by Deng Garang

New Sudan Vision
Monday, 01 February 2010 13:00

Omaho, Nebraska, USA - It is not always every time that discussions
about New Year matter as they are this year. But when they do, those
discussions tend to improve the odds for many.

kiir President Salva Kiir (in vehicle in hat) marching with crowd
in Juba last month to submit his nomination papers for South Sudan
President (Photo Courtesy of

To me, the fuss goes a little something like this. Two thousand and
ten is no ordinary year for the world. Put bluntly, it is the year
the rest of the world is reloading to usher in the second decade of
the 21st century. For Africa, it is a major turning point since it
is the year the World Cup will be played on the continent for the
first time and who knows, if we shine during the games' hosting in
South Africa the world may cede it as the African Century.

But even so, this year and the next are very pivotal for some. The
clock is ticking a little faster on the future of the African nation of
Sudan. We have reached the eleven-month warning for the two referenda
in Sudan. For the last half of a decade we the Sudanese were indulged
in what was certainly a banality to implement the comprehensive peace
in our country.

For ethnic killings in Darfur and deaths of over 2.5 million during
the north-south civil war, Sudan has earned its justifiable place on
the arc of history in terms of genocide: Armenia, Jewish Holocaust,
Rwanda, Cambodia, and Bosnia are already on the books.

The Sudan People's Liberation Movement has over the years held up
the mirror to decades of monumental injustices in Sudan and, with
the Comprehensive Peace Agreement expected to expire in 2011, it is
needless to remind ourselves that the window is closing and it is
closing fast!

Although the SPLM, looking back on 2009, did show some spine by
thankfully becoming itself again, after closing the year with some
victory in key laws on the referenda for Abyei and Southern Sudan,
including the agreement on the Popular Consultation in Southern
Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains, too much uncertainty still exists. The
remaining laws on border demarcation are in no measure small to be
ignored given how crucial they are for the fate of both Referenda.

Some in the international community are rightly warning of the CPA
nearing a fault line. We in the South are caught wondering whether
we should focus on bucking stereotypes that are ongoing or win the
fight that is impending. First it was Egypt declaring southern a
failed state, even before the agreement affords this poor region
a chance at nationhood. Then the same declaration was picked up by
foreign actors-individuals, nations and think tanks-who exploited it
for some good and selfish reasons.

Perhaps for Southern Sudanese and all the marginalized people of Sudan,
the Biblical themes of the March around Jericho need to be summoned
during this eleventh hour when the search for freedom enshrined in
the CPA continues to be met with cascades of sabotage and ringing
opposition from the purveyors of the National Islamic Front aka the
National Congress party.

Biblical scholarship tells us that in the late Bronze Age when the
Israelites were closer to their freedom, they were faced with greatest
uncertainties as obstacles multiplied in their hour of need-their fears
almost took toll on the final journey as they saw fortified walls
of the city of Jericho, and their leader, Joshua, wondered how they
would enter the Promised Land. But God first tested the character,
faith, trust, courage and obedience of His people by ordering them
to march in silence around Jericho for 6 days and 7 times on the 7th
day. After show of faith and obedience through what was an embarrassing
and tiresome march, the greatest walls of Jericho came tumbling down,
allowing the triumphant entry into Canaan by the people of Israel.

The Bible remains the Greatest and most enduring book of all time which
has guided suffering people in moments of despair and celebrations;
it offers encouragement and we are told Moses who led the Jewish people
out of bondage used his charismatic ,assertive leadership qualities and
courage to explain to his people that freedom and laws were inseparably
linked. In the history of revolutionary politics few societies have
echoed and dared to walk in Moses' shoes amid own tribulations.

In their decades of untold suffering, the marginalized people of Sudan
have shown great resolve by sticking with their movement and I know
they saw in their leader John Garang the same leadership qualities
that Moses had -of faith, courage and ability to inspire --and even
during his untimely passing in 2005, the wailing masses did not lose
hope because they intoned that their Joshua Salva kiir would take
them home. Those were shades of people triumphing over despair.

Despite the uncertainty before us now, people should have reasons
to hope by turning to their own inner selves and start believing in
ourselves like Israelites did in their final hour of need, and at
this journey's end, we will realize that what we have been doing all
a long is a walk around walls of injustices---the monument to peace
walks should start in the run up to April elections and end with the
final walks on January 2011 when we march to the polls.

Owing to heritage of faith and resolve, the marginalized can plan
the 21st century Jericho March around walls of injustices in Sudan by
putting to use all modern communication devices: cell phones, media,
and Diaspora outreach to drum up support for the elections in April
2010 and step up the March leading up to January 2011.

The lesson here is it is times like these when people are tested
and I believe if we don't allow our belief to be shaken, if we do
not allow ourselves to be distracted by forces antithetical to our
destiny, we can be certain of triumphs over tyranny and uncertainty
and guarantee freedom for the people of southern Sudan and all the
marginalized communities.