…there was little surprising or revealing about the external dimensions of the conflict imposed upon Sudan….the national dialogue conference (Khartoum, November 1989) noted the part played by the pre-Independence British administration in separating the two parts of Sudan from each other, using and exploiting the South as a missionary ghetto, and leaving it backward and under-developed at the time of independence
Impact International, Vol. 19:21, London, 10-23 November 1989
The ugly scenes today, almost twenty five years later, of refugees around Juba seeking protection in UN camps are not those to gladden any heart. The plight of the Southern Sudanese peoples caught in the cross-fire is tragic. The media is warning of us on an “all out ethnic conflict”. The voices notably silent today are those British MPs and Peers who so vociferously championed the breakup of Sudan and the creation of the ‘Republic of South Sudan’ in July 2011.
The leader John Garang was feted as a hero in western capitals as a champion fighting an “oppressive Muslim majority”. After Garang’s death in 2005, the next President of the country was the cowboy-hat wearing Salva Kiir Mayardit, a gift from George Bush. He is a deadly opponent of former vice president Riek Machar – one belonging to the Nuer tribe, the other a Dinka.
Many Sudanese warned that partitioning of their country would be a disaster, and so it has turned out.
And who were the British public figures and parliamentarians so vocal in the 1980s onwards in the cause for an independent Southern Sudan? Well, read on.
Best known perhaps was Baroness Caroline Cox, who felt great empathy for the ‘prosecuted’ Christians. An article in 2004 noted: “Cox has been in and out of the ‘no-go’ areas of Sudan 28 times over the past four years. Her visits included buying freedom for Dinka and Nuer people from the heavily Christian southern region.” After an earlier visit her emotions were at a high-pitch: “We’re touched by the strength in their faces. The radiance in their love. The purity of their faith…It’s only where these people are suffering in these extreme situations that you actually find that ultimate joy, that peace which passes all understanding….”.
It was a seriously misplaced endorsement for the partitioning of a Muslim nation now leading to untold misery. If you can’t have regime change, then why not act as midwife that cajoles a premature birth?
Baroness Cox’s enthusiasm was a neo-missionary romanticism which unfortunately has morphed into more vocal alarmist statements on Muslims in Britain and the ‘harshness’ of the shariah in recent years.