Friday, March 31, 2006

Dinka vs. Moru

The Moru are an agricultural people. They farm. Increasingly, they are Christian. During the civil war, one neighboring tribe – the Dinka – also came under fire from the northern government. The Dinka are “ranchers”; they raise livestock, primarily cattle. The Dinka were displaced during the war, and they sought refuge among the Moru. The Moru took them in, I am told.

I am told that the Moru suffered some hardships under this arrangement, as the Dinka cattle knocked down fences and ate the Moru crops.

Then the peace agreement came, and finally – in the fall of 2005 – the Moru told their Dinka guests it was time to go home. But – I am told – the Dinka observed that their livestock had never been so fat and healthy. They did not want to leave. Instead, they went on the attack. Or so I am told.

We are told this: Last fall, the Dinka began burning Moru homes and villages, and slaughtering the Moru people, in order to take over the land. We heard story after story about this – about how the Dinka would descend on a village and kill everyone not fast enough to disappear into the brush. We certainly saw the resulting carnage: burned homes and villages. And we heard tales of people who saw and heard their family members slaughtered.

I’ll be posting photos of these villages here, as we visited several of them.

Meanwhile, I have this observation. Our Moru friends regularly talked about those atrocities. And they spoke of it with tremendous grief. But they did not speak of it with anger or vengeance. The Moru were betrayed and murdered by their “Christian” friends – people who had lived alongside them for quite some time. And yet the Moru do not – even now – speak out of vengeance against the Dinka. Time after time, what I heard from them was a sense of grief and sorrow.

I cannot help but contrast this with Americans in general – and U.S. Christians included – after the September 2001 attacks on our country by “strangers.” What is it that makes our nation so angry and vengeful against those strangers, when the Moru – attacked and murdered by “friends” – can behave with such restraint?

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