There’s a lot of Chrome buzz. . .

Interesting article. A scroll through shows a lot more of interest. Bravo!

Markers in a Writing Life

…as the Belmont Stakes at Pimlico Race Course, last leg in the Triple Crown, approaches. The rivalry between the West Coast racing establishment and the East Coast thoroughbred industry ratchets up another notch. Not since 1978 has any horse seized all three of racing’s prize jewels.

There stalks California Chrome, a west coast bred entry from regular guy Joe-owners. Steve Coburn and Perry Martin bred dam Love the Chase to Lucky Pulpit, a horse that walked in the winner’s circle only three times out of 22 starts. Love the Chase managed that status once in six races. But Coburn and Martin studied the bloodlines and saw something that amounted to a winner at a basement bargain price. With Secretariat, Seattle Slew and A.P.Indy in California Chrome’s background, they bought Love the Chase, watched California Chrome take his first steps, and began the road to glory. Next, veteran trainer Art Sherman…

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IS SOUTH SUDAN A CURSED LAND?

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Ayuel Leek Deng, a South Sudanese of the Diaspora, is guest author. He gives his inside thoughts of the state of his beloved South Sudan, now that war has again broken out—this time the government fighting off an attempted coup.

South Sudanese voices, calling for peace and national calm, are getting tired and too low to be heard. No one knows whether South Sudan is a cursed land where human blood flows together with crude oil to generate national funds or if it is the nature of the South Sudanese people to live in a culture of war and of killing each other. Every time one might think of the beloved country, the only thought that comes to mind is the sufferings of the local citizens— mainly the elderly, children, and women who are always struggling to make a living from scratch; a country in which its government has failed to provide food, security, and stability.

The thought of recalling South Sudan as a resourceful country and a colorful nation must remain on hold until the South Sudanese people are united under one flag. Instead of a land of the South Sudanese ancestors cursing its people, why not pray the Lord our God to curse wrong doers, the leaders, and uproot them from power to end their shortsightedness of power-hungry motives, corruption, and self-greed. Some people think those leaders who are seeking power through a coup attempt and force will never succeed and that their days are numbered. How is it that the newest nation on the world’s list could fail to recognize the outcome of its long-term sufferings and the agony of war? How could an oil-rich country and a blessed nation with its 64 ethnic tribes not unite its own people under one nation and dwell within a unifying call?

Millions have died, thousands and thousands have fled to foreign lands for refuge or protection, and still the motherland seems to demand more human blood to quench its thirst. Even amid great despair and mistrust among south Sudanese citizens, there is a ray of hope in God to end such a bloody and unexpected ongoing political butchery in this country. Many people across the globe have stood in solidarity to support the people of South Sudan for decade after decade. Their support, thoughts and prayers have never left us, but it seems the people of South Sudan has failed to embrace the peace and freedom given to it, for which so many have died to achieve. However, now the nation is tiring and failing apart.

The South Sudanese should continue to ask God for guidance and protection since many innocent people have become human shields caught between two sides of the ongoing conflict.  Many civilians are dying day after day mostly in the oil-rich regions of Unity State, Jongeli State, and Upper Nile State. Many South Sudanese do believe that no man is greater than God. Everyone in the country is now condemning wrong leaders and are praying day and night to see a change in ethnic tension and brutal killings between Dinka and Nuer. Many people are asking the international community for intervention and for God to help in solving and restoring peace within the country.  In Juba, spiritual leaders are calling for all the citizens to live in peace and maintain the spirit of unity and national solidarity regardless of tribal connections.

The only obstacle facing national oneness and tranquility is the presence of power-hungry and greedy leaders whose intention is to destroy the spirit of nationality. They have evil thoughts of toppling the government by force and allowing people to kill each other while their own families are living in comfortable places in neighboring and western countries. They have already stored millions of dollars in their personal accounts. Such heartless leaders deserve lifetime prison sentences and ICC court condemnation to end their short-sighted thoughts of forgetting innocent lives at the grassroots.  Most people are asking God to give such leaders peace of mind and thoughts of dignity so that they can at least comprehend the value of human lives.

Some people believe God alone can resolve tribal differences and restore peace and stability among its people. Why is it for us to have no peaceful place of origin, no place to call sweet home? For how long will our people live in exile? South Sudan is known as a land of opportunity and many resources, but we lack the capacity to live in peace and harmony. South Sudanese are still wandering around inside and outside the country, hoping and waiting to hear of an everlasting peace accord, brought through the promised outcome of negotiation. The South Sudanese people need intervention from the international community and pressure for peace from the United Nations.

We the South Sudanese people living in the Diaspora need room to help in nation building, for we bring in different skills sets and experiences. we need  to show people at home how to maintain stability and prosperity progression in the country. We need to train and educate the people to embrace national dialogue and to have peaceful thoughts of coexisting among themselves. We must fight tribalism and individualism and restore unity and harmony within this newest nation. We must educate our people on the democracy and allow transformation to prevail at all levels.

I do consider myself an agent to bring change and help in shedding a brighter light to end such brutality and mass killings among brothers and sisters of the same nation.  Our people need lifetime guidance and protections from well-wishing individuals and volunteer workers. The people need education to fight against illiteracy and poverty. We must educate our local people to distance themselves from those politicians who are planning to gain power through force and ethnic means. They should seek their right to rule at the ballot box.

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AYUEL LEEK RETURNS TO HIS MOTHERLAND

[Note: Ayuel Leek Deng, guest writer and one of the principal characters in Courageous Journey, recently returned to the United States after his first trip to South Sudan since it became a separate country from Sudan.]

Ayuel Leek Deng arrives in Juba

“Returning to South Sudan I had mixed feelings of happiness and sadness as I boarded a plane from Kansas City to Chicago on May 26, 2012. From there I took British Airways to London and then proceeded to Kampala where I spent the first night in my motherland.  The following morning, I woke up thinking of Juba, the new capital city of South Sudan, the land on which a portion of my own blood dripped, as a child fleeing the cruelty of my own government.

“On Friday the first of June, I landed at the airport of that city with a sense of pride and guilt of growing up in foreign lands for over 22 years away from home.  At the airport, those mixed feelings of happiness and sadness clouded my ability to concentrate on checkout and exit the airport without any trouble with airport personnel. In the checkout process, one of the employees who checked my passport asked me to pay $100 for an entrance visa because I was holding a US passport.

“I was shocked and remained speechless for a moment. I believe with all my heart that I have contributed more than enough for my country. I lost many of my immediate family members in the Civil War for the freedom our country, I co-authored the book titled Courageous Journey, Walking the Lost Boys’ Path from the Sudan to America to educate the world about the hidden genocide in Sudan and to pressure the international community to bring peace and stability in Sudan. I worked tirelessly during the referendum while abroad to ensure that the results and interests of our people are met.  Since the only thought in my mind was for us to develop the new nation, I did not hesitate to respect the law and paid the unjust fee. However that experience makes me fear that corruption is already settling in.

A Street Scene in Juba

“On my way from the airport to the house at Thangpiny—the name derived from the Dinka language meaning all lands are equal—I was sitting in the car back seat with all windows rolled down. I couldn’t believe what my eyes were staring at! Juba city is very crowded and at that particular time one could see the biggest gap between the poor and those who claim to be rich or upper class citizens. Some people were driving the most expensive cars that are even rare to see in the western countries.

“I did enjoy staying in that warm and peaceful new country with friendly and caring people. Juba is a diverse city where one can see all kind of people, of all races, religions and different cultural backgrounds. Within Juba there is a wide variety of facilities and entertainments. I was amazed to realize that Juba is the fastest growing city in the world. The country is developing very rapidly with unlimited opportunities for investment and cooperation.  I did enjoy my trip to Juba except for the images of small children aged from 2 to 12 years old on the streets, begging and starving to death right under the eyes of corrupt leaders.

“These are not the only tragedies in my mind that’s often disturbs my thoughts as I hope for a better tomorrow in South Sudan. Regardless of all these scary challenges, I do still call it a home that I belong to.”      —Ayuel Leek Deng

SOUTH SUDAN

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Activists Show Solidarity with the People of Sudan

In the wake of escalating violence in Sudan and South Sudan over the past two weeks, activists came together in New York City, Washington DC and on Facebook to urge President Obama and Congress to immediately impose further sanctions on Sudan in response to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s ongoing atrocities and blockade of humanitarian assistance.

With your calls, emails and rallies, we are succeeding in pushing legislation in response to the urgent and growing humanitarian needs of the Sudanese people. We now have the support of 73 members of Congress.

For more information and/or to help. Click here.

Tell your congressperson to stand up for the people
of Sudan by co-sponsoring the Sudan Peace,
Security and Accountability Act.

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Sudan and South Sudan on the Brink of Another Civil War

Recently I received this email from Beny Ngor Chol, one of the subjects of Courageous Journey. It serves here as an introduction to the tragic events now occurring in the disputes over sharing oil revenue and defining the border between north and south.

Beny from Unity State

I have been very busy with what is happening in my hometown back in Unity State (Panrieng), South Sudan.The Sudan government has been bombarding the civilians in our homes and attacking our military base at the South Sudan border which has led to the fighting that has occurred along the two countries borders. However, the international community is blaming the victim (South Sudan’s government and its people) instead of blaming the Sudan government. They are asking our troops to withdraw from the oil area moving southward despite the fact that the oil area is within South Sudan’s border. This has made me question the stand of the international community in regard to  Sudan’s long [north/south] civil war that has taken millions of civilian lives and displaced over 4 million people.

I will attempt to trace the major points of the conflict in recent days, although the disagreements and attacks from the north have been on-going since the Republic of South Sudan became a separate nation 9 July, 2011.

Earlier in the month negotiations between the two countries that were being mediated by the African Union broke down in Ethiopia.

April 20, 2012: In a video message at the White House, President Obama urged Sudan and South Sudan to end their fighting and begin negotiations to settle the intensifying conflict. He put part of the onus on the government of Sudan, which he said “must stop its military actions, including aerial bombardments.”

“Likewise,” Obama said, “South Sudan must end its support for armed groups inside Sudan and it must cease its military actions across the border.”

The United States, the United Nations and the African Union condemned South Sudan for sending troops into Heglig earlier this month and driving the two countries to the brink of war. But South Sudan has reason to believe that Heglig (the area that they call Pantho) is legitimately part of South Sudan’s Unity State, per the 1/1/1956 agreement.

April 16, 2012: The South Sudanese communities around the world, known as the South Sudan Volunteer Initiative (SSVI)* have sent a petition with over 1000 signatures to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, with copies to the United States and others in the international community, calling for stopping “the ongoing carnage being committed by Sudan and facilitate an immediate return to the negotiation table in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.”

The petition further states, “…we find it shocking to see the level in which [Sudan] has been able to easily deceive the international community on the current crisis….This redrawing of the map in South Sudan by the regime in Khartoum as a result of oil discovery is clearly documented, and thus the reason for the continuous attack on South Sudan, an apparent campaign to annex South Sudan’s oil producing state of Unity to the North.”

The document lists acts of atrocities committed by the Khartoum government against South Sudan, including a raid and looting of Vice President Riek Machar’s home in which seven of his relatives were rounded up and taken to an unknown location. The international community is urged to “act now.”

April 29, 2012: Sudan declared a state of emergency on Sunday along much of its border with South Sudan as the momentum toward all-out war continues to build after weeks of clashes over disputed areas and oil. President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s decree gives authorities in the border areas wide powers to make arrests and set up special courts. It was issued a day after Sudan detained three foreigners and a South Sudanese near the border and accused them of spying for South Sudan, a charge the South denies.

South Sudan, meanwhile, said Sunday that it would remove its security forces from the contested region of Abyei in response to demands from the African Union and the United Nations Security Council. “We are not occupying any contested area,” said South Sudan’s minister of information, Barnaba Marial Benjamin.

But reports of fighting continued through the weekend. On Saturday, Sudanese aircraft bombed Panakuach, a town near the border in Unity State, Mr. Benjamin said. And on Sunday, South Sudan’s army said clashes with what it called a militia group backed by Sudan left 21 people dead in Malakal, near the border. (Information by ISMA’IL KUSHKUSH and JOSH KRON/New York Times.)

May 2. A note from Beny who is a leader in the SSVI sent me this note today: “The task force committee for this group will hold the first meeting this week end in Kansas City, Mo stay tuned for the outcome.”

 

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Article Spotlights “Sudan Sunrise”

Tom Prichard, founder and director of Sudan Sunrise, poses with children in Turalei, South Sudan, the hometown of pro-basketball star Manute Bol, who dreamed of building schools here. Mr. Prichard has Bol Bol on his shoulder, a member of Mr. Bol’s family and a student at the Manute Bol Primary School.

This week a feature in the Christian Science Monitor magazine tells the story of the growth of Sudan Sunrise, founded by American Tom Prichard to promote religious harmony and build schools in the new nation of South Sudan.

The movement is an amazing coalition of Sudanese, Americans and others, whose hearts resonate to Manute Bol’s dream of working together to build 41 schools for children of whatever tribe, religion, or ethnic background.

For the link to the article, click here.

Also check out other posts on Manute Bol (under Categories) and Sudan Sunrise (under Links) in SudanFaces.

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