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A version of this piece by Carly Oboth, originally published on July 9, is cross-posted from the United to End Genocide blog.
It was hot and raining, but on July 8 more than a hundred people rallied to “choose peace” in Sudan and South Sudan on the front lawn of the White House.
We were there to mark the one-year anniversary of the independence of the Republic of South Sudan. After decades of civil war, the nation separated from Sudan on July 9, 2011. But, while now there are two nations, peace is still elusive.
The crowd drew inspiration from various speakers, including Omer Ismail from the Enough Project who talked about how he wants nothing more than to return to his homeland with his daughter to show her the beauty of Sudan and South Sudan.
Dr. Abdel-Rahman Ibrahim Mohamed and Reverend Thon Moses, representing Sudan’s Muslim and Christian faiths, opened the rally with prayers for peace in both countries and the world. The two shared space under an umbrella onstage as the rain came down. Azaz Elshami, a journalist and Girifna activist, spoke about the aspirations of the non-violent dynamic movement for change in Sudan.
During the rally, people voted for peace. And, as they voted, they wrote messages saying why they were choosing peace. Among the reasons, “My children, my friends, my world deserves it,” and “everyone deserves to live in security and with dignity.”
The focus on peace between the two nations was inspired by Emmanuel Jal and his song, “We Want Peace.” Today [July 9], similar events are being held across the globe. Jal is holding a free concert in Toronto.
And, while you might have missed the rallies, you can join our actions today as we call for peace in Sudan and South Sudan:
- Share the following message on Twitter: Pls RT @AmbassadorRice Will you keep your commitment and #ChoosePeace for Sudan and South Sudan? https://www.wechoosepeace.org #July9
- Upload a photo of yourself with a sign saying “I Choose Peace” at www.wechoosepeace.org.
Special thanks goes to our event partners Amnesty International USA, Darfur Peoples Association of New York, Enough, Girifna, Nubia Project, The South Sudanese Community USA and STAND.
We choose peace. Stand with us.
Photo: A ballot box installation at the rally in Washington, D.C. Participants overwhelmingly voted for peace. (United to End Genocide)