Dear friends & supporters,
By Simon Deng,
August 2, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — I began my hunger strike as a last-resort. The country of my birth was destroying itself, and my adopted country seemed to be standing idly by as it burned. After 45 days without food, though the war still rages on, I made the difficult decision to eat once again. I take solace in—and at least some credit for—many hopeful steps forward, and I’m grateful for the chance to re-commit myself to finding ways to help my people. I was willing to lay down my life for this cause, but I recognize now that I am more useful alive than dead.
Chief among the hopeful signs I see was the recent announcement that President Obama’s upcoming trip to Africa will include an important stop in Ethiopia, at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa. There is no issue higher on the AU’s agenda than South Sudan, so it is a sign of the President’s personal investment in South Sudan that he has added Ethiopia to his itinerary. This should give us all reason to be optimistic that peace will find its way back to South Sudan, though there will surely still be dark days ahead. I continue to believe President Obama and US engagement are key to finding a solution to this grave problem. I hope to be able to travel to Addis Ababa myself in order to keep the voice of Southern Sudanese people at the heart of the debate.
I also take some comfort in the increased public discussion of South Sudan since I started my fast. While my action itself received quite a bit of news coverage, especially in South Sudan, the goal was always to educate the American public about the war and the role the US needs to play to stop it. So when the New York Times last week ran a cover story about South Sudan, the war, and the humanitarian crisis, complete with a graphic photo above the fold of a starving man, I was quite grateful—despite the fact that the Times (and most other major media outlets) ignored my hunger strike for its duration.
Most importantly, I am hopeful today due to the love and solidarity I felt from friends around the world. I will always be indebted to those of you who supported me during this action—especially my fellow Southern Sudanese. I could not have done it without you. Thank you.
I also want to mention some organizations doing critical work toward ending the war and saving lives in South Sudan, in the hopes that you will learn about them and offer support: the Enough Project, Human Rights Watch, Humanity United, the American Jewish World Service, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Institute on Religion & Democracy, and United to End Genocide. Many wonderful people are bringing their talents to bear for the cause of peace.
Finally, if you have the means and the willingness, please consider making a donation to help me continue my work through my new GoFundMe page.
With your support, I will never stop fighting for peace.
Thank you. God bless