“Have you ever cried about something so vast, you could not begin to describe it? A looming threat so enveloping, that you feel is a kind of suffocation, a premonition that at any minute you could be swallowed, forgotten and made invisible by force.” That was written by K Eltinae, a migrant Nubian poet, reflecting on the whole experience of displacement. Looking and listening to Sudan from afar we lack this felt understanding that he expresses, which we need to reflect in our prayers as we intercede for our brothers and sisters in Sudan.
The BBC is continuing to give good coverage of what is happening in Sudan. This morning (30th April) Radio 4 on its “Sunday” programme broadcast a short interview with Abp Ezekiel, coordinated by Canon Ian Woodward a CASSS trustee from Salisbury Diocese. He talks to BBC’s Emily Buchanan having escaped from the church buildings for safety with 15 others. They are some of the millions who are trapped in the capital Khartoum where there are shortages of food, fuel and water. Gunfire is heard in the distance despite the ceasefire.
Abp Ezekiel ends by quoting Jesus’s stilling of the storm, an affirmation of faith that God is overall and we look to Him to deliver us.
Fighting is mainly concentrated in Khartoum & Omdurman, apart from in West Darfur. There is some Episcopal Church work there, at Al Geneina out to the far west of Sudan, and no one knows what has happened to that church centre. Many from the area have fled westwards towards Chad. From the Episcopal Church point of view all the known damage has happened to Khartoum Cathedral property, and no one has been able to go there to assess what has happened. No news has spoken of any church members being killed or injured, but there is much tension, and many are living in even more reduced circumstances than they were
In Port Sudan, Sharaf, the Youth Coordinator, is still hoping to go ahead with projects and a youth conference. Port Sudan is busy (with displaced people flooding through) with resulting price hikes. His main worry is whether there’s enough drinking water. That’s a world different from what is happening in the capital.
Sudanese Christians report that Khartoum is shut down. In central areas, no shops or banks are operating, and even where shops are open it is dangerous for residents to go out to buy food. Many civilians have died, and bodies remain unburied in the streets. Before, fighting was in the Nuba Mountains and Darfur. Now it has come into the very courtyards of the Sudanese middle class and elite, but few will reflect that they tolerated that other Sudanese have experienced this for years.
Bp Abdu of Port Sudan writes:
Thank you so much for your love and concern through your fasting and prayer for the sake of Sudan.
Please, continue your prayers so that peace and stability will be restored in the country, and all the evil and wicked schemes of the enemy will be destroyed in Jesus Christ name.
Also, pray for those who lost loved ones to be comforted and for the wounded as well.
Pray for the people so that they will continue to have sufficient resources for their survival and finally pray for the church to be revived and intercede for the people and the country for this bloodshed to stop once and for all in Jesus Christ name.
This Thursday (4th May) the Sudan Roundtable (which CASSS organises) is meeting. The agenda essentially is –
To look at possible action and support as the crisis in Sudan worsens.
And afterwards, are there lessons we can learn from what happened in South Sudan? What could agencies have done better there?