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Does Darfur Have a Prayer?
Almost every day for 12 months, Dan Teng'o, a Christian relief worker from Kenya, talked with violence-fleeing refugees from Darfur in the western region of Sudan. All too often, he said, gaunt refugees arrived at border camps too weak to do much more than sound out a few words.
"A day or two after their arrival in July at the Otash camp near Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, most of the refugees couldn't even stand up. Some couldn't project their voice," Teng'o said.
"I have seen suffering. But nothing like this. It has changed my life. I don't take anything for granted anymore." Teng'o, associated with World Vision, is among a global vanguard of evangelicals working for comprehensive peace in Sudan. Beyond the humanitarian concerns, evangelicals have pressed for full religious freedom for Sudanese Christians facing one of the world's most extreme Islamic states.
In Washington, evangelical leaders have kept Darfur as a high priority. In a costly media campaign, a new group called Evangelicals for Darfur lobbied George W. Bush with full-page newspaper ads, telling him, "Without you, Mr. President, Darfur doesn't have a prayer."
At a press teleconference, Southern Baptist Richard Land called for a multinational force with "military teeth" that can "defy the genocidal government in Khartoum if necessary." Sojourners' Jim Wallis warned, "If security collapses, the aid groups will have to leave."
This brutal conflict is poised to enter its fifth year in February. The Islamic government of Sudan has ignored demands from Darfurians, mainly black Africans, for a fair share of development aid. There are long-standing ethnic and economic tensions between Sudan's Arabs and Darfur's black Africans. Darfur had autonomy until British rule ...1