Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sudan, Election Results, and Genocide: Not Much to Do, But Pray

I don't know how prayer works: not at the nuts-and-bolts operational level. But I've quite certain that it does. Work, that is. Right now, folks in Sudan could use prayer. No pressure, just a suggestion.

Sudan: Dubious Election Results; Folks in Danger

Not-good news from Sudan is, sadly, nothing new. Like what the Catholic News Agency published yesterday:
"Sudanese Catholic bishop warns serious post-election conflict is likely"
Catholic News Agency (April 30, 2010)

Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala. Credit: ACN."Though areas of Sudan have reported peaceful elections, a bishop in the south of the country warns that genocidal violence could begin again. The transformation of political disputes into serious conflict is now 'a likely scenario,' he says.

"Bishop of Tombura-Yambio Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala, commenting in a statement to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), said people's frustrations were heightened by allegations of corruption in the April 11-15 general elections. The elections were the first multi-party poll in 25 years.
Questionably-ethical elections are nothing new - and not unique to any one nation. (Another War-on-Terror Blog (February 8, 2010))

I'm particularly - dubious - when a nation run along the lines of Sudan has an election in which the bunch currently in charge 'just happens' to win. Particularly if the election has little irregularities here and there. Like ballots from a troublesome area that 'just happen' to get torched before they're counted.

Sudan's the place, by the way, where the country's rulers are (valiantly?) striving to defend Islam against women who wear trousers and a teddy bear named Mohammed. (Another War-on-Terror Blog (September 7, 2009, December 3, 2007)) You can't make that sort of stuff up, folks.

Back to that article:
"...President Omar al Bashir's National Congress Party, the incumbent party in Khartoum, was victorious in the election. Sitting Vice-President Salva Kiir and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) scored up to 90 percent in its southern heartlands.

"The election was marred by reports of voter intimidation, vote-rigging, ballot mix-ups and breaches of voter privacy.

"An arson attack on a truck transporting ballot papers took place in Bishop Hiiboro's region of Western Equatorial State.

" 'The election results may spark serious violence [soon],' the bishop told ACN. 'The violence may be compared to nothing less than a genocide because there are many deep-seated animosities in the hearts of many people of different ethnic groups in the south.'

"He warned that resentment festers over unresolved issues such as the border dispute between north and south Sudan centering on the oil-rich Abyei region...."
(Catholic News Agency)
The northern dude winning 90% of the votes, in the southern heartlands? Putting that in perspective for Americans, that'd be like the sovereign state of Georgia (allegedly) giving 90% of its votes to a carpetbagger, shortly after the War Between the States. American history books generally call it the "Civil War" - understandable, since the Yankees won.

Yeah: I'm dubious about that overwhelming victory in the polls.

Sudan: What Went Wrong?

In a way, it'd be easier to make a list of what's gone right in Sudan, since that territory got independence in 1956. I gave an overview of the last 38 years in another blog:I'll admit that I have a fairly well-defined point of view, when it comes to Sudan. I also think that one reason that Sudan stayed 'off the radar' for Western news for so long has to do with a sort of cultural legacy we have.

Over-simplifying the situation in Sudan, the country's run by people who are, by 19th-century standards, fairly "civilized." Folks living in the southern part of the country are distinct from the rulers in a number of ways: and are, again by 19th-century standards, "natives."

I think that's one reason why it took several million 'natives' 'just happening' to drop dead, for many Westerners to twig that something wasn't quite right in Sudan. Again, in my opinion.

Dicey Election Results, Discontented Voters, and Brightly-Burning Ballots: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

People who are fed up - and then some - with the status quo sometimes take rather direct action. Generally, it seems, without carefully thinking through what's likely to happen next.

I'm on the same page with Bishop Hiiboro: Violence is a very real possibility in his part of the world. I'm also inclined to accept his view of who's primarily responsible, with a grain of salt:
"...Bishop Hiiboro blamed the SPLM for the lack of progress.

" 'The sole responsibility for this debacle lies in the hands of the southern Sudanese themselves both within the camp of the ruling party and other political parties.

" 'The senseless death of southern Sudanese citizens is going to be due to the inability of the political leaders to craft a better conflict resolution process.'

" 'Pushing differences to the point of national meltdown and exasperating tribal and religious differences just to come to power or to retain power at all costs is out of the domain of healthy politics,' he told ACN...."
(Catholic News Agency)
That phrase, "sole responsibility," may make more sense in context of the full interview - which isn't in the article. Me? I think that when a country's rulers are ethnically, culturally, and religiously distinct from their subjects - and the subjects are dying in droves - the folks in charge might have something to do with the situation.

But, Bishop Hiiboro is there, with access to much more information than I have.

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.