Sunday, January 9, 2011
I am an eternal, unapologetic optimist.
Oh, my faith can be shaken when enough dark clouds move in. I can see the evil in people, and the best-laid plan gone awry. I don't sit in the dirt on the prairie, refusing to acknowledge that the wheels have gone off the wagon. I get it. Bad shit happens. Sometimes bad shit happens for an extended period of time - centuries even of ill intent, unfairness, exploitation and down-right evil. And for some pretty suspect reasons, if you ask me.
But, call me Pollyanna because it doesn't take more than a whisper-thin ray of light shining through the dark clouds before I see a path to the good. Hope bubbles to the surface, the wind fills the sails, and we got a ballgame folks. Go Team Light!
So, I must be feeling a bit out of sorts, this morning because I am not feeling the light about Sudan's upcoming vote for independence. Today, the mostly Christian people of Southern Sudan are voting to secede from the mostly Muslim northern seat of power in a bid for independence and dignity. But, there are masses of billowing, roiling dark clouds in the sky over that African nation, and I am having a hard time locating that sliver of light.
Here is yet another people taken over and reorganized by a steady stream of invaders. A people blocked from development by a government eager to maintain control of oil. A people persecuted and tortured by their own government -- featuring an administration that denies providing material support to the gangs and slavers who happen to fall on the right side of the power and religious divide. A people who watch their sons forced to join an enemy army and kill or be killed, and who watch their daughters be raped.
And, we in the US and other western nations say we support this independence movement, but is it freedom or oil that drives us? I fear it is the latter. And, when your rich uncle offers to protect you from abusive parents while fingering the family silver you have to wonder why he stopped by. So, I am having a difficult time imagining how a sliver of light can find a space to shine in Sudan.
But maybe the Southern Sudanese have enough vision for hope. Over the next 6 days, they will participate in their vote for independence. They will brave tricks and threats (or acts) of violence, and vote for the right to chart their own national course. I hope they succeed. Then I hope they are able to hold off the coup-mongers and the First World predatory lenders and the all-purpose corrupt and faithless long enough to build a foundation from which to grow a nation.
I hope the light shines bright and strong to part the darkness.