In November 2007, I was able to go to southern Sudan. A local pastor, Charles, painted a very vivid picture of what it was like during the civil war prior to the 2005 peace treaty. Looking out at the field before us, he replayed just one instance of troops invading the village- lines of soldiers, shoulder to shoulder, coming in on each side. The people are defenseless in this village. Their tukuls provide little protection. While exploring one afternoon, I discovered some sort of explosive roped off in the grass that failed to explode. The people would cover their roofs with brush and branches to conceal them from the planes.
In March 2008, John Mark McMillan, Aaron Strumpel, and Travis Aicklen set out to make a difference in southern Sudan. They rocked for water. Scheduling eight shows in California, these bands used their giftings and musical abilities to promote a need, or better yet, a response. Every night, Travis would talk about what he experienced in southern Sudan (we went together). He would tell the crowd, “You spend your money on worthless things. People who were going to die are going to live because you gave.” And they did. They gave generously. Two weeks and eight shows later, $26,000 was raised. Since that time, one well has been dug with two more on the way (last I heard).
The NY Times just published this story: Violence Grips South Sudan as Vote Nears (PLEASE READ)
In the past, these rivalries occasionally became violent, with maybe a few warriors killed on each side. But the recent attacks seem more like infantry maneuvers. In one massacre this March, 17 villages were besieged and more than 700 people killed, according to United Nations officials….Diing Akol Diing, a county commissioner near Duk Padiet, keeps pictures of victims on his computer: Children with bullet holes in their chest. Old women curled up in pools of blood. Emaciated militia fighters in smart new camouflage.
“This is madness,” he says.
He clicks on a photograph of a dozen people wrapped in blankets, buried in a ditch.
“Mass graves?” he says. “We’ve never had mass graves.”
There is just a year until the peace treaty expires. It sounds like the north is preparing. It sounds like the south is scared, hoping to hold out, hoping for independence. It sounds like we need to rock again- not for water, but for the people- for their hopes, for their freedom…for their very lives. The world learned of Darfur too late. Let’s not let this happen with the south. Let’s not wait until another 2 million men, women, and children are dead. Let us help to give them voice. Let us proclaim their story. Let’s Rock for South Sudan.
I’m not sure what to do. I just want to help and I want you to help, too. Are you in?
If so, watch this video from Journeyman Pictures. If not, watch this video from Journeyman Pictures. (August 2006)
This video is from June 1993 and will give you some context.