By DANIEL BOL
On Saturday the 8th of January, there was an historic prayer service for Sudanese living in Australia. Those who came to the service in Melbourne offered their prayers for a successful outcome to the referendum in Sudan on January 9 which will decide whether the south of Sudan becomes a separate country.
All the elderly, and young people will make their way to come to a big church in Melbourne, not only for the celebration of the second Sunday of the new year 2011, but for the support for a free and fair referendum and to make Sudanese in Australia aware of what is happening in Sudan.
The Southern Sudanese in Melbourne will make it clear on Saturday that they are ready to vote on the 9th of January with the hope that their only choice in the referendum is separation. A huge number of mother unions, Sunday school and youth choirs will perform for the crowd, chanting, with one voice for separation –oyeee, separation oyeee.
The prayer service has been organised by Sudanese church leaders, priests and community leaders as well as the Referendum Taskforce. The taskforce has encouraged Sudanese people to register to vote and many have done so. They are being encouraged to vote for separation.
This is an important day in the history of Sudan. Many Sudanese in Australia remember the painful civil war in which 2.5 million people died, many brothers and sisters remain disabled, and hundreds of thousands have fled to other countries around the world, and now we are in Australia. But still Sudan has not yet gained stability among other African nations. Now we people of southern Sudan say “we need to make this chance for independence become a reality.”
There may have been other referendums in other countries but there is no a parallel to the referendum we are waiting for in Sudan, since it is widely expected that, the south is going to become an independent state like many other nations. The president Omar Al- Bashir pointed it out during his last visit to Juba, the capital of the South, that “he will be sad to see the country diving itself into two” and that he hoped it would remain one country. But he said he will be the first person to recognize the results if the votes turn to be in favor of separation.
On January 1, more than 5000 people came to a prayer service in Melbourne. This tells you what a big and significant event is the referendum. Many thousands will come to the prayer service on January 8. Complete independence for the southern Sudanese is near, so we should be shouting in prayers, songs to remember our freedom fighters for they did not forfeit their life in vain, but for the freedom of the marginalized Sudanese population.
All the Sudanese Australian Anglican clergymen have pronounced that the church supports what is happening in our country. So we will all come on Monday the 10the of January 2011 to vote officially as an organized part of the church in Australia and we will carry the South Sudan flag and the Australian flag symbolizing that we are citizens of the two peaceful countries, Australia and South Sudan.