I can't tell you how amazed and delighted I am that Southern Sudan will become the newest county on July 9. Somewhere between 98-99 percent of the South voted for independence. This took place after two wars, with estimates of up to four million people killed. It all began with making of a new country in 1956. British diplomats satisfied Egypt by handing over the mainly Black, Christian and traditionalist South to the Arab Islamic dominated government in Khartoum. It was a terrible decision, made for political expediency and killed millions as a result.
As many Fox News Opinion readers know, I have several projects in Southern Sudan working with an amazing group, Christian Solidarity International (csi-usa.org). CSI was retrieving slaves in the bush in the most hazardous conditions when the war was going on. They took great risks so that Christian men and women could get their freedom.
Many of the Southern Sudan citizens saw the most horrendous parts of human nature, with women being raped, men having their throats slit and beaten to the point that they were blinded. One young boy, Ker, was hung upside down, peppers were rubbed in his eyes and now he is totally blind. CSI is working to help get him a cornea transplant.
Almost everyone I have met over 10 years old has witnessed someone being killed. It is a country with hunger, Post Traumatic Stress and almost no infrastructure. With the world wondering if a new country would be formed without bloodshed, no one wanted to invest in Southern Sudan.
Christian Solidarity International has been working in Southern Sudan for 16+ years, helping to retrieve slaves held by the mainly Arab north as spoils from the war. It is estimated by Refugees International that over 22,000 people remain trapped in the North. According to a leading member of the Government of Sudan's anti-abduction committee there are at least 35,000 Southern slaves still in bondage in the North. Some are not held against their will, but many are. In fact some estimates are as high as 40,000 people held in slave like conditions.
The Obama administration is considering easing the sanctions on what is now Northern Sudan if they keep to their borders, split the oil revenue with Southern Sudan and stop sponsoring terrorism. That would be a great step, but when slavery is mentioned there comes a great political silence. No one wants to discuss it and the preferred word is "abductees." The International Community would like the issue to go away.
Now, is the time for everyone who is concerned about "the least of these" to celebrate the beginning of a brand new country. People need to pressure our government as well as other governments to do the right thing and the North to release these slave/detainees. Then they will be able to start a new life with their fellow counterparts in the brand new Christian Southern Sudan "where there is broad freedom of religion for all faiths."
It is our moral duty and imperative.
Ellen Ratner is Washington bureau chief for Talk Radio News Service and a Fox News contributor.