into assets requires a huge work and struggle by all democratic forces in the two countries. Areas such as Blue Nile and South Kordofan can be and they should be a role model of economic and social integration between the two countries given the historical and social ties as well as the rest of the border states between the two countries.
As we commemorate and celebrate the life of Dr. Garang by those who are from Northern Sudan, for us Dr. Garang is a true son of Northern Sudan as well as of South Sudan. He is a point of link between the two countries and a great hero of our lifetime, and in my humble opinion, he was the most important Sudanese personality in the last century, and it will take both Sudans fifty to one hundred years to bring a wonderful charismatic leaders such as him, full of sense of humor and intelligence, a real human being. The good news is that his vision remains valid and never dies. In fact, it is the only game in town for both Sudans.
Yasir Arman
July 29, 2012

A Time to Unite

August 26-27 in Des Moines, Iowa

Be a part of this historic event as we unite in creating a

New and better future for the peoples of Sudan and South Sudan.

The history of the peoples of Sudan and South Sudan is filled with conflicts that have allowed certain groups in the north to dominate the majority of the peoples, oppress them and marginalize them, pitting region against region, people against people. Peace and security have been undermined. Lives, liberty, and property have all been lost.

In very recent times, South Sudan was able to gain independence from Sudan. This brought freedom to some of the oppressed peoples. Yet within South Sudan, the impact of regional conflicts along with the influence of the Khartoum regime remain strong and prevent progress; while in the north, the separation of South Sudan from Sudan has led to the dramatically increased oppression of many ethnic groups within Sudan. First, there was genocide in Darfur. Now, horrors have come to the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, and Eastern Sudan. These atrocities must be stopped.

Each people may fight its own battles alone or many may become stronger as one. We believe that the only path to a bright future is through unity.

Therefore, we believe that it is time to unite our efforts to improve the lives of all of the peoples of Sudan and South Sudan. We are joining together to create a new representative body to help lead us forward. In order to accomplish this great task, we need you, as a leader of your community, to join us in Des Moines, Iowa on August 26 and 27, 2012 for the first gathering of the United Sudanese and South Sudanese Communities Association (USASSCA).

United Sudanese and South Sudanese Communities Association (USASSCA) aims to promote:

  1. Unity and Empowerment by:
  1. Involving all of the regional, political, and ethnic organizations and associations who are interested in working together.
  2. Serving as the central coordinating body of pro-democracy organizations in Sudan and South Sudan.
  3. Providing a coherent and united voice for pro-democracy Sudanese and South Sudanese in the diaspora.
  4. Building communication and cooperation between regional and ethnic groups as well as political and military organizations.
  5. Empowering the civil and societal organizations that form the basis of healthy nations.
  1. Engagement of Sudanese and South Sudanese community leaders around the world by:
  1. Strengthening the connection and involvement of community leaders and intellectuals in the diaspora to the development of the governmental, educational, societal, cultural and economic institutions of Sudan and South Sudan.
  2. Engaging in leadership development in all of the geographic regions of Sudan and South Sudan as well as in the diaspora.
  1. Development of Needed Programs and Institutions by:
  1. Developing strategies for and establish a stabile system of fundraising.
  2. Allocating funding according to determined priorities.
  1. Strategies to resolve the ongoing humanitarian crisis by:
  1. Creating an efficient central conduit to enable interaction between Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the Sudanese and South Sudanese peoples in the region and in the diaspora.
  2. Providing Education about Sudan and South Sudan to a variety of constituencies.
  3. Preparing and disseminating authoritative and accurate news to the media.

At a later point, USASSCA may consider forming a separate lobbying organization to:

  • Develop and implement a political strategy for working with foreign governments and international institutions.
  • Conduct Lobbying in Washington, D.C.

The gathering and events to form USASSCA will be hosted by regional and national leaders of major Sudanese and South Sudanese diaspora organizations as well as by some of the leaders from the Sudanese and South Sudanese communities within those countries. The conference will feature speeches by the major leaders and the election of officers to the first Congress of Sudanese and South Sudanese Peoples. The USASSCA gathering is being held in Des Moines in conjunction with the Help Nuba conference which will include representatives of anti-genocide advocacy and relief organizations concerned with the crises ongoing in the many regions of Sudan and South Sudan today.

Help Nuba is an organization led by representatives of the Nuba, Darfur, and South Sudanese communities along with activists and others who are concerned with the plight of those suffering in Sudan and South Sudan. Help Nuba includes representatives of the UN Association of Iowa, Catholic, Jewish, Presbyterian and Episcopal religious and community leaders, one of the 2011 Carl Wilken’s Fellows of United to End Genocide and a growing number of supporters from around the United States along with members of the Sudanese and South Sudanese communities from around the world.

The USASSCA conference is by invitation only. If you would like to be included, please contact one of the members of the steering committee at this link.

A Sickeningly Happy Smile

I don’t know about you, but I feel sick when I look at the picture of Omar Bashir’s beaming smile as he shakes hands with Salva Kiir. Bashir looks like a child who has just been told that if he shakes this man’s hand, he gets to go to Disney World. I can’t help but wonder how either man could smile at the other, much less beaming like that. Bashir is a war criminal.

Then again, looking at the situation in which both men find themselves, if they have made any progress toward an oil transfer agreement, how they can smile might actually be understandable. South Sudan’s economy is in a shambles and is only deteriorating faster as the days pass and oil does not flow. Without oil flowing, right now South Sudan is closer to becoming a failed state than prospering one. Salva Kiir is in jeopardy of becoming the leader who ran South Sudan out of business.

But Sudan is not much better off. It’s economy is in a free fall and subsidies which were essential in placating the masses so that they would not rise up against the Khartoum Regime have had to be removed. There are mass protests in the streets. Foreign governments and investors would not think about investing in Sudan or even loaning it money. In addition to the protests, rebel groups in the west, south, and east all are challenging it and the ones in the south are fighting, fairly successfully, for control over the last oil reserves the nation possesses. Opposition parties have gained enough momentum to publicly challenge the ruling party and there is for the first time in a long time, a reasonable hope for regime change.

Thus, the smile, that sickeningly happy smile.

Peace and a renewed flow of oil solve the major problems that both men face. Sudan needs it badly. South Sudan is probably in as good a negotiating position as it could hope for. Khartoum can’t afford to delay the opening of the spigot. So, a tentative agreement that allows the oil to flow.

“We’ll deal with the border region later. No one attack the other. We both need the money.” That is the obvious discussion. Mutual butt-saving.

In South Sudan, Salva Kiir will be able to fulfill promises for his suffering people and things will dramatically improve. Peace will bring massive investment and growth. The economy in the South could boom. The people will be vastly better off in the short run especially. Kiir’s butt saved.

But this will certainly put a damper on change in Sudan. The Khartoum Regime will strengthen. The inevitable collapse will not merely be delayed for a bit, but perhaps it will no longer be inevitable at all. Bashir’s butt saved.

The return of subsidies will quell demonstrations. In Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Eastern Sudan, there will be a newly strengthened Sudanese Armed Forces and police presence. Opposition leaders will suddenly become silent, at least the ones who do not go missing. Things could get a lot worse.

I know that it is a stretch to read to much into the smile of a consummate liar, but I just get the feeling that he’s not lying. Bashir seems genuinely happy. That makes me sick.

Sudan Revolts – The Khartoum Uprising is Gaining Strength

Significant clashes took place between protesters and police yesterday in the regional capitals of Madani and Al-Obayid, but also in the capital of Khartoum, where protests have been limited in size and primarily involved students. The police have thus far responded with the use of tear gas. The regime is trying to play down the protests by arguing that it is no big deal that university students are protesting. However, the Sudan Tribune reported that:

According to many witnesses, Friday’s protests were perhaps the most serious in the nation’s history since NCP took power 23 years ago.

Right now, it is fairly easy for the Khartoum regime to believe that the protests are primarily a response to the austerity measures put in place and that they will be weak and fleeting. Without the backing of the military, protests alone have little chance of success, even with international condemnation of efforts to quell them by the military. However, should the regime choose to employ significant violence, it could result in isolation from the African Union and Arab League.

What would change the situation substantially is if the military would change sides. This is much more likely to occur when soldiers are ordered to commit atrocities against civilians. Yet, this regime has already given those orders repeatedly. This is a regime that has committed genocide against segments of its own population and that is actively trying to starve hundreds of thousands of people now. The regime is likely to become more violent if it feels a real threat of collapse. Would there be any doubt that the leaders of the regime would face death in the aftermath of a successful revolt?

As the revolt continues, so will the violence increase. Not to be forgotten will be the millions of people who will be in danger of starvation, who will face severe health problems, and who will have weak governmental structures in place, if any at all, to aid them in the midst of the fighting. Hundreds of thousands are already in jeopardy of starvation in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. Help Nuba!