The Sudan Struggle

Journalist Tamara Banks has made four trips to South Sudan; she returned from the latest just twelve days ago. And at 8 p.m. tonight on “Sudan: The World’s Newest Country,” a special episode of Studio 12, Banks will lead a panel discussion on recent events in Sudan, as well as offer the audience an update on Daniel Majok Gai, a former Lost Boy of Sudan who came to Denver as a refugee and has returned to his native land.

Banks, who hosts the live Studio 12 show on Colorado Public Television every other week, will also show footage filmed earlier this month in Sudan. “After 125 years of oppression and two civil wars — one was even considered genocide — the world’s newest country is taking its place on the global stage,” she says. “It was exciting to be there at this time to experience firsthand the hope that the South Sudanese have, from former SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army) to elders in villages who thought they’d never see freedom. After being oppressed for more than 120 years, there is a 93 percent illiteracy rate among girls alone in Southern Sudan.”

Working with the Denver-based nonprofit Project Education Sudan, founded by Denverite Carol Rinehart, Daniel Majok Gai is now back in Sudan, building schools and developing curriculum for teachers. “I’ll have his story as well as interviews with former soldiers/rebels, emerging leaders and others about their new country,” Banks says. “It is always hot, exhausting work — 120 degrees or more — with little or no Internet or cell phone access, but always an honor and blessing to cover the struggles and victories of the Sudanese.”

Tune in to Studio 12 tonight to share in those victories.
Wed., March 30, 8 p.m., 2011

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun