Paul Samasumo – Vatican City
Barani Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio and President of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference for Sudan and South Sudan told Vatican News of the shame and pain endured by the people of South Sudan because of the war, which started in 2013.
No one wishes for more war
“The signed 12 September 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement (to Resolve the Conflict in South Sudan) is holding in most parts of the country and seems to, by and large, indicate that it could last. I am logically convinced that this Peace Agreement may last … on the premises that any conscious South Sudanese cannot (think) of sponsoring war anymore at whatever cost, knowing the shame and pain we have gone through,” Barani Kussala said.
Barani Kussala noted that optimism notwithstanding, the people of South Sudan are celebrating Christmas under a cloud of so much hate speech in the air. This, he said does not bode well for the prospects of lasting peace in the country. The Bishop also drew attention to the ordinary people’s dire situation of homelessness, fear, hunger and general poverty.
We can make of South Sudan a better place
Barani Kussala described Christmas as God’s generous gift to humankind. All Christians, he said, owe a debt payable by showing love to neighbour and others here on earth.
“In offering these hopes and prayers (for peace), we are conscious that God energises people’s imaginations and gives them the will, to make of South Sudan a better place here and now. It is because of this that I speak of the generosity of each and every one of us to give the best of ourselves for the salvation of South Sudan,” he said.
It is better to give than to receive
In conveying to the people of South Sudan good wishes for Christmas, Barani Kussala acknowledged that though Christmas is a time for “giving” and “receiving” we need to go beyond just waiting to receive.
“In the minds of many, the aspect of “receiving” takes greater prominence. The reason for this, it seems, is that our collective psyche has been formed that way (from the time when we were children) … However, it is hoped that as one matures in Christian/human consciousness, imbibing the true purpose of the nativity of Christ, we will be able to reflect in our liturgy and social interactions, a more wholesome understanding of the reason for His coming into the world... In the light of all that God has done for us, the question, which inevitably presents itself to every Christian, to every person of good will, is: What will we bring to the Christ-Child?” Challenges Barani Kussala.
The Revitalized Agreement to Resolve the Conflict in South Sudan signed by warring parties on 12 September 2018 has been described by the United Nations (UN) as a positive and significant development in the country’s elusive search for lasting peace.
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, commended the pact as a step forward and applauded efforts by regional and international governments that led to the signing of the Agreement. The UN called on all parties to immediately cease hostilities across South Sudan.
The onus is now on South Sudan’s parties to the conflict to make the commitment and the investment in implementing the Agreement so that the people of South Sudan can finally receive the peace dividend they deserve.