Turmoil in Sudan

Most people have heard something or other in passing about Sudan, but it seems that very few know what is really happening in this troubled African nation. After interviewing dozens of Ames High students of all grade levels, only a handful knew anything at all about what was going on. “I don’t know enough about the situation to give you an accurate response,” was the most common answer. Over the past few years, militia groups, unchecked by the current Sudanese government, have been systematically annihilating the citizens in the southern half of the country who have different religious beliefs than those that control the government. According to the official U.S. group in charge of helping Sudan, as many as 400,000 civilians have been killed over the past few years. “It’s pretty sad that no one is really doing anything,” senior Jim Strickland said. The reason that almost no action has been taken, is that profits will decrease for those who are making the decisions. The permanent members of the United Nations have nearly all been swayed before decisions were made. France has a major oil corporation that would be severely crippled by an oil embargo. Likewise, China sides with France due to its funds in Sudanese oil. Russia opposes economic sanctions due to its armament sales to the Sudanese government. The United States is conflicted as well. The CIA relies on the Sudanese government for information important for their war on terror. However, the Darfur Accountability Act, which has been approved by the Senate, states that the U.S. must freeze the assets of the Sudanese leaders as well as establish a no-fly zone over southern Sudan. Due to changes this would cause economically and militarily, the Bush administration is trying to keep the act from coming into effect. Sudan has had a very violent and shaky past. Sudan became a country on January 1, 1956, and held elections in 1958. Soon after, military leaders staged a coup, therefore taking control of the country. The leader of the coup resigned in 1964, and a revolt ensued, ending finally in 1972. Another civil war broke out in 1985. In 1994, 100,000 refuges were displaced while the government led an assault against the guerilla organization. This government was aided by the United States, and is allowing militia groups to commit atrocities throughout the country. Thousands more die each month, and with no end in sight the death toll may pass 500,000. Many things must be done before the conflict is resolved. However, every goal is attainable once a starting point is found. Once people begin working on the problem, the goal is far more likely to be obtained.