Sudan has risen to the forefront of international news of late, mostly due to George Clooney's work with the Enough Project and Americans obsession with all things celebrity. Clooney recognized the power this gave him and decided to use it for good. He took Dateline's Ann Curry to Sudan on a fact finding mission with Enough Project's founder, John Prendergrast. I admit, I stayed home the Friday night that aired to hear more about the developing situation in Southern Sudan from Mr. Clooney.
Next Sunday, January 9th, 2011 will be a historic day in Sudan's history. As part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the country's 22 year civil war, Sudan will hold a referendum to decide whether South Sudan should secede from the north. The question isn't whether they will vote to do so, all signs point to yes in that regard; the question is how Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, will react. He has made conflicting statements, some saying that he will respect the outcome and support the South's decision. This is not as simple as it sounds either. The boundaries of the oil-rich south are up for debate and the north will not let this territory go easily. There has already been reports of violence at the borders and a new initiative, Satellite Sentinel, has been put in place to monitor hot spots in nearly real time to prevent another deadly war. There are many other underlying issues to consider as well; Wikipedia has a fairly up to date and comprehensive overview of the situation if you'd like to learn more.
I understand that there are horrible things happening in our very own backyard here in the United States, and I am not discounting the need to raise awareness about those issues, but I ask you to take just a minute and think about people, just like you, living halfway across the world. How different would your life be if you your house was a mud hut in a war torn country still trying to establish itself since finding peace just six years ago? Twenty two MILLION people died in the last civil war there; as one of the most powerful nations on earth, can we just sit back and watch as innocent Sudanese perish again even while the genocide in Darfur rages on? We CAN do something about this; I just signed a petition to President Obama asking him to stop a war before it starts in Sudan. You too can do this or find your own way to speak out.