Sudan cardinal evaluates peacemaker's legacy

Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako of Khartoum has said that in the wake of the peace agreement brokered by the late Vice-president of Sudan John Garang, the people are "starting to speak a new language".

Cardinal Wako (pictured) told the MISNA news agency that Dr Garang's death in a helicopter crash earlier this week "comes at an inopportune time".

"Now that Garang is no longer with us, it's up to the people of Sudan to move the peace process that he also started forward.

Garang, former head of the South Sudanese rebels, was vice-president for only 21 days, before being killed en route from Uganda.

"Perhaps his death is also a way to re-evaluate the good he has accomplished," said Cardinal Wako. "If last 9 July a new Constitution ending the war was signed, it's also thanks to Garang's effort".

"The most important legacy he leaves the people of Sudan is the urgency to relauch development, especially in rural areas and in favour of the poorest people throughout the country, not only the south, but the north, the east and the west of Sudan"

"Despite his authoritarianism, he gave people time to reflect on the future of Sudan, which he imagined as a country where there is a place for all citizens offering his attention toward people living in misery.

Meanwhile Christianity Today comments that although John Garang was born into a Christian family, he is unlikely to make it into any "heroes of the faith" lists. As founder and leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, he is reported to have committed numerous human rights abuses, including forcibly recruiting child soldiers, killing thousands of civilians, and taking political prisoners.

"Nevertheless, his appointment as vice-president of Sudan was a huge step forward for the country—the result of a difficult peace agreement in January between Garang and Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir. About two million people had died in the 21-year civil war between the Muslim north and the Christian and animist south."

Sudan After Garang (Christianity Today 1/8/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Government of Sudan

Garang's death: Body to be brought to Juba, 'capital' of South Sudan (Missionary Service News Agency 2/8/05)
Garang's death: comment from Archbishop of Khartoum (Missionary Service News Agency 2/8/05)
Sudan shaken by former rebel leader's death (Catholic World News 1/8/05)
Vice president John Garang killed in helicopter crash (Missionary Service News Agency 1/8/05)
Garang's death: A missionary from Nairobi (Missionary Service News Agency 1/8/05)
Biography of John Garang (Missionary Service News Agency 1/8/05)
Garang's death… comments from Darfour (Missionary Service News Agency 1/8/05)
Sudan riots after Garang death (Reuters/The Australian 1/8/05)
Obituary: John Garang (BBC 1/8/05)

3 Aug 2005