Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Praises and prayers for Darfur

The following news report tells of the discovery of a massive underground lake in the Darfur region of Sudan, which is said to be the size of Lake Erie, the tenth largest lake in the world. The extreme shortage of water in the Darfur area is a primary impetus for the ongoing violence and bloodshed, which has claimed at least 200,000 lives (by conservative estimations). The proposed 1,000 new water wells could spell a serious shift in the direction of the regional difficulties, certainly improving the lives of the 2 million refugees scattered in camps all over the area and neighboring Chad. So far, diplomatic solutions, including economic sanctions and a small Africa Union force, have proved impotent.

Let us pray that the newfound water source propels a movement for peace in the region, so that justice may roll on like a river, and righteousness like a never-failing stream (Amos 5:24).

BBC News-Africa: Water find 'may end Darfur war'

5 comments:

traveller said...

Another good post. My name is not traveller without reason....I also travel often to Africa. Just there a couple of weeks ago.

While this water will no doubt help I am fearful it will create more conflict since it will be a very valuable resource in a dry land. And just as the Middle East is riven by tribal and ethnic tensions so is Africa. Much of this has to do with ethnic, tribal and racial prejudices that are centuries old.

However, your focus on the Middle East and Africa are important because these people are so desperately in need of protection and assistance. But the greatest human need in Africa is for leaders in these countries who care for their own people and have those peoples' best interests at heart.

We can pray for these people and for leaders of integrity and courage. We can also give to reputable organizations who provide assistance as well as encourage our own government to take actions that promote justice in Africa.

While Darfur is one of the worst areas, many problems also exist in Nigeria, Chad, the Central African Republic. It is a continent in turmoil and distress.

Emily Hunter McGowin said...

Traveller,

I appreciate your comments and your perspective very much. Thank you.

From your experience and perspective, how much of current troubles are some of the fruit of European exploitation and meddling during the not-too-long-ago era of imperialism?

Thanks again,

Emily

traveller said...

There is no question that the legacy of colonialism has had a negative impact on Africa. From nation state boundaries that have no connection to where the tribal boundaries exist to colonial powers that failed to politically prepare the people for independence to failing to provide adequate education to colonial powers that destroyed infrastructure they could not take when they departed. All of this contributes to the problems in Africa today.

Having said that, under the current African leaders much of Africa is worse off in some respects than under the colonial powers. This is a continent that is rich in resources, including human, but plagued by corruption, neglect, greed, war, and hopelessness. Instead of using this great wealth to provide for their people most leaders use it among a few in order to stay in power. But because power and life is so tenuous they get all they can today since no one knows what tomorrow may bring. In many countries this attitude permeates all of society so that the corruption goes to the lowest level.

In my earlier post I mentioned some practical ways to address this. One organziation that allows us to help people in Africa and other parts of the world in need of assistance is www.kiva.org A person can actually make a loan to someone in these countries so that they can start a business or expand their farming operation. The rate of repayment of these loans is quite amazing. It is worth looking at just to read the success stories.

Mel said...

I don't want to show my ignorance (but I guess I'm about to), but how will this new source of water help the refugees? Won't those in government who are already stealing their villages and killing their people just steal the water source for their own benefit?

Emily Hunter McGowin said...

Mel,

You're not showing ignorance at all.

The hope would be that the government would allow for new water wells and cooperate with efforts to disperse the resources. This assumes they would conclude that peace and security is in their own best interest also. Of course, that's a big "if."

You should also look at the update on Darfur from earlier today. It looks like this could be a dry lake after all, with nothing to offer Darfurians. The BBC article is enlightening, so you might take a look.

See you soon,

Emily