Eye on Sudan

When exiled Sudanese Bishop Macram Max Gassis introduced the documentary The Hidden Gift: War and Faith in Sudan at its premier at Fordham University Lincoln Center last month, he said the eighty-four-minute film was "an eye opener to the catastrophe that is happening in Sudan." Last July, ABC’s "Nightline" ran a half-hour segment on Sudan, "Making a Difference." It concentrated on the work of Dr. Susan Nagele, an Illinois-born Maryknoll lay missioner who has spent the past nine years working in remote outposts in southern Sudan. Sudan is Africa’s largest country, and for the past seventeen years its 28 million people have been engulfed in civil war. The conflict pits an Islamic fundamentalist regime in the north, intent on imposing strict Islamic law on the entire country, against black African Christian and animist tribes in the south. The main rebel fighting contingent is known as the SPLA (Sudanese People’s Liberation Army). Two million people have died-more than in Rwanda, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Somalia combined-and 4 million more have been displaced. ABC’s cameras vividly conveyed the plight of one southern tribe, the Dinka, a herding people, among whom Nagele has ministered. The Dinka and their civilization are being systematically destroyed by aerial bombardment, famine, and enslavement. With fresh discoveries of oil in the south, the government in Khartoum has intensified its drive to crush the Dinka and other rebellious tribes. The...

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About the Author

Patrick Jordan is a former managing editor of Commonweal.