The Three Realities of Peacemaking in South Sudan
Peacebuilding requires a vision of relationship. Stated bluntly, if there is no capacity to imagine the canvas of mutual relationships and situate oneself as part of that historic and ever-evolving web, peacebuilding collapses. (John Paul Lederach, The Moral Imagination)
The insight of Lederach is exactly why we have been involved in the peacemaking process in South Sudan. Our vision at HVG is to see relationships restored and communities renewed. Therefore, we believe it is essential to continue down the path of helping to bring peace to South Sudan.
Yet, I have noticed these three realities when it has come to our involvement.
First, it is easy to de-humanize the devastation that is happening.
People quickly, and literally, de-face the war. It is a matter of breaking down violence into “Government vs. Rebels” etc. Yet, until we learn to re-humanize what is happening, the road to restoration will be fractured.
One suggestion is to take time to understand the most effected people in South Sudan from the war are vulnerable women and children. Yes, literally take time to envision their faces, their dreams, their hopes. Learn to re-face.
Second, the vast majority of news coming out of South Sudan is negative.
Sure, there are absolutely terrible realities that must be reported, but there are quite tangible victories that are taking place as well.
For instance, Yei, South Sudan is being repopulated and businesses are opening. Part of this is due to the peacemaking processes that have been taking place.
Here is a great article to see this reality: https://radiotamazuj.org/en/news/article/yei-s-human-rights-situation-improved-residents
The truth is there are many good and terrible stories in South Sudan. Both exist.
Finally, many people have asked, “Are you pro-government or pro-rebels?” Our response is “We are pro-peace”.
Whoever aligns with peace, we are for. Whoever does not, we would like the opportunity to convince them of another path.
As we embark on 2018 I will be leaving for South Sudan Jan. 11-21 in order to meet with multiple leaders from various factions (including the President and Vice President). Please pray for continued favor to walk along the South Sudanese in order to bring grassroots peace.
So far we have been asked to conduct peacemaking discussions in all 32 states of South Sudan. We have covered 5 to this point and are looking to steadily see peace in every state.
Thank you for all the ways you support. As always, if you have any questions, please let me know.