Sudan is less than 48 hours from a historic precipice. Depending on whether the Southern Sudan referendum passes on January 9th, Sudan will either descend into renewed anarchy or emerge triumphant with the hope and promise of a more peaceful future.
As you may remember from my earlier article when George Clooney and John Prendergast visited Stanford, the current referendum in Sudan proposes the splitting of Sudan with the hopes of preventing future religiously and economically motivated violence. With very high stakes in the form of oil-rich regions, this option is one of the few viable solutions for finally obtaining peace in the tumultuous Darfur region. In a frantic, last-minute push, Prendergast and Clooney have returned to Sudan to implore the Sudanese government to seriously consider the referendum and begin taking the necessary steps to protect all Sudanese people.
If you’re writing the Sudan issue off as another distant tremor in war-torn Africa, please think again. Consider for a moment the movie Hotel Rwanda. Just a decade ago, during our lifetimes, genocide in Rwanda led to the death of 800,000 citizens. Not combatants. Not soldiers. Men, women, and children who were raped, shot, and slaughtered by machete. In Sudan, we have a new Hotel Rwanda waiting to happen. The very thought that something like that could happen under our watch is truly bone-chilling.
Our generation can do better. Our generation can stop genocide before it begins.
The clock is ticking, but the battle’s not over yet. If you care about the people of Sudan, if you empathize with the thousands of displaced refugees and heartbroken widows this conflict has produced, please consider doing the following to make your voice heard:
- Sign a petition at sudanactionnow.org: ask Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough (Obama’s point person inside the White House on Sudan) to “make sure Sudan’s leaders fully comply with the benchmarks for progress in both Darfur and South Sudan before any incentives are granted by the U.S. Government.”
- Write a personal letter to Obama himself: ask him to remember the January deadline.
- Join STAND, Amnesty International, or any of Stanford’s other anti-genocide groups on campus.