Meditation Focus #17
HUMANITARIAN CRISIS AND WAR IN SUDAN
Web posted on September 1 for the week beginning Sunday September 3
What follows is the 17th Meditation Focus suggested by the Global
Meditation Focus Group for the week beginning Sunday September 3.
HUMANITARIAN CRISIS AND WAR IN SUDAN
2. Meditation Times
3. More information on this week's Focus + Healing suggestions included at the end
The 17-year-old civil war in Sudan, between the Muslim government of the North and the largely Christian Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) of the South, is Africa's longest-running conflict. It has resulted in the deaths of an estimated two million people and the displacement of a further four million, as well as human rights violations by both sides, including the torture and enslavement of tens of thousands of men, women, and children.
The existence of oilfields in the Upper Nile region, which are defended by the Islamic regime, may explain why Western governments have done little to intervene. The revenues from the oilfields are thought to be fuelling the war by being used to buy weapons. The SPLA is now reported to be within 10 miles of the oilfields, and according to a recent report in London's Sunday Telegraph, China has sent in 700,000 troops, under the request of the Islamic regime, to guard the oilfields in which the China National Petroleum Corporation is a leading partner. As fighting has escalated, attacks have stepped up on civilian and relief targets, including schools, hospitals and feeding stations, making it impossible for agencies to deliver aid.
Please hold in your heart and mind a vision, as guided by Spirit during your meditation, of the cessation of all hostilities and of the successful deployment of all the urgently needed assistance in this part of the world. See the growth of forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, and the awareness of shared needs and common identity, between all parties involved. May peace prevail in Sudan, for the highest good of all.
2. MEDITATION TIMES
i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes with a special Earth Healing Focus in the last few minutes.
ii) Golden Moment of At-Onement: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.
These times below are currently corresponding to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT:
Honolulu 06:00 -- Los Angeles 09:00 -- Denver & San Salvador 10:00 --
Mexico City, Houston & Chicago 11:00 -- New York, Toronto, Montreal,
Asuncion & Santiago 12:00 -- Rio de Janeiro & Montevideo 13:00 -- Reykjavik
& Casablanca 16:00 -- London, Algiers & Lagos 17:00 -- Geneva, Rome,
Berlin, Paris, Johannesburg & Madrid 18:00 -- Athens, Helsinki, Jerusalem,
Nairobi & Istanbul 19:00 -- Moscow & Baghdad 20:00 -- Tehran 20:30 --
Islamabad 21:00 -- Calcutta & New Delhi 21:30 -- Dhaka 22:00 -- Rangoon
22:30 -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 23:00 -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing &
Kuala Lumpur 00:00+ -- Seoul & Tokyo 01:00+ -- Brisbane, Canberra &
Melbourne 02:00+ -- Wellington 04:00+
(+ means the place is one day ahead of Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time)
3. MORE INFORMATION ON THIS WEEK'S FOCUS
This section is for those who wish to understand in more detail the situation of this week's Meditation Focus. For those who wish to read on, we would encourage you to view the following information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision you wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mindset, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of healing. We provide the details below because we recognise that the knowledge of what needs healing can assist us to stucture our awareness to maximise our healing effect.
i) The Nature of the Crisis
The 17-year-old civil war in Sudan is Africa's longest-running conflict, and has resulted in the deaths of an estimated two million people and the displacement of a further four million, as well as gross human rights violations by both sides, including the torture and enslavement of tens of thoudands of men, women, and children, and the use of child soldiers as young as 11. It has turned the famine there into a disaster requiring the largest emergency relief operation in the world in 1998.
The conflict is between the Muslim Arab government of the North and the largely Christian Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) of the South. About 70 percent of the people of Sudan are Muslims, some 25 percent follow traditional religions, and most of the remainder are Christians. After some 40 years of intermittent fighting a truce has failed to bring a lasting peace. The SPLA has stated that it will accept nothing less than complete independence for southern Sudan.
Apart from the issue of where the boundary between north and south would lie, one of the main issues that have stalled peace talks is the government's unwillingness to separate state and religion. After parliament attempted to reduce his powers, military leader General Omar Hassan al-Bashir dissolved the legislature and suspended parts of the constitution in December 1999. The ruling National Islamic Front (NIF) has imposed the National Security Act to allow security agents to arbitrarily detain anyone for up to six months without judicial oversight in secret detention centres, where torture and ill-treatment are reported to be commonplace. All forms of political opposition remain banned legally and through systematic terror.
The existence of oilfields in the Upper Nile region, which are defended by the NIF, may explain why Western governments have done little to intervene. The revenues from the oilfields are thought to be fuelling the war by being spent on weapons (which have been entering the Horn of Africa for the past half century). The SPLA is now reported to be within 10 miles of the oilfields, and according to a report in London's Sunday Telegraph (August 27, 2000), China has sent in 700,000 troops, under the request of the NIF, to guard the oilfields in which the China National Petroleum Corporation is a leading partner. As fighting has escalated, the NIF has stepped up attacks on civilian and relief targets, including schools, hospitals and feeding stations, making it impossible for agencies to deliver aid.
China puts '700,000 troops' on Sudan alert (27 August 2000)
TENS of thousands of Chinese troops and prisoners forced to work as security guards have been moved into Sudan. They have been sent in preparation for a big offensive against southern rebels to try to bring to an end one of Africa's longest-running conflicts, according to Western counter-terrorism officials. The Chinese have been brought in by aircraft and ship, ostensibly to guard Sudan's increasingly productive oilfields in which the China National Petroleum Corporation is a leading partner.
An internal document from the Sudanese military said that as many as 700,000 Chinese security personnel were available for action. Three flights a week have been taking the Chinese into Sudan since work on the oilfields started three years ago. Diplomats in Khartoum, however, cast doubt on the numbers.
Sudan oilfields reignite civil war (28 March 2000)
SUDAN'S forgotten war, in which two million have died and four million have been internally displaced, has been cruelly reignited by conflict around the oilfields of Upper Nile.
The war in the Sudan is Africa's longest-running conflict, pitting the Islamic government in Khartoum against the south's mainly Christian rebel movement. After some 40 years of intermittent fighting a truce has failed to bring a lasting peace.
Slave traders cash in on human misery (8 February 2000)
Southern Sudan has been wracked by war for centuries. The civil war, which has been waged most fiercely since 1983, is only part of a long history of strife between two very different cultures. Most of the people around Yargot are Christian or animist Dinkas, who make up most of the main southern rebel movement, the Sudanese Peoples' Liberation Army, which is fighting the Arab and Islamist government in Khartoum. But political groups matter little here. Beneath the names and affiliations lies the resurrection of a centuries-old tradition of Arab slave raids on their southern neighbours.
That tradition is now exploited by government-sponsored militias unleashed by Khartoum on the separatist south. The most fiercesome is the People's Defence Force, made up of Arab horsemen from the nomadic Baggara tribes just north of the Dinka. Often hundreds-strong, they sweep down on the Dinka villages, burning huts, killing the men and kidnapping women and children. The captives are then forced to carry the Arabs' plunder on the march back north.
China Puts 700,000 Troops on Alert in Sudan
China's involvement in the ongoing civil war may prove to be the most unusual twist, and may represent the largest movement of one army into another country that went completely undetected by other nations. A Western aid worker in southern Sudan told the Telegraph, "Everyone knows what is going on. We've all seen the Chinese being brought in and can only pray about what's going to happen next."
Human Right Watch website: World Report 2000 Entry + Famine in Sudan: The Human Rights Causes + Much much more at www.hrw.org/hrw/pubweb/Webcat-93.htm
Sudan's geography (inclusing a map), people, history, economy and government at http://www.sudan.net/
Full Coverage at http://headlines.yahoo.com/Full_Coverage/World/Sudan
ii) Healing the Crisis
The above crisis has religious, political, and economic root causes, and is by no means restricted to Sudan. The global trade in arms and petrochemicals, the lack of scrutiny by the global media, the support of Islamic fundamentalists, and the reluctance of Western governments to get involved for economic reasons, all serve to demonstrate this. Whether the values that underpin these activities are materialistic or religious in nature, we suggest that they are based upon a desire for the acquisition of power at the expense of others. Therefore there are two stages of the healing process in Sudan.
The first stage consists of healing the ego-based alienation, insecurity, and aggression that gives rise to war and the misqualified pursuit of power. Love and genuine receptivity to Spirit will disolve these fear-based patterns. The second stage consists of healing the conflict itself and the destruction it has caused. We suggest focusing on the willingness to create the necessary awareness, opportunities, relationships, and structures that are required for stimulating the peace process, monitoring human rights, enabling aid agencies to operate, and rebuilding communities (which will require the rehabilitation and reintegration of traumatised adults and children). Forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, and an awareness of shared needs and common identity is important for this to succeed. This task involves the whole world, as well as Sudan - for everything is interconnected. International attention can no longer afford to be averted.
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