January 21, 2018

Blog-free month

Hi everyone

I’m entering into a blog-free month as I concentrate on book drafting. ln so doing I’ll miss all the commemorations (and commiserations) that have already begun around the fifth anniversary of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

At this time I find myself reflecting on my first trip to South Sudan in 2004, six months before the CPA was signed – and remembering all the hope and excitement there was about the world of possibilities that would open up when a much-longed-for peace finally came. But then I, along with the rest of the world, got diverted by the atrocities in Darfur, which undoubtedly required attention. If only our our attention had come in addition to, rather than at the expense of, an ongoing focus on the South (and indeed a focus on the country and region as a whole). Why is it we seem capable of dealing with only one crisis at a time? and of only paying attention the minute before (or more commonly after) total disaster strikes?

As resources get drawn back towards the South, as indeed they must, let us not this time focus on one part of the country at the expense of the whole. The UN’s currently favored descriptor of Darfur, “calm but unpredictable” is not catastrophic enough to keep it among the top few items in an overcrowded policy agenda, especially now that another part of the same country is getting the warning of a “collapse into chaos” attached to it. But to now ignore Darfur in an effort to stabilize the South will just serve to repeat the same mistakes made over the past five years. . .

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