Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Coalition for Darfur notes "The Return of a Sudanese Survivor"

Once a rebel leader of the oppressed south of Sudan, John Garang is now Sudan's second in command, leader of the autonomous south, and Sudan's last hope for unity. Coalition for Darfur has the story here. Mr. Garang has led an interesting life. Orphaned at the age of ten, he attempted to join the first uprising in Sudan. Elders requested that he complete his secondary schooling. He not only did that, but he also earned a B.S. in Economics at Grinnell College in Iowa in 1969. After serving Anyana in the first uprising, he became a part of the regular army of Sudan once the civil war ended in 1972. Mr. Garang quickly rose from captain to colonel, even though he took four years off to complete a masters and Ph. D. in agricultural economics from US universities. His saw his country pull away from the Addis Ababa agreement of 1972 and lean towards Islamist rule when he returned in 1981. The Christian majority of the South wanted nothing to do with the Sharia law that the government intended to institute nationwide. John Garang once assumed the rebel's mantle and soon took command of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). Now, he faces the challenge of peace:
The Naivasha agreement does not give Garang his "new Sudan." It preserves the Islamic state in the North and grants regional autonomy to the South, with a referendum on secession in six years. The SPLA is not to be disbanded. Its political arm, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), is to take over administration of the entire South, including areas which were under government control when the fighting ended. Garang must now show that he is no longer "averse to democratic methods and principles"; that the boy from the bush can not only fight, but is capable of heading a democratic government that will satisfy international donors and southerners hungry for a fair deal, no matter who is holding the cards.
Ms. Flint would probably would agree that Mr. Garang is a true survivor. He's more than that, however. He may be the man that can implement Democracy in the South. He understands the importance of maintaining the people's support. He also appears to grasp that democracy is the way to ensure the people's continued support. If he is able to establish a vibrant democracy in the south, then Sudan as a whole may finally be able to embrace a secure, if uneasy, peace.

Could such a peace contribute to an end to the Darfur genocide? Time will tell.