The referendum taking place this week in the Southern Sudan on whether the region should remain part of Sudan or become its own independent state has enjoyed a high voter turnout, according to official reports, despite criticism from international communist groups and the Russian and Chinese governments. The region includes Darfur, known to be a hotbed of genocidal activity against the native African population, much of which is Christian, by the majority Sudanese Arab Janjaweed militias. The region has for decades been the scene of policies akin to religious and racially-motivated "ethnic cleansing."
In the aftermath of a Christmas season filled with anti-Christian violence in Nigeria, Iraq, and Egypt, Christian leaders around the world have called for prayers for those undergoing persecution, and have also called upon the governments that have thus far proven impotent to stop such attacks to step up to their responsibility to protect their citizens.
History is set to be made in Southern Sudan as its people are widely expected to vote for independence from the North in a referendum that is now ongoing. But tensions are intensifying along the proposed border, which runs through some of the most fertile land in the country.
In the aftermath of the attack by Muslim terrorists on a church in Alexandria, Egypt, new revelations are casting further doubt on claims by the Mubarak government that “all Egypt is the target” of the bombings, and not just members of the Coptic Christian community.
This year’s Christmastide has been marked by widespread Jihadist terrorism against the Christian Church. Numerous attacks against churches in Nigeria were among the first to draw international attention, but the violence was by no means limited to one country. In Iraq, church leaders had decided to downplay Christmas observances out of fear of a repetition of the October 31 massacre at Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad; the public celebration of Christmas was virtually canceled. However, such prudence was unable to avert the violent intentions of Muslim terrorists, who chose instead to launch attacks on Christians homes throughout Baghdad. As Iraqi priest who presided at the funeral of an elderly couple murdered in the attacks, Fr. Nadhir Dakko, declared: “Iraq is bleeding every day.”
South Africa’s public school system, like most government school systems, is a disaster. According to the Associated Press’s Donna Bryson, “Only a third of third-graders in South Africa meet the minimum literacy and numeracy standards, according to national test results. Last year, a third of those taking final-year exams failed.” Bryson quotes the country’s education minister, Angie Motshekga: “We must acknowledge that there is poor teaching in many of our schools. Management in our schools is often weak and lacks leadership and commitment. Our systems are also often inefficient.”
Muslim Jihadists are now claiming responsibility for the wave of bombings which struck churches in Nigeria on Christmas Eve. Although some officials within the Nigerian government — including Azubuike Ihejirika, the head of the nation’s military — attempted initially to downplay the religious character of the Muslim assaults on Christians churches, the Boko Haram organization has now claimed responsibility for the attacks which killed approximately 40 people.
Back in 1991, as newspapers around the world heralded headlines that read “Communism Falls” and the “End of Communism,” Gus Hall, the then-head of the Communist Party USA, quoted Communist Manifesto co-author Friedrich Engels saying: “If current events are negative, focus on the long-range.” Hall passionately declared “Communism is not dead.”
Even as Christians in Iraq cancelled church services at Christmas for fear of further Islamic terrorism against their dwindling community, Muslims in Nigeria carried out a series of bombings targeting the Christians during this holy season.
Why has Africa, a continent rich in human and natural resources, remained mired in poverty while the rest of the world has generally become more prosperous? As a December 21 New York Times report indicates, one of the biggest reasons is the lack of property rights. Poor Africans who have worked tracts of land for generations “are discovering that African governments typically own their land and have been leasing it, often at bargain prices, to private investors and foreign governments for decades to come,” according to the newspaper: