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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

01 August 2005

John Garang dies

On Saturday night, a helicopter carrying John Garang back from Uganda crashed, killing him and thirteen others on board. Garang, a former leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), was the country’s vice president and a figurehead for the recent peace deal conducted between the warring parties in the south and the government in Khartoum.

As news of his death hit the country, riots erupted, killing up to 20 people in Khartoum (according to BBC News). Still, his wife has pleaded with the rioters to remain calm; “It is the body who has gone," she was quoted as saying in the New York Times; “His spirit, his vision, his program, we're going to implement them.”

The peace in Sudan is still fragile, to say nothing of the violence that still rages in the Western province of Darfur. But it is worth remembering that the Rwandan genocide in 1994 started when a plane carrying Rwanda’s Hutu president, Juvenal Habyarimana, was taken down by two missiles. Of course, Garang’s crash has been pinned on bad weather, a claim that remains hitherto undisputed; and the Hutus used the crash as an excuse for violence that had long been in the making.

All the same, the next few days will be crucial; a genocide might not occur (that is reserved for Darfur), but the peace could unravel all the same as the confidence that has taken so long to build is steadily eroded by the absence of Garang’s towering presence.

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