There are many seemingly intractable situations in South Sudan but one that has gotten a fair bit of attention recently is the ongoing violence in Jonglei state. As we sit in this Holy Week, there is an update on the situation, in the form of a report from Daniel Deng Bul, Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and a lead negotiator in Jonglei.
The Committee feels that there is a new momentum for peace in Jonglei State at all levels, from the grassroots right up the national government. We appeal to all stakeholders within Jonglei and South Sudan to put aside their differences and take this opportunity to work together for peace, reconciliation and tolerance. Enough is enough.
We appeal to all to speak the language of peace, reconciliation and tolerance, particularly our diaspora and intellectuals. We must all accept responsibility for what we say and what we do, to give peace a chance in Jonglei and the whole of South Sudan.
I highlight this for two reasons. First, it’s a reminder of the way our sisters and brothers in Christ around the world are on the frontlines of some difficult situations. It’s one thing, as I did last night, to sit and look at images of violence in the world and reflect on daily crucifixions in this world. It’s entirely another, as members of Archbishop Daniel’s commission will do tomorrow, to visit devastated villages on Good Friday and see the cross in our midst.
Second, it is always worth highlighting—since it seems it is so easily forgotten—that in many parts of the world, it is the church that is the active agent for peace and reconciliation in society, in part because that is the church’s calling but also because in some cases the church is the most well-established organization in society.
Daniel Deng Bul, incidentally, was recently nominated by a British think-tank for their person of the year award.