The Arab Spring and Sudan: Where Do We Stand?
The opportunities afforded to me as an intern at Save Darfur Coalition/Genocide Intervention Network have provided a breadth of education unavailable in a traditional classroom setting. Recently, I had the chance to attend a Schieffer Series discussion held by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The panelists - David Ignatius of The Washington Post, Nancy Youssef of McClatchy Newspapers and Jon Alterman of CSIS - updated the audience about the current volatile situations around the globe. In just over an hour, they touched upon the situations in Libya, Syria and Egypt and the changing relationships within the Arab world.
The "Arab Spring," as it has been dubbed by analysts, has initiated a domino effect in the region. The early victory of the rebels in Tunisia inspired disenchanted people in numerous neighboring nations to excite riots for reform. The panelists warned that despite some success, many of these significant uprisings have resulted in humanitarian crises that require the world's immediate attention. But this is not the only area of concern right now.
This Saturday, July 9, the world will bear witness to an historic moment: the birth of a new nation, the Republic of South Sudan. This momentous occasion calls for celebration, especially after decades of civil war in the ravaged country. And yet, South Sudan will face significant obstacles in the wake of its new independence. Like all young nations, the government will have to agree on a new constitution, provide basic services to its citizens, and maintain security in the face of internal and external threats. But with the escalating violence in the Nuba Mountains and South Kordofan, the new government of South Sudan faces even greater challenges.
Abyei, a disputed oil-rich area in the South Kordofan region, remains in limbo after the northern army invaded to prevent it from joining South Sudan. More than 50,000 people have been forced to flee their homes there. The removal of these northern troops is vital to continuing the peace process and allowing South Sudan to become a stable independent nation. Please call on the administration to protect civilians in Abyei.
We must remember that people across the globe are not granted the same opportunities that we have here in the United States. The most valuable lesson I have learned here is one that the Rev. Bob Edgar, President and CEO of Common Cause, echoed in a 2005 speech: "We need to stand up when others tell us to sit down, and we need to speak out when others tell us to be silent." For the sake of the newly independent South Sudanese, the Libyan rebels, and the Syrian refugees, I ask you to stand up and speak out against humanitarian injustices around the world.
Beth Rader is a participant in the Machon Kaplan Summer Social Action Internship Program, interning at Save Darfur Coalition/Genocide Intervention Network.