“South Sudan Oyee!”
By Catholic Diocese of Parramatta
|For a region mired by conflict and extreme poverty, the birth of the new nation of The Republic of South Sudan holds the promise of peace and genuine reconciliation.|
Social Justice Co-ordinator Evan Ellis
In his apostolic visit to Africa, Pope Benedict XVI declared that ‘...the time has come for Africa to be the Continent of Hope!’
July has shown both a glimpse of this promise being realised. On 9 July, the world welcomed its newest state: The Republic of South Sudan.
This has been a cause of considerable celebration in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta, with many in the Sudanese Diaspora now calling Western Sydney home.
Along the M4, cars zip past with the flag of South Sudan flapping franticly next to Australian flags, while African grocers from Blacktown to Penrith display the new flag proudly behind their shop counters.
But independence has not come cheaply.
Some two million Sudanese have died and at least as many have been displaced since the bitter civil war with the north began in the 1950s.
The war ended in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which guaranteed a vote on the issue of Southern succession. However, it wasn’t until January 2011 that this vote was carried out, with an overwhelming majority voting to secede.
For a region mired by conflict and extreme poverty, the birth of this new nation holds the promise of peace and genuine reconciliation.
John Cinya, Chair of the Sudanese Catholic Community of Sydney, spoke of the jubilation and relief that has spread through his community.
“Although we live here we are thinking of our people back home. There is pain but now there is hope. We are free.”
Celebrations have continued across Western Sydney throughout the month of July. The celebratory atmosphere, optimism and trust in God’s providence that is so evident at these gatherings finds expression in the opening verse of the nation’s new anthem.
We praise and glorify You
for Your grace on South Sudan,
Land of great abundance
uphold us united in peace and harmony.
The ‘land of great abundance’ is evidenced in South Sudan’s generous oil reserves, gold and other mineral deposits, while its wheat and cattle production could turn the South into a food bowl for its neighbours.
Go to the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Social Justice Office
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