Reports are coming out about some of the atrocities that are happening. War is horrific. It is something that I can’t wrap my mind around. I don’t think fighting is a good way to solve anything, but I won’t pretend that I have the answers to these things either. Perhaps its one thing if its soldiers and armies fighting opposing solders and armies. It is not something I understand, but it is at least something that seems in some (twisted) way, logical.
But this fighting has not just been the government against the opposition. Hospitals are being targeted. Women are being raped and beheaded. Children and disabled people are being shot. People have been rounded up and shot just based on their ethnicity. People are crying out for peace and unity while what little infrastructure South Sudan had built up is being destroyed.
So many of us are struggling to understand. We know that evil exists in the world, but what is it that is in people that is capable of such destruction? This is beyond fighting for a cause that people believe in and in many instances it is destruction for destructions sake.
There are lots of issues. Lack of accountability for atrocities in the past. People who have been living in an independent South Sudan for a few years now and have yet to see any benefits or improvements in their own lives. People are frustrated and angry. And I know that I don’t even begin to understand all of it.
And it seems hopeless to many. Is peace even possible? And I think that those who are being realistic see that if it is that it is something that will take many, many years. Decades.
I’ve crossed paths with a few of South Sudanese refugees here in Nairobi. One is a guy from one of the two main tribes who are fighting. He managed to escape Juba during the fighting–no small thing–as people from his tribe who are still in Juba don’t even dare to venture out of the IDP camps. He has family still there. Another is a guy who just came from Malakal, in the northern part of the country. Where the opposition has taken and, from what I can gather from a lot of the reports, basically have destroyed and looted much of the town. There is fighting there because of the close proximity to oil fields and both sides want to be control of the oil. A very powerful card to have.
I think many of us feel powerless. I do, anyway. I can’t be in South Sudan right now. And, truthfully, I don’t want to be because I don’t think I could cope right now. But if I were, what could I even do? Everything I could offer feels so insignificant in light of massive losses of life.
I hope to keep connecting with the South Sudanese community here. It is nice to feel connected. Though, powerless still. They have lost everything and still have families in unsafe areas that they can’t get ahold of. I’ve had a rough year. But how can I even say that? I know that it is not a comparison game. But I am sad. Very sad. It is beyond my comprehension. So I keep praying though I don’t always have the words. And I ask that you would do the same.