Our current nation...
As the world is preoccupied with the ongoing Twitter feuds of President Trump and the fascination of what will happen next in America's travesty, our country as well as the world is turning a blind eye to the humanitarian crisis happening in Africa. The ongoing famine and disgraceful leadership contributing to the current problems in the Republic of South Sudan has been prevalent for quite some time now around the globe. Although, the lack of attention surrounding South Sudan in the United States is truly inconceivable. What, Why, and How are what you may be wondering. Let us bring some awareness to the silent suffering they are experiencing and what we are doing (or not doing) here at home in the current era of America.
Why and what is this crisis you ask?
The crisis the South Sudanese are facing is one of civil war, famine, displacement, and suffering. The long-standing civil war and fight for independence in South Sudan has a long and complicated background. As mentioned before the disgraceful leadership is responsible for the current destruction of their very own people and state. The nation is divided because of two leaders, ex-vice President Riek Machar, and current President Salva Kirr Mayardit and their own political disagreements. President Kirr believed his Vice-President was attempting to overthrow his regime by forming a failed coup. Peace talks ensued but once again political disagreements arose sometime later. The region is made up of many different ethnic groups who are always at a constant battle for land, resources, and power which has helped contribute to different groups backing one of these two powerful figures for their own reasons. Most appalling is the leadership is doing nothing on combating the 2017 famine and instead is continuing to fight.
Currently, 5 million people collectively have either died from the famine or are seeking refuge in other countries; another one billion are facing near-death because of malnutrition/starvation which is spreading across South Sudan. The shortage of food in general and the drought issue is a major factor but even more serious is the government's stance on resolving this issue or lack thereof. The governments disputes among each other is to blame for the problem. In war-stricken areas affected by the famine, military officials from the rebel leaders side (Machar) has held aide relief workers for ransom in return for food. Local citizens and farmers are fleeing the areas because of the violence of war - they know the dangers of the escalating militant action that are rapidly overtaking their country. No farmers equal no food. Not only is Machar's side causing strife in this, Mayardit is too. Even though there are is an urgency for help, its access has been restricted. According to the U.N. President Salva Kirr Mayardit has prevented shipments of food and aid to the areas who are undergoing this famine, all while the resources are instead going towards the civil war efforts.
Where does this leave the U.S.?
Combined efforts from many humanitarian and human rights organizations have tried to do their part in alleviating the suffering despite the danger. UNICEF USA has been a huge help but there is still more that needs to be done. Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., has urged for stricter punishments with the use of more sanctions and arms embargo, to the South Sudan government and by the rebel group to stop. More foreign aid could help the situation, which is why it is crucial in a global effort in reducing poverty, fighting terrorism, and advocating human rights. With the recently proposed budget cuts to foreign aid, we have to see where this leaves the United States in tackling the issue.
Let's get back to issues...
More importantly, we need to spread awareness of the famine in South Sudan (and the four neighboring countries in Africa). All of which are going through these unfortunate circumstances. No longer should we ignore what is happening in our world while we stir the pot with politics in America. Let us get back to the issues, foreign or domestic, no matter how hard that may be in the current era of America. Forget Trump Twitter feuds, (no matter how cringe-worthy and childish they are), let's do something constructive as America to regain our place in the world. Help. Donate. Spread awareness. Let's end the silent suffering.