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George and John Prendergast in Washington Post on South Sudan

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George and John Prendergast in Washington Post on South Sudan

Post by party animal - not! on Fri 10 Mar 2017, 09:48

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Brilliant title: South Sudan's government made famine

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Re: George and John Prendergast in Washington Post on South Sudan

Post by What Would He Say on Fri 10 Mar 2017, 19:09

I wasn't a fan of the Paris Match(?) quote......

Made it sound like NGO's get their rocks off going to places.....they are only "dangerous places" if you think they are..... 

"Places" contain Mum's Kids Grans Aunties Uncles Grandads Dads Brothers and Sisters, pregnant Ladies breathing life, bereaved people who are sad....Pancake makers...hair dressers....traders....and they all LIVE in these "Places".......

Doesn't sound so dramatic.....

No matter how bad things get.....life goes on.....sometimes joyfully.....People are born to live.....
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Re: George and John Prendergast in Washington Post on South Sudan

Post by Katiedot on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 18:02

For those who'd like to know what George and John actually wrote, here's the articl:

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South Sudan’s government-made famine
By George Clooney and John Prendergast March 9

Women hold their acutely malnourished children in a stabilization center last week in Ganyiel Panyijiar county, South Sudan. (Albert Gonzalez Farran/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
George Clooney and John Prendergast are co-founders of the Sentry.

Official, U.N.-declared famines are a rare phenomenon. The last one worldwide was six years ago, in Somalia. Famines are declared officially when people have already begun to starve to death. It is the diplomatic equivalent of a seven-alarm fire. That is where the youngest country in the world, South Sudan, finds itself today, as 100,000 face immediate starvation and another 1 million are on its brink.

The maxim is true that famine does not result from purely natural causes but is usually “man-made.” Such a description, however, avoids any real accountability for those who have caused the crisis. South Sudan’s famine would be more accurately described as “government-made.”

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The most immediate cause lies in the tactics used by the South Sudan government and its principal rebel opponent in fighting the current civil war. Government and rebel forces attack civilian targets much more frequently than they attack each other. They target the means of survival of civilian populations deemed to be unsupportive. In particular, they raid cattle in areas where cows represent the inherited savings and means of commercial exchange. Massive cattle raids result in complete impoverishment of entire communities and unleash cycles of revenge attacks that poison relations between neighbors and entire ethnic groups. The government has also concentrated recent attacks on areas where agricultural production traditionally fed large parts of South Sudan, not only resulting in massive human displacement but also devastating local grain production, which leads to hyperinflation in food prices.

But destroying the means of food production is only one part of the equation that causes famine. If the South Sudan government allowed humanitarian organizations unfettered access to the victims of the attacks, which include approximately 3 million people who have been rendered homeless, then the aid agencies would have been able to prevent a famine from occurring. But instead, the government has obstructed access by these organizations in a variety of ways, as have the rebels, thus resulting in huge pockets of populations — including tens of thousands of children — who have received little to no assistance at the height of their need.


The South Sudanese people fought for decades for their independence from a rapacious, discriminatory Sudanese regime. The government of Omar Hassan al-Bashir in Khartoum, which seized power in a coup in 1989, regularly attacked the means of food production and used starvation as a weapon against the rebellious South Sudanese populations, just as it is still doing in Darfur and the Nuba Mountains in Sudan. This resulted in localized famines and about 2 million South Sudanese deaths during that North-South conflict. Now that the South Sudanese have won independence, the government of Salva Kiir in Juba is using the same destructive strategies that Bashir used against them.

South Sudanese will starve to death by the thousands, maybe by the tens or hundreds of thousands. As the images of starving babies begin to emerge, hundreds of millions of dollars in relief assistance will be delivered, as long as the South Sudan government follows through on Kiir’s promises to allow unfettered humanitarian access. But if the only response to these images is a humanitarian one, and the structural causes of this famine are not addressed, then this cycle of death will begin again next year, and the year after. Yes, the world must do all it can to treat the symptoms of this emergency, but there is also an opportunity, with increased attention because of the famine, to finally begin to address the root cause of the crisis.

In South Sudan today, war crimes pay. There is no accountability for the atrocities and looting of state resources, or for the famine that results. Billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars have supported peacekeeping forces and humanitarian assistance already, and one peace process after another has tried to break the cycle of violence. But nothing attempts to thwart the driving force of the mayhem: the kleptocrats who have hijacked the government in Juba for their personal enrichment.

The Sentry, an initiative we recently co-founded, conducted an investigation into the wealth accumulated by Kiir and other officials who oversaw a military offensive that contributed to the current famine. We found that immediate family members of these officials enjoy luxurious lifestyles abroad, living in lavish estates while South Sudanese suffer.

[George Clooney and John Prendergast: War crimes shouldn’t pay in South Sudan]

There has been no effort to counter the networks that benefit financially and politically from the crisis. The international community needs to help make war costlier than peace for government and rebel leaders and their international facilitators.

Choking the illicit financial flows of the kleptocrats is the key point of leverage for peace available to the international community, given the vulnerability of stolen assets that are offshored around the world in the form of houses, cars, businesses and bank accounts. The most promising policy approach would combine creative anti-money laundering measures with targeted sanctions aimed at freezing those willing to commit mass atrocities out of the international financial system.


A steep price should be paid for creating famine and benefiting from war. Even while the world responds to the famine, it’s time also to address root causes and make those responsible pay for their crimes.
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Re: George and John Prendergast in Washington Post on South Sudan

Post by Katiedot on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 18:05

Given all the time and effort George made to help south Sudan get its independence, this must be deeply, deeply frustrating for him to see, don't you think?
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Re: George and John Prendergast in Washington Post on South Sudan

Post by LizzyNY on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 19:06

Katie, I think  it must be beyond frustrating for him. All that effort and this is the result. I think many people would get fed up and just walk away. It's to his credit (and those who work with him) that they are re-assessing the arenas in which their efforts can have the most success. The satellite is helpful, but following the money is more likely to bring change.
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Re: George and John Prendergast in Washington Post on South Sudan

Post by Donnamarie on Wed 15 Mar 2017, 23:11

Yep he's got to be really frustrated on how badly things are going in South Sudan. But on some level I would think he and John, along with others, knew that success in independence would be hard fought. I don't think with his knowledge of the area, the battles fought in Darfur and the weakness of the UN led him to think that anything less than an uphill battle would be realistic. The situation is probably worse than any of them expected but probably not surprising.
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Re: George and John Prendergast in Washington Post on South Sudan

Post by Donnamarie on Fri 17 Mar 2017, 18:05

John Prendergast will be interviewed on Sunday on '60 Minutes' about the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.
I think it's on at 7:30pm here in the states.
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Re: George and John Prendergast in Washington Post on South Sudan

Post by LizzyNY on Fri 17 Mar 2017, 19:35

Donnamarie - Here in NY it airs at 7pm on CBS. Should be interesting. Thanks for the heads-up.
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Re: George and John Prendergast in Washington Post on South Sudan

Post by party animal - not! on Sun 19 Mar 2017, 13:08

........so two news programmes to watch out for today......

I have seen really disturbing reports that the present South Sudan 'government' are now charging aid workers $10000 for visas..........

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Re: George and John Prendergast in Washington Post on South Sudan

Post by Donnamarie on Sun 19 Mar 2017, 14:31

60 Minutes may start late on the East coast because of March Madness basketball games that come on before their show. Also when I got an email from Enough Project they noted that 60 Minutes would be on at 7:30 Eastern Time here in the states. Where I live it usually starts on 7:00 as in NY.
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Re: George and John Prendergast in Washington Post on South Sudan

Post by LizzyNY on Sun 19 Mar 2017, 14:57

Donnamarie - I guess the easiest thing to do is to check it out at 7pm. If it isn't on, come back at 7:30.
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