Sudanese & American Friends March for Peace and Reconciliation
By Jimmy Mulla
November 21, 2007. In a show of solidarity for peace and reconciliation, Sudanese from every region of Sudan: North, South, East and West, and American friends of Sudan marched from the Best Western Capitol Skyline Hotel in Washington, D.C through Capital Hill to Lafayette Park in front of the White House.
The 1.4 mile march followed a peace and reconciliation conference on
November 18th 2007, organized by Sudan Sunrise, an organization based in
Kansas. The conference focused on deepening reconciliation and solidarity and exploring ways to work together for a just and democratic future for the people of
Prominent Sudanese activists including Simon Deng, Francis Bok, Mohamed Yahya, Nuraddin Mannan, and the heads of organizations working on
Sudan called for solidarity and the need to coordinate efforts to realize peace in the whole of
Sudan, irrespective of the regions. A written statement presented in the conference and signed by Co-Chairs Silvestro Akara Bakhiet and Dr. Abdelgabar Adam, calls on the National Congress Party (NCP) to honor every provision of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), and commends the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) for their non-violent approach to the resolution of any CPA disputes. The statement urges the SPLM to continue to do their part to peacefully resolve these disputes, but also “stand firm in the face of any outside forces that might try to capitulate the NCP’S lack of good faith for the sake of expediency”. Likewise the statement also urges the NCP to follow the example of the SPLM in honoring the spirit of the CPA, to usher in a new era for a democratic, secular
Sudan where there is peace, religious freedom, and justice for all.
The statement also urges the
United States government, which has been a friend to many Sudanese people, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Troika Partners, which include
Italy and the international community to monitor and financially support the full implementation of the CPA. In addition, the statement calls for the NCP, the SPLM and the freedom fighters in
Darfur, as well as the international actors, to peacefully resolve the current crisis in
Simon Deng (middle) and Slater Armstrong (right) leading a group discussion
The conference, endorsed by over 22 Sudanese and American based NGO and Church groups, urges Sudanese from North, South, East and West, Christians and Muslims, and American friends to stand in solidarity for peace, justice and democracy in a New
Sudan. Speakers urged the attendees to expand the message of peace and reconciliation through grassroots mobilization efforts in the
United States, in coordination with Sudanese in
Australia, and, more importantly, to the people on the ground in
The situation in
Darfur and brewing conflict over the construction of the Kajbar Dam in
Nubia were among the highlights of the discussions. Many speakers urged for the speedy deployment of UN-AU hybrid forces to
Darfur, unity among the various factions in
Darfur, disarming of the Janjaweed militias, and for coordinated efforts by the international community to find a political settlement to crisis.
On the sunny winter day, the march to the demonstration, organized by the SPLM and the Marginalized Forces Forum for peace and development, raised slogans calling for an end to genocide in
Darfur, implementation of the CPA as agreed upon, resolution of the Abyei conflict, support to the SPLM, and calls for a New Sudan.
Protesters listening to speakers at
In front of the White House
Lafayette Square in front of the White House, speaker after speaker reiterated the theme for peace and reconciliation, and the need to reach out to others. Faith McDonnell Director of the IRD’s Church Alliance for a New Sudan and Jimmy Mulla (author of the article) President of Southern Sudanese Voice for Freedom (SSVF), founding members of the Sudan Coalition, offered words of encouragement and called on members of the U.S Congress and the Bush Administration to continue to lead the international effort for peace in Sudan. The level of commitment to ensure peace is best exemplified by White Joshua Walla, one of the core founding members of SSVF, who made it to the event though he was under the weather. Tom Prichard, the director of Sudan Sunrise also spoke in both events, offering words of support and encouragement for peace and reconciliation among Sudanese people. Deng Deng Nhial, and
Anwar El Haj of SPLM Washington, DC chapter laid out the position of the party in regards to the current crisis, and the vision for the future of a New and democratic
They both called on all Sudanese to rally behind this vision. The remarkable event was summed up by Slater Armstrong, one of the American friends of
Sudan, who sang a song from his CD which is a recording of beautiful gospel music in
Sudan. November 18th was one remarkable day in which Sudanese from the various regions of
Sudan, and American friends, came together in solidarity for peace and reconciliation.
An initiative, which if promoted, can usher
Sudan into a new era.