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Sudanese Memorial Service for the VP of Sudan

MEDIA RELEASE Wednesday 10 August 2005 – For immediate release

Sudanese Memorial Service for the Vice President of Sudan

The Sudanese Community of Wellington join the people of Sudan all over the world in mourning Dr John Garang, the vice president of the Republic of Sudan and former leader of the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA). He died last week in a helicopter crash on the border of Uganda and Sudan.

To commemorate the life of this inspirational man, the Sudanese Community of Wellington is holding a memorial service at 12pm on Sunday 14 August at Riverstone Recreation hall in Upper Hutt. There will be a religious ceremony followed by a traditional Cultural Sudanese memorial and speeches by honourable guests. The memorial will close with the sharing of traditional Sudanese food.

The death of Dr John Garang is a great loss to all Sudanese people all over the world. His death comes after recently signing the peace agreement with the Sudanese government and being officially sworn on 9 July 2005 as Sudan’s first Vice President. It was the first time since Sudan’s independence in 1956 to have a resident of Southern Sudan in such a high government position. He died three weeks after having achieved his dreams of freedom, justice and equality – the dream of all his people.

“We are left in shock, confusion and extreme sadness at the loss of our leader, his Excellency Dr John Garang De-Mabior. How unfortunate and a wrong time for it to happen, while we are just starting to sense and dream our freedom and the meaning of freedom, through his own heroic vision for a Free Sudan”, Uling Kang, Spokesperson for the Sudanese Community of Wellington said.

Mr Kang says that “Dr John Garang led the SPLA/SPLM to reach the utmost awaited era by all people of Sudan, especially the people of Southern Sudan whom in despair hoped for that moment of freedom. He introduced peace, justice and equality to the people of Sudan as a whole. He was an icon, liberator, revolutionist and a thinker who will be remembered among all great African leaders”. Garang stated when he was sworn in as Vice President: “I congratulate the Sudanese people, this is not my peace or the peace of Al-Bashir [President of Sudan], it is the peace of the Sudanese people”.

The Sudanese Community of Wellington’s message to all Sudanese people and leaders of Sudan is to embrace John Garang’s vision of a New Sudan based on freedom, justice and equality. They urge the people of Southern Sudan to unite and commit to the existing peace process left behind by their honourable leader Dr John Garang.

John Garang will be remembered not only as one of the architects of the comprehensive peace agreement signed on January 9, 2005 but also as a true son of Southern Sudan who loved it and its people without discrimination. John Garang was a man of enormous kindness, honour and intelligence. He was devoted to the potential for all Sudanese people to rise and join as one. He was Sudan’s best son.

Please join the Sudanese Community in commemorating this incredible man’s life at his memorial service on Sunday 14 August, 12pm at Riverstone Recreation hall, 836 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt.

ENDS

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