~ by Chris Herlinger, Global Sisters Report
Editor’s note: This article appeared on the Global Sisters Report website on July 1. The article link was forwarded to Sr. Thérèse Merandi, MSC, who is currently missioned in South Sudan, for her reaction and commentary. Sr. Thérèse responded, “Very true and our lived reality.” Her further reflection follows this account.
Jubilation marked celebrations that caught the world’s attention 10 years ago when South Sudan formally became independent from Sudan on July 9, 2011, following a protracted, decades-long war of independence.
But this month’s commemoration of the 10th anniversary of what is still the world’s youngest country is overshadowed by uncertainty, violence and ongoing humanitarian challenges.
“A decade later…pervasive insecurity – in particular intercommunal violence – continues to obstruct the realization of a durable and sustainable peace,” the United Nations News Service said in a June 21 report.
Sisters with experience in South Sudan agree and acknowledge these grave disappointments, particularly political and ethnic violence that has killed hundreds of thousands and caused more than 2 million to flee the country. As noted by the International Rescue Committee, South Sudan “enjoyed two years of fragile peace before political rivalry erupted once again into open conflict in 2013, leaving an estimated 380,000 dead and 2 million displaced. 2.2 million people have been forced into neighboring countries.”
“Corruption is endemic and intranational conflicts, economic collapse, crime and hunger ravage the
population,” said Sr. Joan Mumaw, president of Friends in Solidarity, the U.D. partner to Solidarity with South Sudan, a collaborative ministry of religious congregations of men and women.
“Flooding, drought, the pandemic, and you have a national tragedy and perhaps, a failed state,” said Mumaw, an IHM Sister of Monroe, Michigan.
To mark this anniversary, the Global Sisters Report asked sisters of various congregations to reflect and assess where the country stands now on a range of topics. Sr. Bakhita Francis, a Missionary Franciscan Sister of the Immaculate Conception, commented, “In 10 years after independence the country has declined drastically – it has become like stagnant water. The most serious issue is violence. South Sudan has a lot of potential if South Sudanese work together as a people to overcome the challenges of political power struggles, nepotism, land grabbing, the feeling that one group is superior to another, ethnic identity, child marriage and revenge killings.
Sr. Marilyn Lacey, Executive Director of Mercy Beyond Borders, commented, “The political leadership is riddled by greed, power-grabbing and corruption. There is, in fact, no real sense of a country at all. Until the various ethnic groups recognize advantages in working with one another instead of continuing the dominant “revenge culture”, there will never be peace in South Sudan.” To read the complete article, please click here