Simon Deng on Day 40 of Hunger Strike to Save South Sudan

by Heather Robinson

Today, The New York Times at last ran a cover story on the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. Here in New York City, Simon Deng, escaped slave and human rights advocate, continues his hunger strike. He is now on Day 40 with no solid food and is standing in front of the United Nations. Deng is suffering the ill effects of malnutrition, including pain in his legs, and still virtually no local news source will cover his efforts or transmit his voice.

As over 70,000 human beings have been killed in the past 18 months, President Obama has yet to say anything meaningful about this crisis in South Sudan, much less take any decisive action to stanch the flow of death and destruction. He has not condemned the so-called leaders – who have received U.S. aid in the past – for their violent feuding, which has led to widespread atrocities, including torture of children and their recruitment as child soldiers. He has not threatened these so-called leaders with prosecution in International Criminal Court or with any type of sanctions, either: both possibilities for concrete action Deng suggested in an open letter he sent President Obama last month.

Here are Simon Deng’s words today on pointing to the image of an emaciated Sudanese man on the cover of The New York Times: “If the world cannot look at these people like this — they are like this not because they choose to be but because they are being forced to die like this–in the 21st century after we got the horror of evil Hitler, when we see skeleton human beings now we are seeing today in Southern Sudan.

“Shame on all of us if we can’t say anything about it, especially the Americans who rescued these people from Northern Sudan, and now are just watching. Shame on you.”

With President Obama’s trip to Kenya and Ethiopia coming up next month, it will be interesting to see if the Commander in Chief takes any meaningful action to try to address this staggering humanitarian nightmare or simply walks on by.

More to come.

This entry was written by and posted on June 24, 2015 at 12:11 am and filed under Blog. permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Keywords: , , . Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. */?>