[FOUNTAIN]Resolving the tragedy in SudanThe Nile is the cradle of ancient Egyptian civilization. The journey that begins at the mouth of the river in Cairo is concluded at the grandeur of Abu Simbel. A temple of Ramses II, the remains still display the might of the ancient kingdom 3,300 years ago. The pharaoh built the great temple guarded by four colossal statues of himself at a location more than 1,000 kilometers from the capital of Cairo in order to intimidate the foreign tribes from the South.
If Cairo was the gateway from Europe to Africa, the Nile was the channel of Mediterranean civilization’s flow into sub-Saharan Africa. Abu Simbel stands at the border of Egypt and Sudan today.
The crossing of two civilizations was bound to produce conflict and discord. Along with Greece and Rome, Egypt had been a part of Mediterranean civilization. Sudan was actually the gateway for the Mediterranean civilization to flow into black Africa.
Christianity was introduced in Egypt in the third century and was modified as the Coptic Church, which was transferred to Sudan. In the seventh century, Egypt came under the influence of Islam, and Egyptian Muslims migrated south along the Nile and settled in northern Sudan around the 14th century.
When Sudan gained independence in 1956, the largest nation in Africa had not fully digested the different civilizations that flowed into the country.
In recent times, the nation has been involved in civil war, a result of the Muslim majority’s forced attempt to rule the country according to Islamic belief.
The Darfur region in western Sudan is the latest front of the civil war. Backed by the government, an Arab Muslim militia is engaged in ethnic killing, primarily against the black population, a disaster that has already claimed 30,000 lives.
The U.N. has attempted to focus international attention on the critical situation in Sudan. Without immediate intervention by the international community, the United Nations estimates that over 300,000 Sudanese will die within a year from starvation and disease.
The Muslim military regime is not stirred by the international pressure. Ironically, the only country that has the power to stop the cruelty is the United States. Sudan is the place where the bona fide intervention of the sole superpower is truly needed.
by Oh Byung-sang
The writer is the London correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.