Former Slave Goes on Hunger Strike for South Sudan
“The situation in South Sudan is heartbreaking, and such a horrible waste.” — Faith J. H. McDonnell, IRD Religious Liberty Program Director
WASHINGTON, May 20, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — A South Sudanese activist and former slave is calling on President Obama to act quickly to stop the destruction of the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan.
The country has been riven by ongoing conflict since December 2013, instigated by a coup attempt against the government by the former Vice President of the country.
Simon Deng, who is from the Shilluk ethnic group and is a United States citizen, believes that the only solution is for the U.S. President to press the government of South Sudan and President Salva Kiir Mayardit, as well as all of the other parties in the conflict into controlling their militias to stop the fighting.
To call attention to the conflict, Deng is conducting a hunger strike outside The White House, hoping that the Administration will act on behalf of his people. He explains in an open letter to President Obama why he is launching a hunger strike.
“South Sudan only exists as an independent country today thanks to the United States of America,” he reminds Obama. But “the senseless renewal of civil war since independence,” has resulted in approximately 70,000 South Sudanese dead, 2 million displaced, and some 4 million on the verge of starvation.
Deng compares the role of the United States to that of a midwife, bringing a new baby (South Sudan) into the world. “Yet in the intervening years, it is as if South Sudan was an infant left to fend for itself,” Deng laments. “While we [the U.S.] were present and active for the whole process leading up to the birth, afterwards we turned away, washed our hands, and moved on.”
IRD Religious Liberty Program Director Faith J. H. McDonnell commented:
“As Simon has said, the United States has had a special relationship with South Sudan from the time that it was still part of Sudan and its own government was waging genocidal jihad against it.
“It is easy to see the influence of the Islamist regime in Khartoum in what is now taking place and how they are taking advantage of the new nation which is still full of war-traumatized people – even up to the top leaders.”
Posted on May 21, 2015, in World Affairs and tagged Africa, Faith J. H. McDonnell, Institute for Faith and Democracy, Salva Kiir Mayardit, Shilluk, Simon Deng, South Sudan. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.